Hillsborough County aims to track sinkholes with new ordinance

6:55 PM, Dec 6, 2013   |    comments
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Odessa, Florida -- Work is underway at a house in Odessa to repair damage from a sinkhole. To do the work, the repair company Helicon had to pull a permit so now there is record of this sinkhole. 

But if an engineer had found signs of sinkhole damage and no repairs were done, or repairs done on the sly, in Hillsborough County, there would be no record of that inspection.

A new ordinance pushed by Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez will change that because it requires inspectors to pull a permit.

"It's going to provide more information to the public, to homeowners, and future home buyers," said Henriquez, who first started talking about the need for such an ordinance a year ago during his campaign.

Similar rules already exist in Pasco and Hernando and sinkhole inspectors like John Marquardt say they're used to the process. "We'll go pull the permit and when we're done we'll file a copy of what we found with the county," said Marquardt, a geotechnical engineer with Conestoga-Rovers & Associates.

This spring people will be able to research homes by address on the Property Appraiser's website.

Helicon's Jay Silver says the new rules could help fight fraudulent repairs and boost the confidence of home buyers. "I think it's a great resource for consumers to find out-- was this house ever tested, was it a confirmed sinkhole, or was there no sinkhole 


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