Better Call Behnken: Lakewood Ridge Townhomes, county in dispute over overgrown lot

BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – A Brandon neighborhood is dealing with an overgrown lot, and no one, not even Hillsborough County government, can tell them for sure who is responsible for cleaning it up.

Catherine Bennett moved into Lakewood Ridge Estates about six months ago. She called the county’s code enforcement about the overgrown lot. People have started to dump trash, including old tires, and Bennett is tired of looking at the mess.

“They said it was absolutely a nuisance and that it needs to be mowed and that a violation needs to be issued,” Bennett said of code enforcement’s reaction.

That sounded like a simple fix, but that violation started a neighborhood battle. Code enforcement cited the the town home community behind Bennett’s development, Lakewood Ridge Townhomes, saying they own the land.

The town home community fought back, saying the land is owned by the county. (Even county maps would indicate that.)

The county then agreed at first and said they would clean it up. But they never did.

That is when Bennett called Better Call Behnken.

County officials say the only thing they are now sure of is that the land is not the responsibility of the county. Rob Suess oversees Public Works at the county and says the land is in limbo.

According to Suess, a land developer was supposed to turn the land into a road. At that time, the county would maintain it. However, that never happened.

Suess said the county will continue to research the issue, but for now, the HOA at Lakewood Ridge Estates has the option to mow the land. If not, the land could go back to what Suess called its “natural state.”

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