BRADENTON, Fla. - Homeowners from the Willowbrook subdivision in Manatee County came to a commission meeting hoping to get answers. The first one they got was not the one they were looking for.
John Barnott, director of Building and Development explained to commissioners, "These problems that we see today are the result of water intrusion because of weather proofing and quality of construction issues that are not subject to the Florida building code."
Basically, Barnott was saying his department did nothing wrong when they gave KB Home the approval to build hundreds of condos in Willowbrook. But some residents beg to differ.
They feel their properties -- specifically the balconies -- have serious construction and design issues, and the county should be helping them when it comes to pressing KB Home to make the situation right.
Homeowner Dan Keeler said, "I don't know if we have presented ourselves as naive in these meetings, but the wool hasn't been pulled over my eyes."
Brendan Crispin tried to shame commissioners. "There are two possible answers from my perspective. It is either mind-blowing and an unprecedented level of incompetence, or blatant corruption."
The Homeowners Association has reached an agreement with KB Home to try and fix the issues, but residents are concerned that if they sign that agreement, they will no longer be able to take legal action against KB Home if the issues remain unfixed, so they are unwilling to sign that right away.
They would like to see the county go after KB Home by no longer permitting them to do work in the county.
Residents did receive some support,with County Commissioner Joe McClash speaking up, directing his comments at Director Barnott. "I respectfully disagree the codes do not include water proofing. The codes have always included water proofing."
But the County Attorney, Mickey Palmer, would flat-out tell commissioners, "This is largely a private dispute that the county commission should not eject itself into."
He went on to tell the commission that the State of Florida is now dealing with KB Home, and it would be best to let the State handle the issue.
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