Children playing in Damaged House on Dune

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Paula, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,747
    Likes Received:
    221
    Location:
    Michigan but someday in SoWal as well
    I saw some young kids (preteens/early teens) playing in and under a very damaged house that was hanging over a dune. Are home owners required to take down/fix their houses that are hanging dangerously over the dunes or can they leave them there? Can the county require someone to remove their house if it's a danger to others? This house is way beyond repair. Is there a particular official that I should contact to let them know?
     
  2. John R

    John R needs to get out more

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    6,772
    Likes Received:
    806
    Location:
    Conflictinator
    i think a call to either the building dept. or the health dept. would get you to the right people.

    jr
     
  3. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Messages:
    31,648
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    Paula, you mean like these two homes in Blue Mtn Bch, one with 4 cinder blocks hanging from a wire for over 6 months?
     
  4. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,747
    Likes Received:
    221
    Location:
    Michigan but someday in SoWal as well
    Thanks, JR and SJ. It's at Seacrest Beach (used to be a ranch house) before you get to the Alys Beach area (about 1/2 mile before you get to Alys Beach if you're coming from Seagrove). But it looks like the photos you showed and imagine kids fooling around in there. Scary. Not only are the kids at risk (I'm assuming they weren't the only people who decided to crawl around in the house so far) but it must be a major liability for the owner if anyone gets hurt.
     
  5. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Messages:
    31,648
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    They may be trying to get rid of their GF home, and that sounds like one way to do so.
     
  6. Cork On the Ocean

    Cork On the Ocean directionally challenged

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    Messages:
    2,452
    Likes Received:
    76
    Location:
    Seacrest Beach
    I'd call code enforcement Kevin Harkevin 850-267-1955.
     
  7. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,504
    Likes Received:
    731
    Location:
    Bluewater Bay, FL
    The county definitely can require the owner to remove an unrepairable house. Last November, a family friend got exactly that sort of letter from Walton County telling her that her totaled home on the north shore of Choctaw Bay had to be demolished in 30 days, or the county would do it for her, and place a hella lien against the property to pay for that service. (she had been having a really hard time finding a properly licensed demo company, and had even asked the fire department to burn it down, but they couldn't because they couldn't do a safeproper hazmat sweep beforehand. She finally found a demo company about a week before the county deadline)
     
  8. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,747
    Likes Received:
    221
    Location:
    Michigan but someday in SoWal as well
    Thanks everyone for the information. The guy who owns the home has had some real troubles other than the home lately, but that shouldn't result in a child (or anyone) getting hurt. And, of course, if someone gets hurt it makes it worse for him as well. So, I'll definitely follow-up. The home is unrepairable and simply a hazard. It was built so long ago that the cost of removing it is probably a very smart part of what the property itself is worth, so finances shouldn't really be a big problem (relatively speaking, of course).

    This could be one of those situations where everyone is thinking someone else is taking care of the problem, so no one is taking care of it!
     
  9. GoodWitch58

    GoodWitch58 Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Messages:
    4,816
    Likes Received:
    1,921
    It might be a good idea just to call the cops...might get faster response than calling a code enforcement. Especially might get the kids out of harms way or at least notify their parents they were in harms way.
     
  10. Allifunn

    Allifunn FunnChef - AlisonCooks.com

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Messages:
    13,638
    Likes Received:
    283
    Location:
    St Petersburg
    [​IMG] is this you goodwitch?? I love Glinda!! sorry for the tangent...I just could not resist!
     
  11. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,747
    Likes Received:
    221
    Location:
    Michigan but someday in SoWal as well
    I agree that would have been wise to do at the time. Just didn't think of it then but will in the future. And two of us on this board called code enforcement yesterday thanks to this board so let's hope the house gets taken down soon -- ideally before the summer vacationers come.
     
  12. DBOldford

    DBOldford Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    990
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Napa Valley, CA
    By the time a typical code enforcement officer gets to the site, the trespassers are long gone. These code enforcement officers have a backlog of complaints and violations equal to years of workload sometimes. The more timely thing is to call the Sheriff and report a trespassing, one where the safety of minors is at risk. They will usually "blue-light" it right out there and take the kids home to their parents, with a stern warning.

