Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco ordinance will expedite slum demolition

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco commissioners focused on home improvements Tuesday.

In the morning, the County Commission ordered two dilapidated homes demolished, but spared two others to let their owners do needed repairs. In the afternoon, the board amended an ordinance to expedite future demolitions and relinquish authority to hear owner appeals to its volunteer construction board.

The amended ordinance, approved unanimously, will halve the time owners have to appeal a condemnation order, from 60 to 30 days. The 10-member board hearing those appeals consists of seven licensed contractors and three community residents.

The changes "will provide an important benefit to the public by requiring owners to efficiently remove slum, blighted, unsafe and uninhabitable structures,'' community development director George Romangnoli said in a memo to commissioners.

The ordinance also adopts federal definitions for categorizing when a structure is considered destroyed, has major or minor damage or is affected in the event of a natural disaster.

"It makes sense,'' Kevin Guthrie, assistant county administrator for public safety, told commissioners last month when the ordinance was first introduced.

Separately, commissioners refused to grant a reprieve to Salvatore Poliandro, who owns two condemned homes in west Pasco. Poliandro's properties at 5519 and 5527 Leisure Lane are in an area targeted for cleanup at Pasco County's border with the city of New Port Richey. City officials have complained that blight and crime from the county neighborhood spill over to the Southgate Plaza, a retailing district in the city.

Poliandro appeared before commissioners in August and successfully argued for a one-month delay in a board decision, even though a county inspector said his mobile homes showed no evidence of workable plumbing or electrical service and were fire hazards. The cost of repairing the buildings exceeds the value of the structures, county building official Stephen Tetlak told commissioners.

Poliandro said the buildings do have working plumbing and suggested the county buy him out if it wanted the structures removed. County records show he owns 13 properties on Leisure Lane and neighboring Van Doren Avenue.

"This is a slum, and I don't see why we're letting it stay,'' Commissioner Kathryn Starkey said last month in voting against the delay.

On Tuesday, Poliandro didn't dispute the county's condemnation order at 5527 Leisure, which he said was a trailer built in 1955. He challenged the ruling at 5519 Leisure, but offered no plan to bring the structure up to code. Instead, he suggested that the county building and community development departments collude against property owners by offering vague and confusing evidence, and he said a prior sheriff's administration was to blame for the area's criminal activity.

Commissioners didn't bite on his conspiracy theories, and gave Poliandro 45 days to tear down or remove the structure, which included an illegal addition to a mobile home in a flood zone. Tetlak said the home had an incomplete kitchen and an unsanitary bathroom. Neither of Poliandro's homes were occupied at the time the county condemned them in February.

Commissioners also followed Tetlak's recommendations to stay the planned demolition of homes at 12813 Teakwood Lane in Beacon Woods in Hudson and at 2853 Raven Drive in Colonial Hills in Holiday after owners presented plans to rehabilitate the structures.

Commissioner Jack Mariano, who lives in Beacon Woods, voted against the repair plan for the Teakwood house, saying the unstable ground beneath it posed a danger.

"I don't want a collapse coming down the road,'' Mariano said.

County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder, however, said the commission had no legal reason to demolish the house because there was no geo-technical evidence to contradict the suitability of the owner's repair plan.

Comments
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is pushing back against a social media post implying that a combat-wounded New Port Richey veteran has a Nazi symbol tattooed on his arm.In a tweet Monday afternoon, ICE officials denied the vete...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Pinellas protesters: Stop separating families at the border

Pinellas protesters: Stop separating families at the border

Protests were held on both ends of Pinellas County on Monday in opposition to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents as they seek asylum at the U.S. border."Children are not pawns," "No kids in cages" and "I would...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Two people drowned and another suffered life-threatening injuries in the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.Investigators said all three cases appear to be accidents, but the incidents stand as a reminder that summer, with vacation ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer. Rent-A-...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest ri...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

SEMINOLE — She was 22 when deputies said a man forced her at knifepoint into the woods off Seminole Boulevard and sexually battered her in February 1987.The case went cold, but now the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested the man it ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

TAMPA — Iceland isn't what it used to be. Literally. The Nordic island country is shrinking, what with global warming. Iceland's glaciers are getting smaller. If you took all that ice and laid it end to end, well, you clearly have nothing bette...
Updated: 9 hours ago