Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Law Firm at Odds with City over Water

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Law Firm at Odds with City over Water

Article excerpt

VENICE

For roughly 20 years, the city of Venice has been gradually annexing unincorporated enclaves on the island and connecting the properties to its water and sewer service.

The last few potential utilities customers are now getting connected -- with a single notable exception.

The law firm of Boone, Boone, Boone, Koda & Frook is standing its ground. Although it agrees to make the connections, it insists the city is not abiding by a 2001 agreement in which the firm prepaid for its hook-ups.

The Boone law firm is known for representing developers and playing an influential role in local politics.

Regardless, on this matter, it is not being shown any favors at City Hall.

The city cites several reasons for the annexations and utility connections: Expanding its tax base. Eliminating the need for sheriff's deputies to pass through the city to respond to calls. Getting rid of septic systems that can fail and pollute.

In 1996, the city had about 420 enclaves -- with an average of two properties being annexed each month. By 2002, that number was down to 170.

In 2001, the Boone firm voluntarily annexed its 73,470-square- foot site with its Colonial-styled, pillared, brick building behind a black iron fence at 1001 Avenida Del Circo. It paid $2,985 in annexation costs that included sewer and water fees.

It convinced the city to give it an extension on the requirement to connect to the utilities system.

"We had just spent a fortune drilling a new well with a reverse osmosis system and a 500-gallon water storage tank," firm founder Dan Boone said. "We needed 10 years to amortize this system."

That signed agreement is now expired.

Boone says the firm is willing to connect but is at loggerheads with city officials about the size of the water line and meter.

The previous payment is based on installation of a 3/4-inch line with a 5/8-inch meter. …

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