BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents in the Rosedale community, near Lakewood Ranch, are dealing with two new construction homes that are being built too close to existing homes.
In both cases, builders did not follow Manatee County setback rules that require homes in this neighborhood to be at least 12 feet apart.
Consumer Investigator Shannon Behnken found that county officials are handling the two situations differently.
Last week, county officials took a stand when asked about a home that builder Ashton Woods built just 7 feet, 6 inches from a neighbor’s home. John Barnott, Manatee County’s Building and Development Director, said the home should be torn down or moved, so the builder could fix its mistake.
The county ordered construction to halt in November, after neighbors complained. County officials say it was then that they caught the error and blamed a third-party inspector hired by the builder.
Ashton Woods has asked the county for a variance that would allow the home to be finished, in it’s current location. It is expected to be heard in October.
Meanwhile, another home just a few streets over, is expected to be the topic of discussion at a variance hearing on Wednesday. In that case, builder Lennar was also ordered to stop construction last November. That house was constructed just 9.5 feet from the next-door-neighbor’s home, instead of the required 12 feet.
Neighbor Mike Shaw wants that home to be moved as well and is furious that the county is not helping him. Documents the county prepared for the meeting show that staff is recommending that the hearing officer approve the builder’s variance, in part because the county is partly to blame.
“This may be considered a bona fide error on the part of the county and the error was not found until after the building permit was issued and the home was substantially constructed,” the document reads.
In that case, the home was inspected by Manatee County and no private inspectors were involved.
Shaw, and many other residents, feel no variances should be granted and that both builders should be required to fix their mistakes and build the homes in the proper place.
“It’s like it doesn’t matter what this guy thinks or what his property value is, or what kind of harm it causes, we’re going to give you the variance and they’ll just have to deal with it and make do of it, Shaw said. “It’s just not right.”
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