KB Home to pay for relocation of Willowbrook residents, Galvano says

skennedy@bradenton.comFebruary 14, 2013 

MANATEE -- KB Home has agreed to pay for relocating Willowbrook homeowners whose properties require invasive repairs, state Sen. Bill Galvano said Thursday.

The construction company has also agreed to pay for any interior repairs necessary as a result of exterior reconstruction underway at the 272-unit East Manatee complex, where serious building deficiencies have plagued homeowners, according to a news release issued by the office of Galvano, R-Bradenton.

The company has also agreed to pay for mold assessments for any homeowner that wants one, and if remediation is needed, it will pay for that, too, said Galvano later in a phone interview.

"My main concern is the safety issue there," said Galvano. "Anyone concerned should have the assessment done."

Mold assessments will be performed by an independent company, said Galvano, who met last week with George Glance, president of KB Home's Central Florida operations.

KB Home spokeswoman Cara Kane said, "Sen. Galvano's release provided a great summary and update on our meeting, so we have no additional response."

After discussing problems

he saw at Willowbrook with Florida Surgeon General John H. Armstrong, Galvano said the state health department is still considering its options.

"What I've discovered is that there may be some gaps in the way our Department of Health is working with other agencies in terms of being able to mobilize a health assessment," Galvano said.

With mold assessments readily available, the matter would be easier to address, Galvano said.

Asked about details of his meeting with Glance, Galvano said, "The company acknowledges mistakes in construction and it is committed to rectifying those errors."

During a tour of the complex earlier this month, some homeowners told Galvano that their homes were under repair, but that the company had turned down pleas for relocation.

Ashley Delph, of the 7300 block of Black Walnut Way, said her whole balcony was black with mold due to water intrusion. She asked to be moved while it was fixed, but the company turned down her request, she told Galvano.

"It's not acceptable," she said.

On Thursday, when asked if he might reapply for relocation, her husband, Otto Delph, said, "We haven't heard anything about it, we haven't had a chance to think about it yet."

Homeowner Dan Koehler, who has already received results of a mold assessment he paid for himself, said his 19-month-old baby has been growing up in a unit with at least two types of mold.

However, since the company has not yet begun repairs on his home, he wondered if his request for relocation would be honored.

"If they put us in this situation, they need to put us up in alternate housing to get us out of there temporarily," he said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.

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