BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – A Brandon neighborhood was left with piles of storm debris and downed trees for a month.
Residents say Hillsborough County government agreed to pick up the mess, but then didn’t follow through.
Martin Rivera tells Better Call Behnken that on March 12 a storm ravaged Amana Drive in Brandon. He was left with downed trees that damaged his cars and made a mess of his yard. One car had to be towed away after it was totaled and the other cars are left with dents.
He tells Better Call Behnken he got to work right way clearing the debris.
Martin and other residents say they called Hillsborough County government and were told a truck would come by to pick it all up, but when workers showed up. Martin says they realized they would need bigger trucks and said they’d be back later.
A month later, huge piles of debris still lined the street. Getting nowhere, Martin knew he’d Better Call Behnken.
After 8 On Your Side Investigator Shannon Behnken called we were promised a quick investigation. A county spokesperson called back to say the county typically picks up this much debris only when there is a categorized storm and a local state of emergency.
The spokesman called this one-month delay a “misunderstanding” about who’s responsible for picking up debris… and agreed to help out the neighborhood. The next day the debris was gone and Martin sent me these photos of the cleanup.
A county spokesman sent this information:
There was a misunderstanding about the debris on Amana Drive; however, Hillsborough County’s Code Enforcement is going to go ahead and collect the storm debris this week in the neighborhood.
In the future, if a resident has storm debris or tree debris on their private property for any reason, the resident is responsible for collecting the storm debris and having it removed. If there is a categorized storm and a local state of emergency, the County will pick up the debris curbside. Conversely, if a resident living in the County has debris from a tree located on the easement, then the County is responsible since the easement is considered County property.
In the case where a resident is responsible for having the debris removed, they can have a company remove it for them, or they can take the debris to one of the County’s three yard waste sites:
- Falkenburg Road Yard and Wood Waste
346 N. Falkenburg Rd.
Tampa, FL 33619
- Northwest County Solid Waste Facility
8001 W. Linebaugh Ave.
Tampa, FL 33625
- South County Solid Waste Facility
13000 U.S. Highway 41
Gibsonton, FL 33534
Even if there was a local state of emergency, the resident is still responsible for cutting up and bundling the storm debris and placing it curbside for collection by Hillsborough County.
The only time a resident isn’t responsible is when trees are planted in the easement or in the right of way.