Gateway Sun

The contractor responsible for dumping the debris from the Towne Lake commercial area on to the Fun Park was Ashkal Landscapes LLC.

Last week, when questioned by Gateway Services Community Development District officials as to why they did that, the contractor responded: “Kendra Sutton from the Eagle Point [sic] HOA said we could dump it here.”

Sutton is the HOA president of the Cypress Pointe community.

The GSCDD contacted Sutton last Friday, asking her to “please respond to this allegation” made by the contractor.

The Gateway District also asked Sutton who would be paying for the debris removal.

Later – no doubt after the unwanted attention from district officials (and possibly from a certain news publication) – the contractor backtracked on their cut-and-dry statement from last week.

The contractor’s new story is that Sutton authorized dumping debris from the Cypress Pointe community on to the Fun Park, but that the contractor came up with the idea to dump debris from the commercial area on to the Fun Park by themselves.

It isn’t clear if anybody’s nose grew while providing the second, updated, post-allegation version of the events.

break-line

In the moment Ashkal Landscaping was confronted by the GSCDD, apparently believing nothing was wrong with what they were doing, Ashkal responded quite plainly that Sutton told them to dump commercial debris at the Fun Park.

Only once the you-know-what began hitting the fan did their story change.

You can believe whichever version of Ashkal’s story you want. The first or the second version.

But the reality is there are only four debris piles on Towne Lake Drive. I’m obviously estimating here, but approximately 96-98% of Towne Lake Drive’s street frontage is available for debris. So why go through the trouble of bringing it down Gateway Boulevard to the Fun Park when there’s PLENTY OF ROOM right there on Towne Lake Drive?

And even if you did make that decision for some perfectly innocent reason… while you were driving down Gateway Boulevard you would no doubt notice that only about 5% of Gateway Boulevard has its sides covered by debris. Why not just leave it there where you know FEMA will pay to come get it? (Ashkal is no doubt sophisticated enough to know where FEMA will pay for debris removal, and where they will not).

Cypress Pointe is a bit different.

There are 100 or so debris piles of various sizes. Some big, some small.

That said, still over 90% of Cypress Pointe property is available for placing debris – including all but one corner of the pool and clubhouse property.

So why did any debris at all from Cypress Pointe need to be moved to the Fun Park when there’s ample room in a closer and easier place to put it?

And if moving debris from Cypress Pointe to the Fun Park is the plan, why stop when there’s still plenty more debris and plenty more Fun Park area to dump on? Why did only enough debris get moved to discourage parking at the Fun Park? Why not put the debris on the side of the road that connects Gateway Blvd to Cypress Pointe where nearly ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the land is available for debris placement?

And bottom line: why arrange to have any debris whatsoever brought to the Fun Park, which you know you have no right to do, and which you know you’ve been the community’s largest pain in the ass trying to get to Fun Park shut down?

It might – MIGHT – have been okay if Sutton contacted the GSCDD herself and said “hey guys, I made a decision in the moment. It was crazy circumstances. My HOA will pay to have it removed.”

But no.

Sutton said nothing until Ashkal Landscaping got busted and pointed the finger squarely at Sutton, and Gateway’s District Manager Chris Shoemaker confronted Sutton.

Now, as is our custom, we did contact Sutton to offer her the opportunity to explain, apologize, let the community know about payment arrangements, whatever she wanted to say.

Admittedly, I wanted to take the story in a different direction. A more positive direction.

But she did not respond. So here we are.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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