    Paula, I have had the same question about some properties in our area. They were red-tagged for awhile, but now appear uninhabited but still standing. In other words, no longer condemned for some reason, but still dangerous. I have also seen kids climbing the dunes up towards the houses. On occasion, I have approached the kids and warned them off the dunes by explaining that the dunes are environmentally sensitive. Most of these children have been very cooperative and courteous. They know about environmental issues from school. And Southern children are usually taught respect for their elders. If we did this in CA, the likely response would be a lively demonstration of the CA State bird!

    Parents would thank you, I would hope.
     
  13. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,747
    Likes Received:
    221
    Location:
    Michigan but someday in SoWal as well
    Thanks, Donna. I hope these houses hanging over dunes don't end up staying like that until a child/adult gets hurt or killed and then action is taken to condemn them and tear them down. In the meantime, we'll keep our eyes open and talk to parents/kids who may be too near these places. I'd stay as far away from them as possible. And there are several of them along 30A (I'm quite the safety queen so I tend to notice these things!).
     
  14. John

    John Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    398
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    SoWal
    I suspect that these houses are not torn down immediately because they may not get approval to build a new structure in the exact location (on top of dune). However, if you "rebuild", then you are grandfathered in and are OK regarding location of structure.

    For those that know these things, is my theory correct?
     
  15. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Messages:
    31,648
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    I think you mean "repair," eh?
     
  16. John

    John Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    398
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    SoWal
    Yes, "repair" is what I meant.
     
  17. Camp Creek Kid

    Camp Creek Kid Christini Zambini

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    106
    Location:
    Seacrest Beach

    This is not the case with this house. It was damaged during Ivan and has been neglected since then. Dennis undermined the foundation, tore off the side facing the gulf and now the house is literally falling onto the beach. Part of the roof finally collapsed this week.

    There is no possible way that this house could be rebuilt in the same location.

    Paula, I feel foolish about not taking more action on this situation. Thanks and let me know if we can help.
     
  18. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,747
    Likes Received:
    221
    Location:
    Michigan but someday in SoWal as well

    CCK:
    I'm sure we all do the same thing -- I figured someone must be doing something about it. So far, two of us have called the number listed in a previous post on this thread and mentioned it, so it would probably help if you did so as well. If nothing seems done within a month, since you're there you'll notice and could call to see what actions have been taken. I'll be there in early May and can call again if no action has been taken.

    I'm sure the same problem with these collapsing houses is taking place in several places along 30A. They're interesting to look at and give us an interesting perspective on the power of mother nature, but they are now getting undermined to the point where they are dangerous and there will be many, many children and teenagers exploring the beaches from now through August.

    Thanks for follow-up CCK!
     
  19. Camp Creek Kid

    Camp Creek Kid Christini Zambini

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    106
    Location:
    Seacrest Beach
    We'll do what we can--I think Mr. CCK knows the right people AND he has a backhoe ;-) .
     
  20. DBOldford

    DBOldford Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    990
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Napa Valley, CA
    Many of these houses are what planners call legal nonconforming, meaning they could not be approved under the current zoning and other regulations. This status means the structures can remain indefinitely in their existing "footprint," but cannot be enlarged and sometimes they cannot be moved. If the house is destroyed (for any reason), it can be rebuilt in that footprint. There is an assumption with such structures and uses that eventually they will cease to exist and the underlying land will then be developed only under the current ordinances and regulations. If the structure or use is abandoned for a continuous period of time (usually six months), then the legal nonconforming status is lost and cannot be re-established.

    Legal nonconforming properties should always have an accurate survey so that the footprint and size of the structure is well defined in an official document. Without a survey or an existing structure, it can be difficult to prove the "footprint." Many planners claim they have never seen a request for legal nonconforming status that actually meets the burden of proof, which can be quite cumbersome. A survey would be the solution, not that expensive and could save the owners a lot of delay and cost should they reconstruct.

    I am currently working on establishing a legal nonconforming status for a vineyard house whose owner has lived in it her entire life of 80+ years. In the end, the only evidence the County would accept was a piece of stone from the original foundation that just happened to be date impressioned 1939. which means it predates the County zoning. Without recognition of this status, the house would have to be demolished and she would have been unable to live on her ancestral property.

    And doesn't that just make you want to be a planner? :roll:
     

Share This Page