RIVERVIEW, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side Investigates received a call for help about a monumental mess next door last month. We found a burnt-out trailer, inoperable vehicles and piles of junk on the property near Boyette and McMullen roads in Riverview.
Code enforcement officers first started looking into the property in 2017. Neighbors want to know why the cleanup is taking months.
“I am to the point of breaking,” said Roy Welsh.
Welsh owns a home just steps away from the junk-filled property.
We took the concerns of neighbors straight to the top. Ron Spiller is the code enforcement director in Hillsborough County.
“We came in contact with the owner on the property…who said that he was going to take care of it,” said Spiller.
According to county records, the property owner is Matthew Street.
Spiller said the goal of code enforcement officers is to obtain compliance.
“If the owner says he’s actually going to do something, we’re going to let them do that.”
In this case, many months passed.
The code enforcement fines piled up along with the garbage on the property. 8 On Your Side Investigates found two active code enforcement cases for an accumulation of debris and junk.
The 2017 case for overgrowth and accumulations has fines currently running at $368,500. The 2019 case cites uninhabitable dwelling and inoperable vehicles on site.
Spiller says, after the initial 2017 call, code enforcement officers received no complaints until 2019.
“When this came to my attention, I intervened,” said Spiller. “We’ve redirected that from… a code board case to a county judge case.”‘
“Things have ratcheted up?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.
“Correct,” said Spiller.
Spiller says the program, which was not available in 2017, is a powerful tool for code enforcement officers.
The owner will have a chance to voluntarily appear before a judge. If he fails to do so, Spiller says a warrant would be issued.
“It’s been a very effective program for getting non-compliant violators to come into compliance.”
8 On Your Side Investigates has attempted to get in touch with Mr. Street. We will continue to follow this story.
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