SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s been nearly six months since Hurricane Ian devastated parts of southern Sarasota County, but there are still signs of recovery all around in one Englewood neighborhood, from blue tarps covering damaged roofs to a massive pile of debris from the storm.

The pile of waste sits on private property at a mobile home park off of W. Wentworth St. For people who live in the area, it serves as a constant reminder of everything lost during the storm.

Bruce Minsley lives across the street from the eyesore and claims it has since turned into a dumping ground.

“That pile has continued to grow. Just yesterday, we saw a station wagon drive up and empty it, and before I could get my cell phone and get over there to get a license plate number, he was gone,” Minsley said. “So we have an ongoing dump facility. It continues to grow day by day.”

The Englewood resident has a background in environmental science and has worked with a municipality as the deputy director of utilities of water and wastewater. Because of that background, he says he has serious concerns.

“I am very concerned of materials leaching from this landfill into the ground waters. It is adjacent to Lemon Bay and there is a boat turn right next to the landfill. Some of these trailers date back to when asbestos was commonly used. It is a health and safety issue. The neighbors are reporting rats,” Minsley said.

Sarasota County Code Enforcement posted a notice of violation at the site last week. It said the owner must have the property cleaned up by Feb. 27, or he could face fines. The property manager on-site told 8 On Your Side the manager is going to take care of the issue and pay out of pocket to do so.

The manager said a FEMA representative told them to consolidate the waste in one area, but for months now, he claims they’ve been waiting for it to be removed.

Here is what Sarasota County told 8 On Your Side about the pile of debris:

Sarasota County representatives have visited the site and have been in communication with property owners.

With a focus on the hardest impacted areas of Sarasota County, the county petitioned FEMA to expedite and approve the county to conduct debris removal in specific Mobile Home Park (MHP) communities, considered commercial property. The county did remove debris from 13 mobile home park communities that were assessed and approved by FEMA for the county to conduct debris removal. Shady Haven was not approved by FEMA for the county to conduct debris removal.

Private communities, businesses, commercial contractors and tree services are/were not permitted to dump construction and demolition or vegetative storm debris to avoid disposal fees or for county collection. Commercial agencies must dispose of storm debris at the Central County Landfill, 4000 Knights Trail Road, Nokomis, at an alternative permitted facility, or work through their insurance company for debris removal.

The property owner has been issued a Notice of Violation and Order to Correct Violation, pursuant to Sarasota County Code, Section 106-54 (a), which states,

“It shall be unlawful for any Person to discharge, throw, place, deposit or allow to remain in or upon any private or public Premises, road, rights of way, street, alley, canal, ditch, stream, lake, pond, bay  or other waters, or any other public or private property, and Solid Waste or Recyclable Materials, except in and upon approved Solid Waste Disposal Sites, Recycling Facilities, or as otherwise authorized by this Ordinance.”

The deadline to come into compliance is February 27, 2023. If compliance is not gained, it will be pursued through the Special Magistrate process.

Remaining storm debris should be prepared for regular solid waste collection by the county’s vendor, Waste Management, and be properly placed curbside. Materials should be bundled, bagged, or placed in a container and not exceed four feet in length or 40 pounds. Materials can also be hauled to the Central County Landfill, 4000 Knights Trail Road, Nokomis, which is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays. Applicable disposal fees apply.