NAVARRE BEACH — Leaseholders on Navarre Beach may soon see a resolution to the "eyesore" at the end of Gulf Boulevard.
For years, residents have complained about the brick home at 7315 Gulf Boulevard. The home has sat vacant since 2004 after it was damaged by Hurricane Ivan.
In June, Santa Rosa County Attorney Roy Andrews sent a letter to homeowners Gary and Staci Turner of Parker, Colorado, to let them know they were in violation of their lease and the covenants on Navarre Beach. The county has also filed to terminate the lease. The Turners have until Sept. 26 to remedy the violations. Although the deadline is a week away, the Turners have not yet responded to the letter, said Brandi Whitehurst, spokeswoman for Santa Rosa County.
"Covenants require that you keep all improvements on the demised premises in good repair, properly painted and clean and sanitary," the letter reads. "The structure does not meet requirements, and is therefore a nuisance."
Peter Birckhead, vice president of the Navarre Beach Leaseholders and Residents Association, moved to Navarre Beach about three years ago. One of the first things he asked neighbors was, "What's the deal with that brick house?" In a Daily News story from 2016, Navarre Beach Leaseholder Larry Sims said the home has been everything from an unofficial public restroom to a nighttime hangout. It is dubbed by some as the "Mafia House" as rumors started to spread that a Chicago mafia boss built the home for his mistress.
"It's the only all-brick home on Navarre Beach," Birckhead said. "It's built like a fortress with concrete pilings — those are like the Rolls Royce of pilings for its time. Now, the inside is just completely shot."
The home is just a frustrating footnote for Navarre Beach leaseholders. Property on Navarre Beach is not owned by residents, but is leased from the county with yearly fees.
"We've had quite a bit of new construction," Birckhead said. "It's an eyesore for everybody. It's right at the entrance of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. For anyone that's driving through, that's the last thing they see when they leave Navarre Beach."
The county has received multiple complaints about the property for violations dating back to 2010. Birckhead made it his personal mission to get the county's attention. He said if leaseholders had it their way the house would be torn down, but he's not optimistic that will be the outcome.
"It shouldn't take 12 years to get something done," he said. "But now, the ball's back in the Turners' court."