News Section: Local Government
Willowbrook Residents Return To BOCC in Plea for Help
BRADENTON -- Representatives from KB Homes say they "want to fix the problem," so much that they sent George Glance, president of KB Homes Central Florida, to respond to the Manatee County Commissioners at Thursday's meeting (click here for full agenda results). The problem is, the homes of Willowbrook residents are sick with chronic mold, saturated walls, falling porches, wet electrical boxes and holes in the floor. For some, this product liability struggle has been going on for over five years, and they all say, enough is enough.
When the Willowbrook residents left the BOCC Chambers almost two weeks ago, most thought the next meeting would provide some answers. Glance stood at the podium telling commissioners how committed KB is to all of their customers. He said KB "stands behind their product" and always have -- but not enough to buy any of them back. And that's just what a growing number of owners are asking for, as residents continue to get sick, which they say is a result of living in the substandard environs.
One after another, residents told the commission they have been tired of the many "band aids" KB has used, not to fix, but to merely cover-up the problem. Many have left their home open to contractors who sometimes never finish the job, leaving drop cloths, ladders around for weeks and as much damage as they came to fix.
Glance claims he has just recently found about the problems, but those that came to the BOCC strongly disagree. Many residents have had websites that have been set up for years, and have emails that go back even further, revealing pictures and testimonies. of their experiences.
Over 60 homeowners have filed complaints, and over half of them have had their houses deemed unsafe, boarded up and some have even had their porch fall right off of the house and onto the home below. One of the requests residents have suggested is a "lemon law" for houses.
Commissioners again provided little to no resolve for the group. After an hour of discussion, the board did move the problem up to the Osprey room on the administration building's 4th floor where Glance and residents could try and hash out their differences. Glance wouldn't respond to the press other than by saying "We are committed" and "They are going to have let workers in" to do the repairs.
Glance is referring to some of the residents whom have quit playing the cat and mouse game, "KB follies," that only gives the appearance of cooperation. Some residents have been forced to move out and abandon what is an unsellable house, taking a hit on both their credit scores and pocketbooks.
When everyone got up to the Osprey room, Glance asked the press to leave, saying, "This is a private meeting." What the faces said on the dozen or more that still felt they were at the mercy of KB, and a county commission that would seemingly rather wash their hands of the problem than attempt to seek a real solution was, enough is enough.
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