Friday, November 17, 2006

The front porch fell off

(The photo I wanted to attach did not work so you have to click this to see it.)

According to the Times, for 2 decades, a house in South Tampa at 721 S Willow Ave has been a code problem.

"It has an active case for "structural problems, deterioration, overgrown conditions and accumulation of debris.""

According to the deceased owner's son: ""it was a situation where there were neighbors pitted against neighbors, the Architectural Review Commission pitted against code enforcement, the City Council pitted against code enforcement and the ARC."

Rose Ferlita said ""I don't know how many, many - I can't say many enough times - how many years this has been a problem for that neighborhood," Ferlita told code enforcement officials at a Nov. 9 council meeting. "I don't have any idea why this particular location has gone on and has been an extreme nuisance to the entire neighborhood."

Here is the full text from the Nov 9 City Council Transcripts:
10:03:37 Number 7.
10:03:47 >>> Del Acosta, architectural review commission here
10:03:51 to address, a letter received October 27, 2006,
10:03:57 regarding 721 south Willow Avenue.
10:04:01 There's an update October 26, 2005, a little over a
10:04:04 year ago, an application for demolition submitted on

10:04:06 this parcel.
10:04:07 It was scheduled to go before the architectural review
10:04:10 commission on December 7th, 2005.
10:04:13 On December 7th, the day of the public hearing in
10:04:16 the afternoon the agent requested a continuation on
10:04:18 that project.
10:04:19 On December 13th, 2005, the application was
10:04:23 withdrawn.
10:04:24 The A.R.C. really acted upon a request for
10:04:32 alterations, demolition, ad valorems.
10:04:34 It essentially act upon an agent or own theory wants
10:04:38 to do something on their property. The A.R.C. has no
10:04:42 jurisdiction on regular maintenance or painting, on
10:04:45 one end of the scale.
10:04:46 When it goes into code violation, we transfer any of
10:04:48 those issues to code enforcement.
10:04:51 In this particular case, 721 south Willow Avenue,
10:04:54 being that there appeared to be some code violation
10:04:57 issues, we transferred those over to neighborhood
10:04:59 improvement.
10:05:01 And he's here to address it on that property.
10:05:08 >>> Kevin INGUS, code enforcement.

10:05:12 Our department does have an active case of 721 south
10:05:15 Willow for structural problems, deterioration,
10:05:19 overgrown conditions and accumulation of debris.
10:05:25 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: When can we expect to see some
10:05:27 action?
10:05:30 >>> That's incumbent upon the property owner.
10:05:33 >> When is there a date when they are supposed to --
10:05:37 >>> We got an inspection scheduled for the 17th of
10:05:40 November, which will basically -- it's their final
10:05:44 notice is what it is.
10:05:47 At that time they will be placed on the agenda for the
10:05:50 code enforcement agenda for compliance.
10:05:53 >> And when will that come before the Code Enforcement
10:05:55 Board if it's not cleaned up by November?
10:05:58 >>> That depends on the current workload of the code
10:06:01 enforcement at the time.
10:06:02 It's generally about two months.
10:06:04 >> That would be January?
10:06:08 >>> Sometime I'm guessing January, early February.
10:06:13 From that inspection date.
10:06:15 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Madam Chairman, I had a chance to
10:06:18 talk with Mr. Acosta about this.

10:06:20 And if the A.R.C. can't make somebody make
10:06:23 improvements to their house, the code enforcement can
10:06:26 do something.
10:06:26 And I know we have worked with you to try to get more
10:06:29 timely compliance.
10:06:30 I think that January, given the space that it is now
10:06:34 is far out there.
10:06:35 But maybe the fact that council is discussing will
10:06:40 make them comply by the end of November.
10:06:44 Is there any way to speed it up?
10:06:47 >>> I can inquire with management, with the
10:06:50 department, to see if we can fast track that to place
10:06:52 it on an earlier agenda.
10:06:54 But we are bound by that inspection date of November
10:06:57 17th.
10:06:58 >> But perhaps if it could be set up in terms of being
10:07:02 place on an agenda.
10:07:03 Does the city -- some of the problems here are
10:07:07 overgrown trash.
10:07:08 Does the city ever go in and clone it up and then
10:07:10 place a lien for the cost of the on the property own
10:07:14 er?

