Seminole County to demolish house deemed public nuisance

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Seminole County plans to demolish a house that neighbors call an eyesore, and the county labeled a public nuisance.

A county spokesperson confirmed Tuesday the demolition permit was approved this week.


Commissioners gave the owners of the 120 South Crystal View until May 9 to fix the property-- or else the county would demolish it.

Tuesday marks two months since that deadline passed.

Channel 9 visited the property to see its condition. There’s been little to no change our crew visited the property earlier this year. Debris is still in the front yard. A tarp is over most of the roof. The windows and doors are boarded up.

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The property faces a serene view of Crystal Lake and surround by well-kept houses in the neighborhood.

Neighbors have spoken to Channel 9 and in front of commissioners in recent months about how this house sticks out like a sore thumb.

“There was no upkeep or maintenance,” said Josue Martinez, who’s lived next door for the past five years.

“It’s rat infested. It’s by definition a nuisance. It has been a nuisance to me and my neighbors,” Robert Lundquist told commissioners in April.

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Neighbors and the county say it’s been more than just an eyesore to them, but a public safety concern.

“The number of calls to that address for service is astronomical,” Commissioner Amy Lockhart said in a Board of Commissioners meeting in April.

Records reveal more than 160 calls to the address within three years. It includes calls of squatters, vandalism, alleged drug deals and a shooting last year. While responding to the shooting, deputies walked in to find the house in disrepair.

“It was condemned because it had no power and no water,” said Mary Baker.

One of the property owners, Mary Ellen Baker, told commissioners in April, she and her late brother inherited the property. She said she planned to renovate it. This is despite years of no upkeep to the property and more than $200,000 in liens.

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“You’d be surprised. It can be the best-looking house in the neighborhood. I have the finances behind me now. Just give me a chance,” Baker said.

She disagreed with the county’s decision to label it a public nuisance.

“I don’t even there’s a way you guys can tear it down,” Baker told commissioners.

The county gave the owners 30 days to take “corrective action”.

Two months has passed since that deadline and the property still is in disrepair.

Neighbors say they’ve waited years for this demolition.

No word from the county on when they plan to demolish the structure. A county spokesperson says the structure was “flagged” for asbestos. Once that’s resolved, the county will move forward in the process.

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