Willowbrook residents meet with commissioners

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BRADENTON, Fla. - Homeowners in the Willowbrook townhome community say they expected Manatee County's building inspectors to catch any mistakes during construction. Instead, the KB Home property is riddled with problems, from structural damage to water intrusion. On Tuesday, several residents went to county commissioners asking they look into the initial inspections done by the county's building department.

Residents say they left the commission meeting feeling frustrated. This is the third county commission meeting they've attended, and they're also joining together trying to get KB Home to fix the problems. But now, they say they're still stuck in what seems to be a never ending saga.

Less than one month ago, the division president of KB Home was at Willowbrook, scaffolding was up, and residents were told repairs were on the way. “It's a dog and pony show. Cameras show up, scaffolding is there, George Glance is there, everybody's there to do something. Go there now, there's nobody. There's no scaffolding, no workers, nothing going on,” says resident Armando Delgado.

Now residents say they're left searching for answers on their own. This is the third Manatee County Commission meeting residents have attended, this time, focusing on the county's building inspectors. “We don't want this to happen to other homeowners. There's no reason why we shouldn't go ahead and hope that our inspectors would catch some of these things. There were a lot of missed items, and we want to make sure other homeowners coming to Manatee County can go ahead and depend on the government to make sure the inspectors do their job,” says resident Nicholas Sommer.

Dozens of homes in the Willowbrook community have structural issues and water intrusion, and county building inspectors deemed several unsafe a couple of months ago. But without all the facts, “Where we are and what we can and cannot do, with all the great points brought up, in particular, code enforcement issues, and what a state certified contractor and cannot do. There are some issues, i think before we make a decision, I think we need several answers first,” says Manatee County Commission Chairman John Chappie.

For now, commissioners agreed to collect all the facts before making any decisions. “We still may not have any latitude there, but never the less, we know how to correct things in the future,” says Donna Hayes, Manatee County Commissioner.

County Commissioners discussed having a third party do a final report on the issue, but ultimately, they all agreed to put a separate agenda item on the regularly scheduled meeting on October 30th to review all of the information pertaining to Willowbrook.