CAPE CORAL, Fla - A Cape Coral community is ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations.
The Florida Department of Health says the pool area and hot tubs at Rose Garden Villas are out of code. Now, the cost of repairs could force some residents out.
To pay for the renovations, residents will each have to pay a one-time assessment of $8,100 dollars. It's too much for some of the residents here on a fixed income.
"I know a couple people who won't be able to make the assessments," said Darlene Viebrock, a resident at Rose Garden Villas, which is located near Tarpon Point Marina in southwest Cape Coral.
Viebrock and her friend Alice Hays are two of the many residents at Rose Garden Villas who are worried. "It's very frustrating," Alice Hays said. The frustrations stem from their pools and hot tubs, which at first glance appear fine.
"We tell people what's going on and their like, "what's wrong with the pools?"," Viebrock said. But the Florida Department of Health says the pools and hot tubs are out of code for commercial use. The code changed earlier this year.The pool can't be grandfathered in because the original builders didn't have the proper permitting.
Now, the pools are considered not wide enough, among other code infractions. The Florida Department of Health told the condo manager updates need to be made immediately. Chad Van Tilburg, the property manager, says "It doesn't look like there's anyway out of the situation."
The situation is bad for some residents. The cost to bring the pool and hot tubs up to code will be around $300 thousand dollars. Van Tilburg says this means residents will have to pay $8,100 dollars more in assessments. As a result, some may be forced to leave.
"They will no longer be able to make maintenance fee payments and they'll walk away from their homes all together," he said. The residents have written to the Department of Health and local lawmakers asking for more time.
"Rules are rules and codes are code. We all know that. If we could just extend it," Viebrock said. Residents are pushing for a delay so they can accumulate some of the money up front. That way, their assessment fees won't be so high and people won't be forced to move.