BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — It was a sight residents in a Florida community never thought they would see: a brand new home demolished to fix a builder’s mistake.
Builder Ashton Woods tore down the house in Bradenton after building it just 7 feet, 6 inches away from the neighbor’s home. Manatee County requires at least 12 feet between homes in this neighborhood.
“This is what needed to be done,” said Kirk Tcherneschoff, who lives right next door. “We have to follow rules, being a member of the HOA in here. The builder shouldn’t be able to skirt the rules.”
Manatee County officials didn’t catch the mistake until last November. Construction was ordered to halt, but the builder took no action, leaving the home to sit.
Neighbors were upset, worried about property values, privacy and fire safety concerns. Homes that are too close together pose a potential danger because if one home catches fire and is too close to another home, they could both go up in flames.
Ashton Woods demolished the home to resolve a nearly year-long dispute with residents.
The builder abruptly withdrew its application for a variance to continue building the home last week and showed up this week with a bulldozer.
Two weeks before the variance hearing, the builder decided to tear down the house instead and start over, building a new house farther away from the neighbor’s home.
Darryl Colwell, division manager for Ashton Woods, sent this statement:
“After further review, Ashton Woods voluntarily withdrew the variance request and chose to move forward with the re-site and re-start of construction on the home. The zoning requirements in the community are unique, resulting in multiple zoning and variance issues and with that, we chose to proceed with this solution. We are awaiting necessary approvals to move forward and do not have a set date for demolition at this time.”
It’s unclear when the new home will be built, but the land is now clear and ready for construction.
Neighbor Jerry Wilson said this is a win for the neighborhood and ultimately the builder will win, too, because they will have a more marketable home to sell.