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HomeBusiness & Real EstateCondo Fines, Budget Hikes in Wake of Surfside

Condo Fines, Budget Hikes in Wake of Surfside

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The Village of Key Biscayne sent out proposed building violation notices to 10 properties this week, bringing to a total of 13 the number of properties officials say were late with paperwork showing compliance with safety recertifications. The Village stepped up its certification reviews in the wake of the Surfside collapse last year. 

Meanwhile, the island’s largest condominium association is increasing its budget more than 80%, driven by a need to conduct extensive work, the Key Colony Homeowners’ Association said. 

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At least two buildings — Galen Breakers and Ocean Manors– disputed the Village’s report, saying required paperwork had been submitted and that structures were safe. 

The $500 citations could be followed with a report to the Miami-Dade County Unsafe Structures Board if engineering documentation is not received, said Village Manager Steve Williamson. 

List of properties sent violation notices

685 Ocean Dr. – Beach House
590 Ocean Dr.  – Ocean Manors Condo
200 Galen Dr. – Galen Drive West Condo
550 Ocean Dr. – Galen Breakers
605-615 Ocean Dr. – The Sands
150 Ocean Ln Dr. – Island Breakers
256-262-272 Seaview Dr. – Canoga Properties
276-282-284 Seaview Dr. – Cape Florida Condo Cluster B
84 Crandon Blvd. – Citibank
101-257 East Enid Dr. – East Enid Townhouses

Source: Village of Key Biscayne

Williamson said that Village’s compliance efforts have been paying off. Of the initial properties listed as being late, none have needed referral to County authorities, officials said. 

Under County law, buildings must undergo a recertification after 40 years and at 10-year intervals thereafter. Buildings are currently required to hire inspectors, file reports and take corrective action if needed. 

But in the wake of the Surfside tragedy there are multiple changes being sought to the certification process. 

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniela Levine Cava is asking for the certifications to start earlier, at 30 years. State lawmakers are considering action as well, involving how condos set aside money for reserves following the collapse that took 98 lives last year. State and federal investigations are also under way. 

In Key Biscayne, increasing reserve budgets has been an issue in some buildings. Last month, the Key Colony Homeowners’ Association adopted a budget that raised the reserve contribution from $450,000 to $2.2 million. 

“The principal contributor to this increase was the need to perform extensive work on the garage deck structure between Tidemark and Ocean Sound,” said a newsletter sent to Key Colony residents Wednesday. Key Colony is the island’s largest condominium association, with 1,179 units.

Eli Cardenal, a representative from the Galen Breakers condo, said she had not received any violation from the Village, insisting the property was in full compliance. 

“According to our structural engineer, we are not in any danger, we take these things very seriously,” she said. 

Alberto Cohen, the property manager for Ocean Manors, also said the Village’s report was incorrect. “We not only have the 40 year, but also the 50 year recertification which will be provided AGAIN to the Village which seems to have a problem with their record keeping, as well as returning calls and responding to emails,” he wrote in an email.

Messages left for building representatives for five of the properties did not respond or declined comment. The Village could not provide contact information for two properties on Seaview Drive and a commercial building, 84 Crandon Blvd, which houses the local Citibank branch. 

According to a report from the Village, 54 structures are compliant with their recertification status. An additional 30 are in progress, with three being audited. Some 40 buildings are due for recertification between 2022 and 2026. 

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Note this story was updated to include a comment from Ocean Manors.

Author

  • Tony Winton

    Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.

Tony Winton
Tony Wintonmailto:[email protected]
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.
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