10:07:14 >>> On vacant property, we have done that.
10:07:19 On egregious violations.
10:07:20 But only after notice.
10:07:22 >> Is egregious like three feet?
10:07:24 How do you define it?
10:07:26 >>> It got to be pretty bad before we send a city
10:07:30 contractor out there and spend taxpayer money on it.
10:07:32 >> Although the assumption is that we'll recoup the
10:07:35 investment in cleaning it up by placing a lien on the
10:07:38 property.
10:07:39 >>> Absolutely.
10:07:39 A lien is placed on the property for nonpayment of the
10:07:42 cost that we incur for that job.
10:07:44 >>MARY ALVAREZ: This has been going on for a long,
10:07:49 long time.
10:07:50 Hasn't it?
10:07:51 >>> Yes, ma'am, I believe it has.
10:07:52 >> I remember talking about this property three or
10:07:57 four years ago.
10:07:59 And nothing seems to be done.
10:08:01 This guy just keeps going on and on and on.
10:08:06 Other than code enforcement, what else can we do?

10:08:11 How does he get away from coming to the Code
10:08:14 Enforcement Board year in and year out and so on?
10:08:17 >>> That I don't know.
10:08:18 I have to do some research and submit a report on
10:08:21 that.
10:08:21 But as far as this case is concerned, the reinspection
10:08:25 is scheduled for November 17th.
10:08:27 And if they are out of compliance at that time, --
10:08:32 >> How many reinspections does this place have?
10:08:34 >>> On this current case, there's only been -- on this
10:08:38 current case there's only been one initial inspection.
10:08:43 I can't tell you why this case was reinitiated.
10:08:48 Probably because of problems with past code
10:08:51 enforcement inspections, change of ownership perhaps.
10:08:54 I'm not sure.
10:08:55 I know it's in some sort of estate now due to the
10:09:01 passing of one of the property owners. This case was
10:09:03 actually initiated or initially inspected on October
10:09:07 27th.
10:09:09 So that's what brings us to the reinspection of
10:09:12 November 17th.
10:09:15 >> According to a letter we got from one of the

10:09:17 neighbors, it said that kids are finding the place is
10:09:20 empty, and they are going in there.
10:09:22 I mean --
10:09:25 >>> It is vacant and open.
10:09:27 And then we'll have it secured by emergency order.
10:09:31 >> Can you do that now?
10:09:32 >>> Absolutely.
10:09:37 I noticed that in the letter and so did the department
10:09:39 management.
10:09:40 And if it hasn't already been done, we are looking
10:09:44 into sending a contractor out there to have it
10:09:47 secured.
10:09:47 We are going to confirm that first.
10:09:48 >> When can you put liens on these properties?
10:09:51 After the Code Enforcement Board?
10:09:53 >>> There will be a lien placed on the property for
10:09:55 what it cost us to have it secured.
10:09:58 There will be a lien placed on the property for
10:10:01 whatever it costs us to have it environmentally a
10:10:04 baited if we do that.
10:10:06 And I can't speak on any previous liens or work that's
10:10:09 been done prior to that.

10:10:11 I don't know.
10:10:11 >> Well, I would like for you to report, tell us how
10:10:16 many times code enforcement has been out there and how
10:10:18 many reinspections it has had.
10:10:21 >>> We can submit a report.
10:10:23 >> There has to be some way we can circumvent the Code
10:10:26 Enforcement Board after so many reinspections and so
10:10:29 on, and.
10:10:34 >>> If it's actually egregious enough, and Judge
10:10:36 Dominguez will hear cases that are seriously
10:10:41 egregious, and we have to have a property owner that
10:10:44 we can actually bring into court, someone that's
10:10:47 local, someone that we actually can be -- that can be
10:10:51 served by process server through the sheriff's office.
10:10:54 And in this case, like I said, to take it to criminal
10:11:01 course has to be seriously egregious.
10:11:04 >> I've only seen just copies of photographs, and I'm
10:11:07 sure they are a lot worse, the property's in a lot
10:11:16 worse shape.
10:11:17 And if you can't call that egregious I don't know what
10:11:19 you can call it but give me a report back in about a
10:11:23 week or so.

