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Sen. Bill Galvano pushes KB Home to address Willowbrook Townhomes problems

7:11 PM, Feb 14, 2013   |    comments
Wood rotting from a balcony at Willowbrook townhome that was built by KB Home.
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Bradenton, Florida -- After meeting with distressed homeowners of Willowbrook Townhomes, State Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has encouraged KB Home's regional president George Glance to better-address some of the residents' complaints.

10 News was the only television station at the homeowner/Galvano meeting.

Galvano tells 10 News that Glance committed to paying for mold inspections as well as temporary relocation for the homeowners most disruputed by repair construction.

Galvano provided more details in a press release from his office:

Although the Florida Department of Health does not recommend mold testing generally as a first step because of its potential expense, Galvano said sufficient concern exists to recommend professional testing, and he is assured by KB Homes officials that the company will pick up the tab for testing done on homes it built.

"The most critical thing is to identify and eliminate any potentially dangerous environmental hazards that families may unwittingly be exposing themselves to at home," Galvano said.

Willowbrook officials have selected an independent, licensed contractor to perform the testing. Residents should contact the Board of Directors for information on scheduling a mold test in for their homes.

Galvano recently visited Willowbrook residents at their request to get a first-hand look at the issues they face. On Friday, he met with KB Homes president George Glance to discuss the residents' complaints about safety, the unacceptable conditions that exist in their homes, and the agreement company officials reached with the Willowbrook Board of Directors to address the complaints.

Galvano said his meeting with Glance was productive. The company acknowledges mistakes in construction, Galvano said, and it is committed to rectifying those errors. The company has an open-ended agreement backed by an escrow account with funds designated for remediation and repairs. KB Homes has also agreed to reimburse or provide in advance the costs associated with relocating homeowners whose properties require invasive repairs, Galvano said.

In addition, Galvano has arranged to receive weekly updates from Glance about the progress of repairs at Willowbrook.

Galvano also met with Florida Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong to explore mold-testing possibilities potentially involving the Department of Health (DOH). As commercial mold testing can be expensive, DOH officials discourage it as a first resort. But since mold can pose significant health problems, all homeowners - not just those in Willowbrook - should regularly check their homes for signs of mold.

According to the DOH, controlling moisture is the key to stopping indoor mold growth, because all molds require water to grow. Common sources of mold-inducing moisture include storm water flooding, sink/bathtub/shower/toilet overflows, leaky roofs or gutters, plumbing leaks or broken water pipes, sprinkler spray hitting outdoor walls, poor venting of kitchen and bathroom moisture (steam from shower or cooking), and even liquid spills that are not dried completely.

For more information about indoor mold, see "Indoor Mold and Your Health" at the Department of Health's website: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/indoor-air/mold.htm.

Previous KB Home coverage on 10 News:

12/20/12 - Blight Christmas!
12/12/12 - Upset homeowners plan multi-complex protest
10/30/12 - Angry homeowners confront county building codes czar
10/17/12 - Is KB Home fixing condos or just the stucco?
10/17/12 - Manatee Commissioners getting more active
10/12/12 - Homeowners complain KB "Band-Aids" not working
10/9/12 - Willowbrook residents confront Manatee commissioners
10/4/12 - Nine years of failed fixes from KB Home
10/2/12 - State Senator pleads for AG to investigate KB
9/28/12 - Anomalies found in Willowbrook inspections
9/26/12 - Willowbrook victims seeking legal help
9/19/12 - Frustrated homeowners confront KB executive
9/13/12 - 10 News reveals KB whistleblowers tried to warn homeowners
8/8/12 - Willowbrook homeowners meet with state senator
8/4/12 - Homeowners demanding justice from KB Home

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