Park, Bark and Fly was fined $200,000 Tuesday for illegal wetlands destruction last year, an amount that matches a previous penalty for the parking provider near Orlando International Airport.
The St. Johns River Water Management District board agreed to the penalty without discussion, capping an investigation opened earlier this year when the state agency learned that Park, Bark and Fly had secretly been bulldozing wetlands on its property since last May.
That unauthorized construction occurred as the district was deliberating the prior $200,000 fine, stemming from illegal wetlands destruction in 2005.
The pair of $200,000 fines are enmeshed in overlapping recent and historic activities, each with several specific violations cited by the water district.
“There were also violations of the previous settlement agreement, and the previous violations, and violations of several permit conditions,” said district lawyer Erin Preston, summarizing for the agency’s board a complex enforcement action.
With Tuesday’s action, the private company appears to be the most penalized violator ever by the water-management district.
Park, Bark and Fly’s longtime environmental expert for wetland regulations had been Bio-Tech Consulting of Orlando, whose president is John Miklos. He is also the governor-appointed chairman of the water district.
Staff at the district confirmed last month that Bio-Tech no longer represents Park, Bark and Fly for matters involving the agency.
Miklos abstained Tuesday from voting on the $200,000 penalty. He and Park, Bark and Fly representatives have declined several requests for comment.
Orange County’s Environmental Protection Division is still investigating the illegal bulldozing of nearly 6 acres of wetlands just west of State Road 436.
Preston said construction remains halted and the site is being watched by district staff.
Park, Bark and Fly must began monthly payments in May of $16,666 toward the second fine of $200,000.
The water district’s action with the parking business includes a daily penalty of $100 per day for each of a variety of technical violations, with that civil punishment now at more than $15,000.