10:11:24 >>> Yes, ma'am.
10:11:25 >> It could be a written report.
10:11:26 >>MARTIN SHELBY: Madam Chair, you and I met with the
10:11:33 clerk's office and Ms. Marshall yesterday and she
10:11:37 wants to share with regard to putting things on for
10:11:39 next week, she's requesting, I guess as long as this
10:11:44 person is here from code enforcement is aware, she's
10:11:47 concerned that it may not make it onto the actual
10:11:49 agenda because tomorrow is a legal holiday.
10:11:52 To bring to the your attention.
10:11:53 >> I ask for a written report.
10:11:55 >>> That will be fine.
10:11:55 >>ROSE FERLITA: Mr. INGUS, I'm sorry, you're the
10:12:02 person up here so you are going to get it.
10:12:04 I don't know what your definition is of egregious.
10:12:07 But I don't know how many, many -- I can't say many
10:12:10 enough times -- years this has been a problem for that
10:12:13 neighborhood.
10:12:13 When we say we are going to secure it because of
10:12:15 doors, I personally myself have seen holes in this
10:12:18 house where kids can get in.
10:12:20 I don't know what your definition is of egregious.

10:12:22 I don't know what your definition is of securing the
10:12:24 property.
10:12:24 I don't have any idea why this particular location has
10:12:29 gone on and has been an extreme nuisance to the entire
10:12:34 neighborhood.
10:12:35 Mr. Mannous made it very clear being the abutting
10:12:39 neighbor.
10:12:40 He's really sick and tired of this.
10:12:41 I'm really sick and tired of it as a neighbor down the
10:12:44 street.
10:12:44 And I just truly do not understand how it has
10:12:47 continued to go on.
10:12:49 The fact that some people suggested it was in probate.
10:12:53 Ms. CURY checked, talked to the attorney handling that
10:12:57 situation.
10:12:57 It is not in fact in probate.
10:13:01 Whether the owner decides she wants to sell it or not
10:13:03 sell it, et cetera, that doesn't matter.
10:13:06 But the issue is that this continues to be a nuisance
10:13:09 on the back of those neighbors.
10:13:11 It's ridiculous.
10:13:12 It was a standing joke at one time and it's not funny

10:13:14 anymore.
10:13:15 There were two different versions.
10:13:16 The front porch fell off.
10:13:22 That's what kind of good structural situation it was
10:13:24 in.
10:13:24 And there was one story they carted it away or
10:13:26 somebody just for the heck of it bought the porch.
10:13:29 It is ridiculous.
10:13:30 I don't think we need to put any more of those
10:13:31 pictures on the Elmo.
10:13:33 But I don't know what's done but I have a feeling that
10:13:36 it keeps bouncing from code enforcement to Mr. Acosta,
10:13:39 back and forth.
10:13:39 At one time it was going to be demolished, it was
10:13:42 going to be demolition by neglect.
10:13:44 I think we are getting caught up in the system, in the
10:13:48 process, in the terminology.
10:13:50 It continues to be a new sans.
10:13:52 And I'm going to tell you that people in that area are
10:13:54 sick and tired of it.
10:13:55 I'm sick and tired of them stopping me at the corner
10:13:58 of Inman and Willow wanting to know what I'm going to

10:14:01 do about it.
10:14:03 Well, somebody needs to do something about it.
10:14:05 And we need to quick tap dancing around it.
10:14:09 It's not your particular issue, it not Mr. Acosta's
10:14:12 issue.
10:14:13 But enough time is enough time.
10:14:14 This is starting to mimic or take the lead about that
10:14:16 same situation that Mr. Shelby and I met with Mr.
10:14:19 Smith in New Tampa.
10:14:21 I think the short and the long of this message is,
10:14:24 enough is enough is enough.
10:14:25 And you guys really need to give due process.
10:14:30 It's time.
10:14:31 But it's awful.
10:14:34 It's disgusting.
10:14:35 I don't know what you all are going to do.
10:14:37 But believe me when I tell you, when I leave here, I
10:14:39 am going to be real looking forward to sitting out
10:14:42 there and giving you a hassle as a resident who lives
10:14:46 five houses from that.
10:14:48 It's an embarrassment.
10:14:51 Really an embarrassment.

