Homosassa home set for demolition

County officials say this house in Homosassa is unsafe and should be demolished.

The house at 5505 S. Magnolia Ave. in Homosassa wasn’t the only one damaged during Hurricane Hermine in 2016.

But it’s the only one Amy Kelley and her husband, David Maki, care about.

The house, with windows boarded and a sagging tarp-covered roof, is scheduled for demolition if the owner doesn’t appeal a code compliance ruling by May 28.

Kelley said she’ll believe it when she sees it.

“I don’t feel confident because that’s what they told us last time,” she said. “They told us it was coming down and it didn’t.”

Kelley is referring to the county’s decision a year ago to demolish the house. Instead, records show, the county gave homeowner Wallace Griggs time to either appeal or secure the house, with no deadline.

Griggs, a former Citrus County Sheriff’s deputy who has lived in Louisiana for three years, said in an interview he realizes the house needs to be demolished.

“I was trying to wait until my financial condition improved to take the house down and make everybody happy,” he said.

Kelley and Maki moved in next door three years ago, after Hermine flooded much of coastal Citrus County in September 2016.

The Griggs house was vacant, they said, and stayed that way until Griggs’ daughter moved in early in 2019 and stayed for several months without electricity or running water. Kelley said she complained about the home’s condition in January 2019 to Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr., who asked the county staff to investigate, reports show.

Code inspectors immediately determined the house was unsafe structurally. In March 2019, the county gave a date for demolition: May 21, 2019.

Nothing, however, was done on the property. According to the case file, the county didn’t notify Griggs of the demolition order until Aug. 8, and he responded by saying he would appeal.

Griggs called back later that month, saying he had removed his daughter from the property and asked if the county would hold off the demolition process if he secured the property.

The county said yes. Officials “told him that as long as he professionally secures the property and makes sure it stays that way, we would hold off on our demo process until Mr. Griggs could demo the property himself,” the case notes from Aug. 27, 2019 read.

In late October, Maki called code compliance to say someone had been breaking into the home. A code inspection showed windows broken, not boarded up, or covered up with cardboard. The county sent an email to Griggs saying the house needed to be “professionally secured” or it would be demolished.

In December, Griggs told the county he had boarded up the windows, which an inspection confirmed.

In April, Kelley and Maki asked Citrus County Mosquito Control to inspect the property. Mosquito Control alerted the county there was standing water inside the house and mosquitoes were breeding, county records show.

Code director Scott McKinney then ordered the house demolished, and that’s where it stands today. If Griggs doesn’t appeal by Wednesday, May 27, a contractor hired by the county will demolish the home and the costs to do that will go on Griggs’s property tax bill.

Griggs said he takes full responsibility for the house, which he has owned since 1994.

“If they tear it down, that’s fine. That’s what I’ll have to live with,” he said. “I’ll be stuck with a bill that I could have done cheaper.”

Kelley said she doesn’t care who shows up with the bulldozer, saying: “I just want that house down.”

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.