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Clair-Mel residents fed up with burned house next door and campers on the lawn

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents along Clarice Circle in Tampa want something done about the charred house that county officials have declared inhabitable.

Sylvia Scott, who lives next door, says the mess has her life at a standstill. The fire in April melted part of her fence, and her insurance company is waiting for the home next door to either be fixed or torn down.

“They can’t do anything to help me,” Scott said. “I just want my fence fixed.”

Making matters worse, some residents say, people believed to be relatives of the owner are living on the property.

There’s junk and trash everywhere, clothes lines and a pool full of green gunk. The property has no mortgage, and Code Enforcement has been unable to reach the owner. Residents felt the county was dragging their feet, so Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken went straight to the top.

Code Enforcement Director Joe Gross came to the property for a visual inspection and said the county has started the condemnation process. He said code officials called law enforcement about the people on the property but even deputies couldn’t reach the owner.

The property owner has 15 days to contest the condemnation and 30 days to come up with a plan to demolish the home. If nothing happens, the county would tear down the house, haul away the junk and send a bill to the owner, or attach a lien to the property.

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