10:14:52 And I never liked to be in a position as a council
10:14:54 member in that neighborhood not having an answer
10:14:58 that's adequate for those citizens who have really,
10:15:00 really been long patient.
10:15:02 So you and Mr. Lane, Mr. Acosta, whoever is involved,
10:15:05 we just need to move this on.
10:15:07 >>> I understand.
10:15:07 >> The owner can't decide what he wants to do.
10:15:09 Please, you guys help him decide.
10:15:12 >>> We'll help him decide, absolutely.
10:15:14 I have not personally seen this since this case has
10:15:16 been initiated.
10:15:17 It may be egregious enough to take it before criminal
10:15:20 court.
10:15:20 And we'll certainly research that.
10:15:23 >>MARY ALVAREZ: In your report, I would like the
10:15:26 times, the dates that you all have gone out there as
10:15:30 many times as you have, and what the resolution is
10:15:32 that you are planning on, and if it's egregious enough
10:15:34 I want to know that we are going to do something about
10:15:36 it and I don't want to wait until next year, because
10:15:39 this has been going on for at least 20 years,

10:15:42 according to the letter.
10:15:43 So it's time.
10:15:44 It's time for us to get off the dime and do something
10:15:46 about this.
10:15:49 >>ROSE FERLITA: If I can interject.
10:15:51 So long as you don't misinterpret what Ms. Alvarez is
10:15:54 saying.
10:15:55 This one was initiated because Ms. Cury turned it in.
10:16:01 We are talking about the numerous code enforcement and
10:16:03 the paper trail.
10:16:05 >>> The case history on it.
10:16:10 >>MARY ALVAREZ: And if it has to be a notebook full of
10:16:14 information, please do it.
10:16:16 >>> It probably will be.
10:16:17 >>MARY ALVAREZ: Because we need to move on this.
10:16:20 This has been going on long enough.
10:16:21 And then when we get the written report, if we are not
10:16:24 completely satisfied with your answers on what the
10:16:27 resolution is going to be, I am going to ask you to
10:16:29 come back in two or three weeks and talk again.
10:16:32 >>> We will.
10:16:32 >>GWEN MILLER: Mr. Dingfelder?

10:16:35 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Thank you.
10:16:35 Officer, since I think this is my district, I would
10:16:40 like a copy of the summary.
10:16:43 I don't think I want the whole notebook.
10:16:45 But I would like a copy of your summary report.
10:16:48 And I would like it to be e-mailed in addition to hard
10:16:53 copy.
10:16:54 That way I'll see it quickly.
10:16:55 Thank you.
10:16:57 >>> Yes, sir.
10:16:57 >>GWEN MILLER: We have a motion and second.
10:16:59 >>MARTIN SHELBY: I'm sorry.
10:17:00 You asked for a week for that report?
10:17:03 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: When is the code enforcement
10:17:05 hearing?
10:17:07 >>ROSE FERLITA: The 17th, right?
10:17:08 >>> Reinspection is 17th.
10:17:10 And that in turn will actually schedule another
10:17:14 inspection shortly after that.
10:17:16 And that inspection, that third inspection will
10:17:18 actually generate the hearing.
10:17:22 They get notice of hearing, it will go out to the

10:17:24 property owner, and then appear on that agenda.
10:17:28 >> When will that hearing tentatively be?
10:17:30 >>> Tentatively, like I said, hopefully sometime,
10:17:34 January, February.
10:17:36 >> Would a week be long enough to do a written report?
10:17:38 >>> Like I said, we can actually fast track it.
10:17:41 I can talk to city clerk's office.
10:17:43 I can talk to our own clerk to determine -- as well as
10:17:47 management and see if they can actually put that on a
10:17:50 sooner agenda.
10:17:51 >>GWEN MILLER: We have a motion and second to get a
10:17:53 written report in a week.
10:17:54 All in favor of the motion say Aye.
10:17:55 Opposed, Nay.
10:17:57 (Motion carried) thank you.

To repeat: "And I just truly do not understand how it has continued to go on. "

Hmm there are a lot of places we could ask the same question of.


Anonymous said...

feel our pain, feel our pain!!

AngelSil said...

Drive down Knollwood between Central and Florida. Look South around Branch. You'll see a house. Where the porch fell off.

Seriously thought this was about that!

Anonymous said...

What is the addrss of the house on Knollwood that the pourch fell off?

Anonymous said...

This is one more reason Curtis Lane Should be fired. This house has been in violation for over 20 years. And they are still insisting on giving the owner "due process"

I am so upset with mayor Iorio as she promised to help neighborhoods. She was so excited when she hired Mr Lane. However, he is a failure and she does not have the courage to admit making a mistake and replacing the code leadership with competent leaders.