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Code Enforcement Board orders Carrollwood mansion property cleared of blocks, brush

In 2005, Pradip C. Patel pulled a building permit for a 25,000-square-foot, two-story mansion. A neighbor says it has been two years since work was done. Weeds and blocks remain.

Times files

In 2005, Pradip C. Patel pulled a building permit for a 25,000-square-foot, two-story mansion. A neighbor says it has been two years since work was done. Weeds and blocks remain.

CARROLLWOOD — The owner of a partly built mansion overlooking Lake Ellen now has deadlines to cut back the underbrush and get stacks of concrete blocks off his property.

But he doesn't have a deadline to resume construction or finish the house.

The Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Board voted to give the property owner — one of entrepreneur and philanthropist Pradip C. Patel's family companies — until June 26 to remove overgrown brush that a neighbor says is the home of snakes that crawl into his yard.

"He shouldn't have to wait another day for that to be taken care of," Code Enforcement Board member Philip McDonald told Sam Aref, who is working on the site cleanup for Patel.

The board also gave the company, Naidip Bella Casa LLC, 60 days to get rid of the blocks. The property owner can either haul them away or use them to build a wall between the house and its neighbors.

Aref said he planned to apply for a permit for the wall this week. The county required the wall as a condition for the project's rezoning.

If Patel's company misses either deadline, it faces fines of $200 per day, the board said.

The board did not act on the fact that construction has lapsed at the site.

Code enforcement inspectors had cited Patel's company for not having an active construction permit. But at the Code Enforcement Board's June 12 hearing, officials said they canceled that citation because it included the wrong folio, or property identification, number.

An incorrect folio number was included when the property owner received the building permit for the house, said Jim Blinck, the county's manager for code enforcement operations. Code inspectors picked up that number when they started their case.

On Tuesday, Blinck said he wasn't sure whether he could legally cite Patel's company for not having a current construction permit because there's no work going on.

Typically, code enforcement inspectors cite property owners who are working on their property without an appropriate permit. This case, where a permit was issued but lapsed after construction stopped, is not typical.

Blinck said he planned to talk to the county attorney's office and building department before proceeding further on questions related to the permit.

The construction site, at the end of Lake Ellen Lane in the Lakeside Terrace subdivision, once was home to the state headquarters of the Salvation Army.

But in 2004, the charity sold the property for $3.1 million to a Patel family company.

Patel is one of the founders, along with his brother, Dr. Kiran Patel, of the WellCare HMO. Soros Private Equity Group bought WellCare in 2002 for more than $200 million.

In 2005, Patel pulled a building permit for a 25,000-square-foot, two-story mansion. Plans indicated the five-bedroom home was being built for Patel and his wife, Naini.

But construction has languished, and the project has not had an active construction permit since April 2008, county officials say. Neighbor Simon Canasi, who complained to the county, said it has been two years since any work was done on the house.

Patel now is looking to sell the house, in which he has invested at least $1.5 million, because of the economy, Aref said.

"They cannot complete the house at this time," he said. A new owner, he suggested, might complete the work, tear down the partly built structure or modify the building plan, perhaps to build a one-story house.

"I think you have some fences to mend with the neighbors out there," Code Enforcement Board chairman Thomas Jones told Aref. "Give them a barbecue and get that property cleaned up."

Richard Danielson can be reached at Danielson@sptimes.com or (813) 269-5311.

Code Enforcement Board orders Carrollwood mansion property cleared of blocks, brush 06/18/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 18, 2009 4:30am]
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