BRADENTON, Fla. - A Bradenton neighborhood has been hit with a series of code enforcement violations that many residents say are frivolous but costly to the working-class neighborhood.
Code enforcement officials say the inspections at Parkview began with one anonymous neighbor calling code enforcement to complain about another neighbor's home. They say the officer inspected all the homes to be fair and consistent.
"I was shocked. The neighborhood is nice clean," says Cheri Fugate-Fowler. Cheri says she's one of 40 homeowners out of 44 that received letters citing code violations.
She says, "My list is overgrown weeds, a bush, needed to pressure wash the north side of my home, now need a fence enclose above ground pool."
Cheri's neighbor has been told to replace her driveway and another neighbor was told to repaint his house. "Beige is beige, whose perspective of faded color do I go by? Do they need to go that far? It's a lot of money to paint a house that looks fine," says Cheri.
Neighbors painted one elderly homeowner's house after the city cited him. John Norris helped paint the man's home. He says, "The issue is two things: one, interpretation of ordinance and, two, timing to get work done."
The timing couldn't be worse for Cheri. She's going through a mortgage modification program to save her home from foreclosure. She's spent $200 on repairs and estimates another $500 for a new fence. It's either that or, the letter states, pay $250 in fines a day.
Cheri says, "I think the city overspent its budget and is trying to find ways to make the money up."
"We collect less than $10,000 a year in fines," says Volker Reiss, the city's compliance officer. Reiss says the city's goal is to get homeowners to fix the problems.
"Now is the time to address maintenance issues so neighborhoods do not get any worst 10 -15 years from now," says Reiss.
Reiss says city officials will work with homeowners. He says, "They don't have to be concerned about that at all, the city won't come after 30 days and automatically fine them $250 a day."
Reiss says they will work with homeowners, but homeowners will need to call code enforcement and explains their situation, come with a plan of action, and with a timeline to fix the problems.