City fines Family Dollar $10,000

Family Dollar will be losing at least $10,000 after the Winter Springs code enforcement board dropped a fine of $500 per day on the retail company at a Sept. 28 hearing.

The fine came as a result of what the city called repeated violations of city code and failure to clean up the property on nearly a dozen occasions over the past four years.

The city had taken notice of the store in 2017 when one of the police department’s code enforcement officers, Terri Guerra, saw the Family Dollar store at 250 W. State Road 434 had garbage throughout the property.

“There was trash all over the parking lot and in the dumpster area,” Guerra said.

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Four years later, they were classified as a repeat violator and according to Guerra appeared to be making no effort to fix the situation.

Guerra said she had attempted to contact the store management about the problem multiple times. Code officers said Family Dollar had not responded to the charges. Family Dollar did not send a representative to defend itself at the hearing.

Guerra showed pictures of the property to the board at a hearing to discuss how much to fine the company for the ongoing issue.

“You’ve got trash in the parking lot, you’ve got trash in the landscaping. It’s everywhere,” code enforcement board member Michael Burns said.

Winter Springs senior attorney Jennifer Nix said due to the repeat violations, the city could fine the company up to $500 a day until the problem is corrected.

“My concern is that they’re a repeat violator,” board member Howard Parsons said. “They still have made zero effort to clean up or reach I’m assuming anyone at the police department or at city hall. I think this shows that they’re not a good community partner at this point, and maybe the $400 (initial proposed fine) wasn’t enough to get their attention.”

Guerra said she did see one attempt to clean up the property.

“I actually saw (a landscaper), he picked up a milk jug, but then he threw it back in the grass again,” Guerra said.

The board voted unanimously to impose the maximum fine, beginning Sept. 8, dropping an immediate $10,000 in fines on the company, with an additional $500 for each day going forward.

“Hopefully they’ll get it cleaned up,” Board Chairman Matthew Criswell said.

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