Thursday, September 30, 2004
That's Just Wrong: Home Addition Problem
Tonight and every Thursday, we continue to look into issues directly effecting your community. This time, imagine wanting to fix your house up, then living with unfinished construction for four years. That's what one Miami man is facing and now he and his neighbors are claiming that's just wrong.
(WSVN) -- Nestled on this tree-lined street near Miami's civic center is the neighborhood of Spring Garden.
More than a decade ago, Roger Snell decided to start a new life here after a motorcycle accident left him quadraplegic.
Roger Snell: "This house was empty and had been empty for eight years."
Determined not to burden his family or the system, Roger applied five years ago for the City of Miami's new community development block grant.
The money would allow him to add another bedroom and bathroom so he could hire a nurse or aide.
Roger: "So this is it, this is where I'd hoped my bedroom would be."
But four years after breaking ground, this is what his addition looks like -- cinder block walls, concrete floors and an uneven handicapped ramp.
Roger: "What do I want, I want a bedroom that has a floor. I want a ceiling. I don't want concrete jutting into the room, I want windows that work and that are secure."
Jim Broton: "I don't understand why the city just doesn't do the right thing for Roger."
Tamme Flood: "I said who can help us, so we called you."
It was his neighbors, not roger, who called us, saying this is just wrong. Roger says part of the reason for this unfinished construction is that contractors, hired by the City of Miami, never did the job right.
But city officials says they're not the only ones to blame.
Department of Community Development Director Barbara Gomez-Rodriguez: "In the case of Roger he did select two prior contractors he did give his approval to pay them and later on he determined that he was not satisfied with the work."
Barbara Gomez-Rodriguez runs Miami's Department of Community Development -- a post she's had for two years.
In roger's case, gomez-rodriguez acknowledges a change in administration may also be to blame.
As a result, the city is now offering roger more money to fix his addition if he tacks it on as a second mortgage or if he keep the same mortgage and cuts construction costs.
Barbara Gomez-Rodriguez: "We want to fix Roger's house, we want him to be comfortable and if we have to demolish anything of the past we're willing to do that, but I think we need to meet halfway."
But unfortunately, construction is now on hold and so are negotiations. Roger and the city fail to see eye to eye.
So for now, his wish will have to wait.
Roger: "Honor the original committment and let's repair it, let me live peacefully."
Late word tonight that the city and roger have started talking again, and are very close to signing an agreement.
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