TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Lazy River Village in Sarasota County was hit hard by Hurricane Ian.
The community has more than 350 homes, and many were significantly damaged by the storm.
“My lanai is gone, carport is gone, fencing is gone, besides all of the damages to the outside and the roof,” said Janice Boeck.
But Boeck says she is much more fortunate that her neighbors.
“There’s very few that weren’t touched,” she said.
Now, nearly a month after the storm there are piles and piles of debris along the streets of her community—even in the mangroves that line the waterways around the neighborhood.
“It’s a problem because we can’t seem to get any help from FEMA and we can not get any help from Sarasota County,” Boeck said.
Richard Donelson is the President of the Board of Directors for Lazy River Village. He and others have reached out to the county, the governor’s office and FEMA asking for help, but they don’t seem to be getting anywhere.
“We understand the common property that we are responsible for that, but these folks, everybody that pays taxes should be entitled to a FEMA response,” Donelson said.
WFLA reached out to the governor’s office on Monday and received a response.
“Private property debris removal, including debris removal from privately-owned residential or commercially owned private property is normally the financial responsibility of the property owner and is typically ineligible for the Public Assistance (debris removal) program. The local municipality (city or county) physically executes debris removal according to their agreement with the resident,” Alecia Collins, the Communications Director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management said.
However, Collins says the Governor has directed the head of the Florida Division of Emergency Management to work out a solution with FEMA so that Lazy River Village and many other communities like it can get help.
“Accordingly, the State of Florida has gone above and beyond to successfully advocate from FEMA a sixty-day window for reimbursable expenses that includes a provision for private property debris removal in accordance with applicable FEMA policies (not to include a duplication of insurance benefits) to be reimbursed by the federal government if performed by the local jurisdiction and beyond the normal scope of waste removal,” her statement said.