Almost seven months ago, on September 27, 2018, a City of Vero Beach (COVB) Trash Truck ran into the Southeast corner of the garage attached to 2734 Cardinal Drive in the Central Beach area of Vero.
This accident irreparably damaged the garage at 2734 AND the carport (they are structurally attached) of 2732 Cardinal Drive. The driver for the COVB was cited for Careless Driving. It is now the end of April with no resolution to repair the damage.
Since that day, the garage, the carport and both back entrances to these two properties have been unusable, dangerous, cited for multiple code violations by both Indian River County & the COVB, and it is an unsightly eyesore.
The only physical action COVB has taken was to place a 2 by 6 stud to keep the carport roof from collapsing and placing yellow caution tape and warning signs in an attempt to mitigate further liability. Today, the stud remains. The caution tape is tattered and ripped from the elements. The structures have further shifted and cracked becoming more dangerous. And a large part of both properties have been unusable for almost seven months.
Unusable due to no fault of either owner nor tenants. Multiple complaints by neighbors. Unable to rent the property. No opportunity to generate seasonal rental income. Unable to sell the property.
Initially the COVB’s insurer sent a claims adjuster out whose estimate to repair the damages was unrealistically low, did not cover demolition nor haul-away and insultingly depreciated all items.
$7,548.80 offered by COVB Insurer.
Neither property owner accepted the offer and have spent countless hours and months of their own time contacting local contractors for bids (all of which are markedly higher). Each time their bids were submitted to the insurer, the insurer demanded more detailed bids and exact amounts that cannot be predicted prior to an engineering assessment and until site demolition and repair are underway. As you can see, this is NOT a simple repair. Nor should the burden be on the property owners.
The lack of an immediate and realistic resolution and repair to this damage by the COVB and it’s insurer “is unacceptable, according to the homeowner. The process since September of last year has been a complete run-around and incredibly frustrating.”
The owners have had multiple communication attempts via phone and/or email, to resolve the situation, with the Insurance Claims Rep; COVB’s: Monte Falls, Jim O’Connor (pre-retirement), the Director of Risk Management, (then) Mayor Henry Howle, Council Members, Val Zudans, Laura Moss, Tony Young AND IRC’s Building Division that have not changed the situation.
More recently the property owners received a Code Enforcement Warning Citation from the VB Police Department with a deadline of May 3, 2019 to fix the damage the CITY CREATED or face further violations and possible daily fines. Did the COVB Police Department even realize there is a Florida Traffic Crash Report filed by one of their own officers citing the COVB Trash Truck driver for causing the accident?
“Is this latest attempt to punish the property owners for destruction and damage caused by the COVB a bully attempt to get the Insurer’s low-ball estimate accepted? No one should be pushed to sign an unacceptable solution under duress. Enough of this duress. COVB, fix the problem you created, they said.”