Contractor, condo accused of severely damaging a Marco Island beach

Plants and natural vegetation that once surrounded a Marco Island beach are all gone. The construction crews that got rid of it did not have permission. Now, the contractor and the condominium may pay a heavy price.

Tonya Hamline said it sticks out like a sore thumb.

“An eyesore,” Hamline said. “I mean, it’s just out of place.”

Piles of sand, vegetation and a patted down Marco Island beach. It is right in front of the Madeira Condominiums.

“Marco [Island] is so beautifully manicured,” Hamline said. “To see that it’s like, yeah that definitely needs to be addressed.”

According to both Marco Island city leaders and the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the contractor ripped up part of the beach without permission.

Both the contractor, RR Restoration, and Madeira Condominiums received warning letters from the state. In the letters, the state accused them of damaging existing dunes, removing native vegetation and removing beach material to change ground elevation.

The DEP said it is a problem because those all serve as our state’s first line of defense against storms, lessening potential damage to buildings and our beaches, as the latter is also home to Florida wildlife.

“They should give them some type of penalty, some type of fine, make them bring it back to the way it was,” said Chris Degiralomo, a Marco Island resident. “Where does it stop? It’ll just keep going.”

Repairs are a given and depending on what the DEP decides, both RR Restoration and Madeira Condominiums could get served with thousands of dollars worth of fines.

In a statement, RR Restoration said it denies the allegations and went to great lengths to get the necessary permits, along with protecting the beach.

“Society would fall apart,” Degiralomo said. “Like anything else, you have to have structure.”

“You would like to think they went through the proper channels,” said Dave Mullett, a Marco Island resident.

Writer:Michael Mora
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