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Work crews building ill will

Kevan Menke started the trend Monday. That's when he stretched tape between garbage cans across his driveway to keep the construction trucks in his neighborhood from using it as a convenient turnaround.

His neighbors on Waterford Landing Drive in Heritage Harbor were quick to follow suit. By midweek, four more homes had all manner of impediments in their driveways. Plastic patio chairs, recycling tubs, garbage cans, Day-Glo road cones, anything that would keep the visiting vans and trucks off their formerly white driveways.

The problem, while annoying in recent months, turned messy last week after county crews sprayed an oily sealant on all the roads in the development.

"That started Monday," Menke said. "It's this yellow goo they topped with sand. Now, it's getting all over the driveways, and we're just concerned about it."

Menke said construction workers' trucks leave unsightly tracks in the porous white concrete.

"These guys have trailers and they back almost up to your garage door and it leaves marks," he said. "I just got tired of seeing it. I saw a guy do it right in front of me. I said something to him and he said, "I'm sorry.' I said, "No, you're not, you just don't care.' "

County spokesman Steve Valdez said the sealant work was done Monday and needs two to three hours to soak in before it is advisable to drive on the roads.

But Waterford Landing resident Lesa Trittin said that didn't slow down the work crews.

"Monday morning, sure enough, the roads were empty," Trittin said. "But as soon as the guys were done with what they needed to do, the contractors were back out there doing three-point turns in our driveways and mucking them up."

Trittin said that despite the fact that Waterford Landing has a large, circular cul-de-sac at its end, the construction workers don't use it as often as they use neighbors' driveways.

"The driveways have tire treads all over the place and we don't even know if it's even removable," Trittin said.

Menke spent several hours with a powerful pressure washer trying to remove the stains Friday morning with varying degrees of success.

"Hopefully, the sun will do its thing and it'll go away," Menke said.

Valdez said that's likely what will happen.

"It cleans up, it wears off in time," said Valdez, adding that the sealant has been used in Carrollwood Village and the original Carrollwood with no adverse effects. The sealant is meant to extend the life of roads by as much as five years.

Construction crews _ subcontractors for U.S. Home _ have been in the neighborhood to work on two houses.

Tom Herman, director of customer care for U.S. Home, said it took company officials three days to learn about the sealant work, and that their understanding was that the stains would wash away.

Herman said the company put up "no parking" signs for homeowners who requested them. "And we were happy to do it. There have been several calls from customers out there, and we've reacted to those calls," Herman said.

Not that everyone is pleased with the results. "The finger-pointing and reckless disregard for the homeowners and families as they move to close homes is a new and interesting issue in the life and times of U.S. Home," Trittin said. "It's just ridiculous."

_ Logan D. Mabe can be reached at 269-5304 or at

Kevan Menke uses a pressure cleaner Friday in an attempt to remove stains from the driveway of his home in Heritage Harbor. He and other Waterford Landing Drive residents say construction trucks are ruining their driveways by using them as turnarounds.