Sebring checks on tardy builders
JOE SEELIGSEBRING - Building Official Ed White was on the prowl to bring owners of unfinished structures that are not in compliance with building regulations into compliance.
Published: September 22, 2012
Published: September 22, 2012
Under the direction of the Sebring City Council, following a complaint from a resident on Sept. 4, White identified several properties and provided the council on Tuesday with his findings as well as his opinion as to what should happen next.
He felt if buildings on which permits had expired were kept secured with windows and doors and were not causing a problem, they should be left alone.
In turn, the council gave its direction to White on a case-by-case basis with each property White provided information on.
Two properties belonging to the Guelff Family Limited Partnership, one at 700 S. Commerce Ave. and the second at 620 N. Ridgewood Drive, were the first to be discussed as those were the ones on which they received the complaint.
"I'm pleased to tell you the one on South Commerce is being worked on right now," White said Tuesday. "They started work on it this week. That building will be basically completed on the outside."
They have a prospective tenant for the one on the Sebring Parkway and North Ridgewood Drive.
They wanted to hold off on doing the windows and doors because the tenant may want something special other than what they would put in, White said.
The permits on both buildings have expired. The work currently under way did not require a permit.
Councilman John Clark said the Guelff property situation was unacceptable. City Attorney Bob Swaine suggested pulling a permit would give them another six months.
Councilman John Griffin suggested that White tell them to do that.
On Oasis Boulevard on Dinner Lake there is a townhouse structure in foreclosure. One unit was complete with no certificate of occupancy and another part was incomplete.
An abandoned foundation for a basement to an adjacent building with metal rods (rebar) sticking up, present a hazard, White said. He suggested it be demolished.
Councilman Scott Stanley didn't see it was a problem unless someone trespassed on the property.
Clark agreed, except the city would assume some liability for it after having been told by its building official it was unsafe and they took no action.
Councilman Bud Whitlock suggested getting in touch with whoever owns it to tell them to secure it.
On Curry Street there were five single-family residences — but the developer got a heavy draw from the bank and skipped town.
"That money was to be used to put in the infrastructure; put the roads in and so on and that never happened," White said.
Code enforcement goes out there regularly and any damage gets fixed, White said. He suggested the city could put a street in — and connect the water — and could sell the residences and people could live in them and bring some tax money in.
"I don't want to go into the development business," Clark said. "We tried it and didn't do very well at it."
Mayor George Hensley said as long as the houses are secured the city didn't have much recourse.
There were concrete slabs for duplexes in Las Villas. White said he told the Realtor if nothing was going to be done the concrete needed to come out.
"I said the least I'm going to put up with or the least I'm going to take is they need to cut all the rebar," he said. "So they went out the next day and the rebar was cut off even with the slab. Because you could see somebody getting impaled on that steel sticking up …"
"So they've got five or six basketball courts out there," he joked.
However there was a code enforcement issue that needed to be addressed because the grass and weeds hadn't been mowed.
Majestic Cove Phase II, at 2251 Lakeview Drive, got an extension on its permits from the state which carries them until Aug. 4, 2013. If the state keeps extending it, they would get another two years after that.
There is a partial concrete block basement structure currently on hold there.
At Pine Key, the buildings and properties are beautifully manicured, looked good and were secured, White said.
At Stone Ridge there are some things cooking, White said. He hoped something happens with that. The property is mowed and kept up, and it's not causing a problem, White said.