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Northeast News

Temple Terrace board denies request to reduce $93,000 code enforcement fine


Published:   |   Updated: June 11, 2013 at 04:13 PM

TEMPLE TERRACE - William Holland is running out of options in his quest to persuade city officials to reduce a $93,400 bill for a 2007 code enforcement violation.

Last week the Temple Terrace Municipal Code Enforcement Board declined to consider Holland's request for a new lien reduction hearing. Board members cited a judge's ruling that granted the city a summary judgement of foreclosure against him.

Holland has spent the past six years in a legal battle with city officials over a code enforcement violation that began as a complaint about exposed wood on the roof of his Willowick Avenue house. The violation was corrected in 2009 but the legal fight waged on.

In the latest action, municipal code enforcement board members denied Holland's request on the advice of their attorney.

The board voted to confirm that the panel no longer has jurisdiction to consider the matter following a ruling by Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Levens.

On May 6, Levens ruled Holland would be required to pay more than $93,000 to cover the principal of the lien and added interest fees.

After the code enforcement board meeting, Holland, an attorney with a law office in Ybor City, said he planned to press on. He was preparing to consult with his attorneys, Luke Lirot and David Smith, on how to proceed.

"Stay tuned. This is just round one," Holland's wife, Katherine, said.

Smith and Lirot said they don't believe the code enforcement board is prohibited from agreeing to hear their client's request for a new lien reduction.

Holland's house was built in 1926 and is considered one of the city's oldest.

He said he hired a roofing contractor in 2007 to perform repairs but before the job could be completed, Holland was hit with a complaint for exposed wood.

The code enforcement board later found Holland in violation of the city code. After a grace period, the board ordered a daily $100 fine and the costs mounted.

In 2010, the Temple Terrace City Council granted a reduction of the lien from $77,800 to $36,000 on the condition the reduced amount be paid in full within 30 days.

Holland did not pay the reduced amount in the allotted time and the lien reverted to its original amount.

Holland has long contended the municipal code enforcement board did not have standing to impose the code enforcement fines.

Holland said state statutes and the city code require a city the size of Temple Terrace to have a seven-member board and a quorum of 4 members to exercise code enforcement power, which he said was not enforced in his case.

Holland wants the panel to correct its orders and rulings under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedures, he said.

Code enforcement board member Rick Gibson also chided Holland about showing up at his house uninvited to deliver a 96 page report the day before the hearing.

"I do not feel that is appropriate," Gibson said, adding that the intrusion frightened his wife.

kknight@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7413

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