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Couple granted permission to live in RV

By Staff | Mar 29, 2010

One Cape Coral couple will have a little help while trying to remediate their home of Chinese drywall, getting to stay in an RV on a vacant lot adjacent to their property while the work is conducted.
Cape Coral City Council voted unanimously Monday to allow Richard and Larene Tullo of 233 N.W. 33rd Ave. to live in their RV on property owned by Albert Espinosa, located at 229 N.W. 33rd Ave., according to the Lee County Property Appraisers office Web site.
Speaking on behalf of the Tullos, former District 6 council candidate John Cataldi asked council to “show compassion” and allow them to utilize the RV.
While council agreed on the use of the recreational vehicle, it did not accept the Tullos’ second request, asking the council to rebate their permitting fees associated with their remediation. The fee is valued at over $400.
Council members were worried, in part, about the effects of their decisions, and the loss of money should a large number of people make similar requests, with or without defective drywall.
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said that council has already endorsed drywall reform on the federal level, and this decision was a small step toward helping people locally.
He added that he feels there is little danger to the city by allowing the Tullos to park their RV on Espinosa’s property.
“You have to start somewhere with a small step,” he said. “I don’t believe this is setting a precedent.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently denied help to homeowners whose homes were built using defective drywall.
FEMA suggested homeowners lean on funds from HUD — Housing and Urban Development — but locally, at least in Cape Coral, more than 60 percent of the $700,000 of HUD funds are already spoken for.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail said that while the city’s hands are tied financially, they simply had to offer some assistance, or Cape Coral could be struck with more blight as residents, or banks, abandon their homes.
“This is something we can do on the local level for the victims of Chinese drywall,” McGrail said.
Council agreed to allow the Tullos to park the RV on Espinosa’s property for six months. Cataldi said work has already begun on the home.
The Tullos were not in attendance at Monday’s meeting. They are also residents of New Jersey.