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Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Temple Terrace looks to crack down on negligent homeowners

TEMPLE TERRACE — Residents in the River Run subdivision hoped their nightmare was over when a neighbor with a history of causing trouble pleaded guilty in May to a series of charges connected to his neighborhood antics.

Now, they are petitioning city leaders to condemn a house at 7806 River Ridge where Charles C. Adams II lived. Adams remains in the Hillsborough County Jail awaiting a transfer to Illinois to serve out his probation.

But city officials said they are limited on what they can do at this point because the owner has refused to give them permission to enter the house.

The city staff plans to make a recommendation to the Temple Terrace City Council to strengthen the code enforcement department’s ability to seek compliance, and to raise the minimum standards.

River Run residents have become regular audience members at Temple Terrace City Council and the city’s code enforcement board meetings.

They complain about a pungent odor they say is coming from inside the house and they say mold and mildew on the exterior walls are responsible for their recent health problems.

“We are in fear of our health,” said Marquita Hutchins, who lives next door at 7604 River Ridge Drive.

Hutchins and her neighbors said the roof at Adams’ house was peppered with holes until someone performed a recent patch job.

Hutchins, who doesn’t have a history of allergies, has struggled this summer with breathing problems when guests at Adams’ house left doors open, she said.

“We shouldn’t have to live with that stinky smell,” Hutchins said. “The smell is absolutely horrendous.”

Hutchins, along with her neighbors Annette Renny and Tom Feely described Adams as a hoarder and believe the house is piled high with the owner’s personal belongings and debris.

Another neighbor, Randy Eversole, described the interior as messy and unkept when he once was invited inside.

“Stuff was stacked up to the ceiling,” Eversole said. “I couldn’t see mold, but I could smell it.”

Adams was sentenced to probation in May after he pled guilty to charges related to terrorizing his neighbors, including aggravated stalking and violation of a restraining order.

Hutchins and her son, Lucas, have restraining orders against Adams, which require him to say at least 300 feet from Hutchins and 10 feet away from her son.

Residents on River Ridge Drive said Adams made their lives miserable for years. Adams, who has lived on River Ridge Drive since 1990, has a history of arrests associated with run-ins with his neighbors, including aggravated stalking, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, making threatening phone calls, threatening to discharge a destructive device, criminal mischief and petty theft.

Code Enforcement Director Joe Gross said he is seeking direction from city leaders on potential changes to the city code to make it tougher on negligent homeowners to skirt the law.

The City Council discussed ways to strengthen the City Code at a workshop July 16.

Renny and Feely said they appreciate what the city is doing to rectify the problem.

“We want the mayor and city council to know, we are appreciative of their efforts,” Renny said “They have really stepped up.”

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