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Woman's untidiness leads to legal wrangle

By TERESA BURNEY

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 9, 1999


A professor of civil engineering, who for 14 years defied demands that she clean up her garbage-filled house in Orange County, recently was sentenced to three months in jail, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The standoff gained national attention earlier this year when it was featuredon a CBS 48 Hours program about feuding neighbors. Legal experts said the jail sentence marks a path of last resort for code enforcement officials who can't get a homeowner to comply with regulations.

The woman can stay out of jail by repairing substandard plumbing, removing piles of trash, and unhooking overloaded extension cords by Feb. 4. She also was fined $200, ordered to have an psychiatric evaluation and will be on probation for three years.

Pulte puts on traditional look

Pulte Homes, an active home-builder in this area, has jumped on the "Traditional Community" bandwagon. The huge company is hoping to build a 1,440-home development in West Kendall in South Florida where shops, homes, offices and parks would be near enough to each other so that residents could walk to work and school. The builder faces obstacles in local zoning codes, which prevent mixing such different land uses. Such developments are becoming the rage, with Disney's Celebration and Seaside in the Panhandle leading the charge. Several of the developments are in this area, including Westchase in North Hillsborough and Silver Oaks Village in Zephyrhills.

Head here for affordable housing

The Augusta, Ga.-Aiken, S.C., area ousted Kokomo, Ind., from its position as the country's most affordable housing market in the third quarter of last year, according to the National Association of Home Builders. There, nearly 95 percent of the homes are affordable to people who make the median income. Kokomo could regain its title, since it was excluded from the ranking during the third quarter because there were too few real estate transactions to fairly rank it. In Augusta-Aiken, 94.6 percent of the homes sold in the quarter were affordable for the median-income household. San Francisco was the most expensive housing market, once again. In that bay area, less than 20 percent of the homes are affordable to a family that makes a median income. The Tampa Bay area remains more affordable than average, with about 74 percent of the homes affordable to a family of median income. It ranked 63 on the list of 187 areas.

Clarification

Although Keller Williams Gulf Coast Realty does not charge an extra fee, in addition to a commission, to buyers and sellers of homes, some other Keller Williams offices do. A story in the Real Estate/Classified section on Jan. 2 indicated otherwise.

HOME BUYER U

n Free help for new home buyers is available from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Jan. 19 at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg. The seminar, sponsored by the Community Service Foundation, will cover all aspects of home buying, from choosing a Realtor to signing closing documents. Call (727) 461-0618 for information. n Families can gather tips on how to budget to save money for a home at classes offered by the Community Service Foundation. The classes are scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Clearwater YWCA, 222 S Lincoln Ave., Clearwater. For registration, call (727) 461-0618.

n Free classes for those who own fixer-upper properties, as well as those who want to buy a house, are offered from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 28870 U.S. 19 N, Suite 300, Clearwater, on the third Wednesday of each month by Lyon Mortgage & Investment Co. Information about various government loan programs, including those available to finance home fix-ups, will be covered. Call (727) 725-8250 to register.

n Evening seminars for home buyers are offered from 7 to 9 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 9306 U.S. 19, Port Richey, across from Gulf View Square Mall. The classes, sponsored by Kur-Lin Mortgage Services, will include information on home buyer assistance programs offered in Pasco County. For information, call (727) 847-5710.

n A workshop covering prequalifying for a mortgage, choosing a real estate agent, evaluating credit and understanding the basics of obtaining financing is offered by Allstate Mortgage & Loan from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays at 25400 U.S. 19 N, Suite 263, Clearwater. For information, call (800) 701-1186.

n Owners Equity Mortgage Corp. offers free workshops and seminars for applicants with down payment and credit problems from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. weekdays at 101 E Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs. The classes, which are geared toward first-time home buyers with low to moderate incomes, will cover all phases of home buying. For information, call (727) 942-6406 or (727) 938-6583.

n American Home Mortgage and First American Title offer "How to Buy Your First Home," which includes information on credit reports, qualifying for a mortgage and down-payment assistance. Sessions are from 7 to 8 p.m. the second and last Tuesdays of each month. Call (727) 446-2911 for reservations and locations in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

n Free workshops, presented by Buccaneer Mortgage and Brophy Real Estate in St. Petersburg and Seminole, are offered from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the first and last Tuesdays of each month. For information or reservations, call (727) 898-2827 or (727) 522-6666.

Send items to Real Estate, c/o Teresa Burney, the Times, 1000 N Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602. Deadline is 10 days before publication.

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