It's a pier-less holiday season in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, where health and safety violations have shuttered one of its most popular oceanfront attractions.
No one knows when Anglin's Fishing Pier will reopen.
The popular fishing spot at the eastern end of Commercial Boulevard closed after a special magistrate cited unpermitted construction work and numerous electrical code violations at its bait shop and cafe.
But repairs are being hindered by an ongoing court battle over who controls the company that owns the pier, a family dispute that could play a role in determining who's responsible for correcting the problems.
As of Thursday, the town had received no plans or permit requests to address the situation, which was first identified in October, Assistant Town Manager Bud Bentley said.
Town residents Bob and Katy Mann have been taking their poodles to the pier every morning for the past four years and are missing their morning coffee over the water.
Despite storms, pier a landmark for 74 years
"It's iconic in the city. It's the centerpiece of the city, as far as I'm concerned." Katy Mann said.
The town has had a pier for 74 years. Melvin Angler, the town's founder, first mayor and pier's namesake, built the original one in 1941. It had to be rebuilt twice, after being blown down by hurricanes in 1947 and 1960.
The pier has been a popular destination for fishermen because of nearby reefs that attract schools of mackerel, blue fish and pompano. It's also a magnet for tourists captivated by the ocean views.
Special magistrate Tom Ansbro said he had no choice when he closed the cafe and bait shop Dec. 14. He castigated the owners for not obtaining building permits he said they knew were needed.
"I hate to do it at the height of the tourist season, but I'm not putting one tourist in jeopardy or resident or employee," Ansbro said.
He also issued a $500 fine and warned he would issue daily fines if any work was done before permits were issued.
The pier is owned by Fisherman's Pier Inc., the company where Spiro Marchelos is battling for control against Martha Marchelos, the wife of his incapacitated brother, Elias "Louis" Marchelos. The company leases the restaurant to Anglin's Beach Cafe, which is where most of the illegal work was done and which is owned by Spiro Marchelos.
At the same time, the Marchelos brothers are being sued by Everett Sorenson, who sold the brothers the pier in 2005. Sorenson says they've failed to pay $748,500 owed through promissory notes and he is requesting the corporation be placed in receivership.
Katy Mann said it's the worst possible time of the year for the pier to be closed.
"Everybody has guests in town and relatives and that's the tradition, to go down to the pier," she firstname.lastname@example.org
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