Bulow RV Resort Given 6 Month Stay of Enforcement to Prevent Tenant Evictions During Special BOCC Meeting

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During the morning business meeting of the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners, the BOCC had on the agenda, the issue of First Baptist Church and their lease. First Baptist Church and the school they were running, was held in a building owned by the Flagler County Government. They had a lease on the property, which still has 7 months left on it. The church is no longer using this building and does not wish to continue with the lease until its completion in 7 months. Commissioners O’Brien and Sullivan both echoed that while they can understand First Baptist’s stance, there is a financial aspect to this, and both commissioners stated they needed to see the financials before they could make any kind of decision on the matter. A motion was made, and seconded to table the issue until staff could provide all of the financials surrounding the building and the lease with First Baptist. The motion passed unanimously.

Later on in the afternoon there was a special workshop to handle the Bulow campground. The BOCC heard a presentation from staff regarding the Bulow campground and the permanent structures that are lining the RV Resort which is supposed to only be transient housing. Staff stated that while some of the structures appear to look to be in nice shape, there are no permits for any of the work, which means there is no way to know if the work was done correctly. Equally there are many structures that are run down, visibly out of compliance, etc.  Currently fines to the property owner, not the tenants, have been suspended while the BOCC hears from staff, residents, and the property owners, in an effort to gain a plan of action and ensure that all parties are on the same page.

The property owners came up to speak on the matter, and essentially claimed that they were at fault but so was the county for not having code enforcement inspect the property on a regular basis. The property owners stated their goal is compliance with County codes, and if tenants continue to refuse to comply, eviction will be the owners only recourse. Currently, tenants are given annual site use agreement that states they may rent the space to store their campers and trailers, but may only live in them for no more than 6 months under the year.

One resident of Bulow stood up to counter some of the points made by the County as well as many of the points made by the property owner. The resident stated that it has been apparent for over a decade that residents of Bulow have lived in their homes there year round for years, and no one from the property owners and managers have ever stated anything against this happening. In fact, the resident stated that at least 10 of the homes that have permanent structures were sold to residents by the property owners. He stated that the property owners were very aware of the structures that have gone up over the years.

The Board members of the County Commission stated their concern for the residents of the RV Park. Dance referred to the behavior of the property owner as egregious; by not only allowing residents to live there year round, as well as build permanent structures, but by selling homes that already contained permanent structures in the park. During the discussion by the BOCC, the consensus was that they would grant a 6 month stay of enforcement to allow staff to continue working on information gathering, while allowing the property owner and the tenants time to come into compliance or to agree to come into compliance. The BOCC held a special business meeting immediately after the special workshop to vote on the 6 month stay of enforcement. The property owner agreed that they would not evict tenants due to compliance issues during this 6 month stay. The motion passed unanimously, giving the property owner and the tenants a 6 month stay starting at the end of January.

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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