Burned-out home now burdening Treasure Island community

Home caught fire in 2016, now on sale for $399,000
Posted at 1:54 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 18:31:21-04

Members of the Treasure Island community are voicing their concerns about a home that caught fire and was never restored.

"It's a wreck that needs to come down," said Gary Berkowitz, whose home faces the burned remains of what was once a beautiful water front property in Pinellas County.

"The main concern obviously is just that it's an eye sore dragging down the whole neighborhood. It's attracting the homeless, attracting different kinds of animals," adds Berkowitz.

The 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom home caught fire back in 2016. The man who lived there survived, but he didn't have insurance on the property.

Since then the home at 110 90th Avenue in Treasure Island has been empty, and neighbors say it is quickly turning into a burden on the whole community.

"I'm sorry the fire happened," reflects neighbor Don Callahan, who says he'd been in the home several times before the fire and says it was very nice.

But he too hopes the rotting building will be torn down soon and replaced with a nice home again.

"It's depressing to go by there and see that fire," adds Callahan. 

"It's an unfortunate situation all the way around," says Treasure Island's interim city manager Amy Davis to ABC Action News.

Davis says the property went through a formal Code Enforcement process on the property: First notifying the owners about compliance issues, then a review by the city's Code Enforcement review board on multiple occasions.

Finally, on February 27 the owners were ordered by the city to pull a building permit to demolish the building, and given 30 days to comply.

On March 28 the city began fining the property $150 per day, a measure used to encourage compliance.

Yes, that includes weekends, so by our math, as of August 28, the lien on the home is at $22,950.

City staff even spoke to the owners of the property, but they appear determined to sell the property for much more than it's worth.

It's currently listed on the market at $399,000.

ABC Action News spoke to real estate agent Ron Thompson, who is tasked with selling the home.

Thompson acknowledges the home is listed for more than it is worth and says he's explained this to the home's owners, but they're not interested in changing the price at this time.

Thompson adds that the home has been inspected by Beryl Engineering, which says the bottom floor walls are structurally sound, but Thompson suspects a future owner won't bother with that.

"Obviously it needs to be teared down," says Thompson.

The city of Treasure Island confirms the Beryl Engineering report, and says, besides the fines, there's nothing they feel they can do at this time to change the situation.

And that leaves neighbors stuck with a burned out home next door.

"The roof is caved in and it's been sitting there for 15 months and the more time that goes by the worse shape its in," says Berkowitz, dismayed.

"We cringe every time we drive by it or walk by it," he adds.