More violations found at Sunpiper homes
By LORRI HELFAND
Published August 15, 2006
LARGO - City inspectors last week returned to the Sunpiper Mobile Home Park, finding 150 moderate to serious violations in 13 rental units and other structures, according to city officials.
Inspectors found that some units were missing major portions of their floors and had exposed wires, city Building Official Mike Sizemore said. None were properly secured with hurricane tie-down straps, he said.
The city obtained a search warrant and inspected the property at 1760 Clearwater-Largo Road on Aug. 8 after inspectors were denied access to vacant units on July 26.
Despite having limited access on July 26, Largo issued more than 30 violation notices and 15 homes were posted as uninhabitable.
Officials said the park office and laundry room had several moderate violations last week, including work performed without permits and by unlicensed contractors. Sewage and electrical issues were resolved in two of the 15 homes previously classified as uninhabitable.
During last week's inspection, the city again posted signs on 13 units indicating that the homes were uninhabitable. City officials said Sunpiper employees removed the previous postings and that park owners received violation notices for doing so.
Park owner Key Largo Communities can pay an $88 fine for each of the violation notices or ask for a hearing with a Pinellas County judge, Sizemore said.
Attorney Mike Rodriguez, who represents Key Largo Communities, said the city was unfairly harassing his clients. He also denied that Sunpiper staff removed the signs.
"Largo had no business being there," Rodriguez said. "It's not part of Largo."
City officials say the park was legally annexed over a year ago.
Rodriguez said he's preparing to file 10 to 30 lawsuits against Largo and city officials, including suits for declaratory judgment and violation of civil rights.
On July 26, the park owner filed an injunction seeking to prohibit Largo from future enforcement actions at the Sunpiper. At an emergency hearing, the judge determined that the matter was not an emergency and referred it to a regularly assigned judge.
[Last modified August 15, 2006, 07:07:06]
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