By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Residents of luxury condos overlooking the ocean at Deerfield Beach, Florida, say they have a major headache. It’s an “eyesore,” they say; one that devalues their property. Looking out their high windows, down below on the beach, what is it? It’s Kristina Clothier’s motorhome, tucked in to an embankment – a motorhome with quite a view.
Don’t quickly jump to the conclusion that we’re writing another “homeless RVer” story. Not at all. Ms. Clothier has a solid investment here, amounting to some $7,000 a year she pays in property taxes. Yep, Kristina Clothier owns that little spot on the beach, and has every right to park her motorhome there – unsightly or not.
It may seem strange to some, because Broward County beach walkers are more accustomed to seeing either bare sand, or sand enhanced with something like surfers or sun worshipers, all of whom are a temporary phenomenon. But Clothier is there for the time being. And while condo owners hope that “time being” is short, it looks like their hopes could well be dashed.
Christina Clothier has an attorney, a man named Robert Sweetapple. He points out that while the city has basically allowed the public to use privately-owned beach land as it wishes, with his client encamped it’s a bit more difficult. Clothier’s motorhome and attached temporary structures sit in the midst of her half-acre of ocean-front property, all surrounded by construction tape, evidently to discourage trespassing.
In an interview with WPBF, a West Palm Beach television station, Attorney Sweetapple lays out the situation. Clothier, he says, wants to sell the property to the city, allowing it to be freed up for public use, and giving her the money she wants for retirement. But at this point, the city doesn’t want to part with the $500,000 that Clothier is asking for. Meanwhile, the locals simmer and grumble. No homeless person here. Just someone with leverage, and a Bounder motorhome.