notebook - Southwest Florida Water Management District

notebook - Southwest Florida Water Management District


10, 2009, Owner responded to the revised Consent Order by

submitting a report from a consultant opining that Owner is engaged

in the practice of silviculture on his Property and was therefore

exempt from permitting requirements. No direct response was

made with respect to the Consent Order. On May 26, 2010, staff

referred this matter to the Florida Department of Agriculture and

Consumer Services (FDACS) for a nonbinding opinion as to

whether the work done on the Property qualifies for the permitting

exemption provided in Section 373.406(2), Florida Statutes. On July

27, 2010, the District received FDACS’ opinion, which stated that

the activities on the Property did not qualify for the exemption. In a

last effort to resolve this matter, on August 10, 2010, District staff

reissued to Owner the revised Consent Order which proposed

penalties and costs in the amount of $178,499. Owner did not agree

to the Consent Order.


On March 2, 2011, the District issued an Administrative Complaint

and Order which has been served on all necessary parties. Sheila

Geraci was served with the Administrative Complaint and Order on

March 17, 2011, and Peter Geraci was served on April 13, 2011.

On April 25, 2011, counsel on behalf of Sheila Geraci and Peter

Geraci filed a request for extension of time to file a Petition. While

the request for extension of time was timely with respect to Peter

Geraci, the request for extension of time was 25 days late with

respect to Sheila Geraci. The request for extension of time was

granted for Peter Geraci and denied for Sheila Geraci. The District

entered a Final Order of Dismissal as to Sheila Geraci on May 25,

2011. On May 19, 2011, Peter Geraci filed a timely Amended

Answer to the ACO and a request for formal administrative hearing.

The matter was referred to the Division of Administrative Hearings.

Pursuant to Sections 373.406 and 373.407, Florida Statutes, on

January 18, 2012 the District requested a Binding Determination

from FDACS in regards to whether the activities on the Property

were exempt from permitting requirements. A final hearing on this

matter was rescheduled to May 22-24, 2012, to allow time to

receive FDACS’ binding determination.

On March 22, 2012, FDACS rendered a binding determination that

the activities on the Property were not exempt from District

permitting requirements. On April 2, 2012, Geraci moved to stay

this matter while he considers challenging the FDACS

determination. The District objected to Geraci’s motion as

premature. At a telephonic motion hearing held on April 9, 2012, the

ALJ gave Geraci a deadline by which to inform the ALJ as to

Geraci’s response to the FDACS determination. On April 12, 2012,

Geraci filed a Petition For Formal Administrative Hearing with


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