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St. Pete slow to dredge dock-clogging silt, with water too shallow for boats

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Maryann Lynch is famous for naming her properties after Monopoly board properties. Now she is feeling high and dry.

The 55-year-old St. Petersburg property tycoon resides in a 2,764 square foot waterfront home complete with a boat dock.

However, silt from a city owned drainage installation flowing into the bay has rendered her dock all but useless.

As a result, Lynch alleges it has become too shallow to launch her boat. Previously, she would simply lower the craft, fire it up and head out into the bay. Now she is forced to push her boat away from the dock into deeper water before being able to get going.

In 1995, Lynch purchased the property with a resolution by the former owner regarding an easement with the city, which stated:

“The City will indemnify (former owner) Frank A. Rowell by repairing or replacing any damage to the seawall and/or the rip rap in the outflow area on his property or other damage to his property that may be caused by the water flow from the box culvert installation constructed in accordance with the new drainage installation.”

According to Lynch, the drainage system and its outflow caused the buildup of silt around her boat dock, affecting her ability to launch her boat.

The situation has detrimentally affected the value of her property to the tune of approximately $100,000 she alleges.

In the past, the City of St. Petersburg used subcontractors to dredge the area just outside of the outflow, but not around Lynch’s dock.

According to court documents, the sub contractors state that, “it was clearly the City’s responsibility to correct the silt damage to Plaintiff’s (Lynch) waterfront property, as the drainage was the obvious cause.”

Apparently, the City has agreed – in exchange for the “Perpetual Easement and via the Resolution” – to repair any “future” damage caused by the water flow but has steadfastly refused to dredge any silt deposits around Lynch’s dock.

The City contends that even though the sediment is clearly a direct result of their drainage system, they do not have the responsibility to dredge.

This impasse led Lynch to file suit against the City of St. Petersburg.

“Much of the benefit derived from having a waterfront property is the ability to navigate one’s boat freely to and from their dock,” she argues.

Lynch is seeking the damages along with the dredging and repair of her dock.

None of the parties involved returned calls for comment by press time.

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