EAST COUNTY — With her 17-month-old daughter, Haley, propped on her hip, Ashley Delph ushered Sen. Bill Galvano into her kitchen, where sheets of plywood replaced what used to be a back wall leading to the home’s balcony.
Repair work by DueAll Construction has been under way since early December, and Delph said she doesn’t know when work will be completed. Delph fears the boarded-up walls pose a safety concern, because she’s not sure how well the boards are secured, and the constant, daily hammering is interrupting her daughter’s twice-daily naps.
“I can’t say, ‘It’s going to be up for this long,’” Delph said. “It’d be easier to handle if I knew (the timeline).”
Delph admitted she’s thankful to see structural and other construction-related problems being corrected in her Willowbrook community, but the situation still frustrating her.
“I feel very comfortable with what (DueAll is) doing,” she said. “I feel KB (Homes) is going to encourage them to take shortcuts, and that makes me nervous.”
Galvano made his first official visit to the East County’s Willowbrook community Feb. 1, at which time he toured several homes either awaiting or undergoing repairs.
“There’s a real problem here,” Galvano said, after touring homes. “It’s not a single building or a single issue. I’m concerned about residents here, by my lay (person)-eye, living in unsafe conditions.”
In August, a group of homeowners in Willowbrook began putting public pressure on the community’s developer, KB Homes, to correct structural and other issues, which were causing water to leak into homes, among other problems. Willowbrook’s homeowners association worked out a confidential settlement agreement with KB in September; they jointly selected DueAll to complete work.
Galvano said he planned to meet with KB Homes executives this week, and he also planned to speak with the surgeon general about health-and-safety issues he saw during his visit. Additionally, he has requested information related to Willowbrook from other state agencies and expects to hear back from them this week. He said he planned to provide an update to residents by Friday.
“I have a list of questions growing in my mind and then we’ll figure out if there’s something my office can do,” he said.
Galvano’s predecessor, former Sen. Mike Bennett, had begun addressing issues in Willowbrook before he left office. Residents of Willowbrook met Galvano during an early-morning breakfast he hosted Jan. 14, in Lakewood Ranch.
Homeowners are lobbying to establish a lemon law for housing.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].