Marathon issues notice of violation to private island owners after destruction of nature

Marathon officials cited the California owners of a private island where neighbors reported nature was recently destroyed.

MARATHON, Fla. – Florida Keys officials are now taking action after a private island that was home to birds and other wildlife was bulldozed.

Area residents reported there was heavy equipment on West Fanny Key, which sits on the bay side off the west end of Marathon.

“We did issue both a citation and a notice to appear,” said Marathon City Manager George Garrett.

A citation sent to the property owners said that an investigation “revealed a majority of the native trees and vegetation has been cleared and removed from the island without permits.”

The owners can’t just pay a fine.

They must “apply for and obtain a permit to replace all native trees and vegetation,” according to the citation.

A hearing with a special magistrate has been set for Oct. 21 and failure to comply could result in hefty fines.

“If you manipulate the ground, you’re undertaking development, and that requires a permit,” Garrett said. “What the keys represent is really an ecology that no longer exists in South Florida.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are also investigating.

Local 10 has reached out to the property owners, a couple from California, several times.

Read the city’s notice of violation

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.