View Full Version : more problems for this retarded city

11-09-2007, 07:23 AM
Wetlands at risk in North Port

Updated: Nov 8, 2007 06:04 PM EST

North Port officials say they're trying to stop a developer from filling in and building on wetlands. But one neighbor says they're not doing enough.

The land in question is in the North Port Estates area east of I-75. It's known for it's acreage and wildlife in the growing city.

"For the past four years someone has been trying to drain them and develop them. "Elaine Vasas has watched the wetlands full of life next to her North Port home bulldozed away. Un-permitted work on random weekends and holidays when she says no one but herself is looking. "We've seen it go from a nice little pristine wetland that supported a lot of the animals and the habitat and now we've seen it drained and go dry."

But Vasas has done more than just watch. A box full of correspondence with officials from here to Tallahassee. But she says it starts with North Port. "As far as the city goes I don't see that they've done much to enforce their wetlands ordinance of protect the environment."

City officials admit the proper measures have not always been in place to stop illegal work like this before it gets too far. Newly hired city Environmentalist Teresa Payne says the city has taken action. "The property owner was given a notice of violation for filling of a wetland on that property."

Stop work orders and fines have been handed to the property owner Randy Aluge, here and at other sites nearby."In fact we've been working closely with the department of environmental protection," says Payne.

According to the city, D.E.P. officials are satisfied with the repairs and restoration Aluge did after the fact. But Vasas say the system is not working. "The D.E.P. Can't be the babysitter for a city that wants to grow to 250-thousand. That's not the right way to do it."

Vasas says pictures taken four months ago show more construction equipment. It's not clear if more work or restoration is taking place. She fears the weekend work will continue here and elsewhere.

"We certainly can't eliminate any violations of the law but we certainly can react to them as quickly and expeditiously when they occur," Says Payne.

Vasas says she'll continue to fight for the environment and those who can't fight for themselves. "It's all going away and once it's goes away it's not coming back."

North Port city officials say there are no permits issued for the properties in question and they will continue to monitor the area for work being done.

The developer Randy Aluge could not be reached for comment. We are told he is frequently out of the country.