Builder demolishes Florida house after building too close to neighbor

Southeast

BRADENTON, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — How close is too close?

It was a sight residents in the Florida community of Bradenton never thought they’d see: A brand-new home being demolished to fix a builder’s mistake.

Builder Ashton Woods tore down the house after building it just 7 feet, 6 inches away from the neighbor’s home in the Rosedale neighborhood. Manatee County requires at least 12 feet between homes in this neighborhood.

“This is what needed to be done,” said Kirk Tcherneschoff, who lives right next door. “We have to follow rules, being a member of the HOA in here. The builder shouldn’t be able to skirt the rules.”

An investigation from NewsNation affiliate WFLA-TV exposed the error and that Manatee County officials didn’t catch the mistake until last November. Construction was ordered to halt, but the builder took no action, leaving the home to sit.

Neighbors were upset, worried about property values, privacy and fire safety concerns. Homes that are too close together pose a potential danger because if one home catches fire and is too close to another home, they could both go up in flames.

Courtesy WFLA

Ashton Woods is taking this drastic action to resolve a nearly yearlong dispute with residents in the Rosedale community, near Lakewood Ranch.

The builder abruptly withdrew its application for a variance to continue building the home last week, and showed up this week with a bulldozer.

Two weeks before the variance hearing, the builder decided to instead tear down the house and start over, building a new house farther away from the neighbor’s home.

Darryl Colwell, division manager for Ashton Woods, sent this statement to Better Call Behnken:

“After further review, Ashton Woods voluntarily withdrew the variance request and chose to move forward with the re-site and restart of construction on the home. The zoning requirements in the community are unique, resulting in multiple zoning and variance issues and with that, we chose to proceed with this solution. We are awaiting necessary approvals to move forward and do not have a set date for demolition at this time.”

It’s unclear when the new home will be built, but the land is now clear and ready for construction of a new home, this time, at a safe distance.

Neighbor Jerry Wilson said this is a win for the neighborhood and ultimately the builder will win, too, because they will have a more marketable home to sell.

“All I can tell anyone listening, make sure you call Behnken, it’s the right thing to do,” Wilson said.

© 1998 - 2020 Nexstar Inc. | All Rights Reserved.