Homeowners face agonizing decisions as insurance companies look to settle after sinkholes

Homeowners in the Village of Calumet Grove are facing agonizing decisions as insurance companies negotiate settlements on their homes deemed unlivable after sinkholes opened up this past February.

Frank Neumann received an engineering report regarding his home at 17086 SE 79TH McLawren Terrace two hours before Friday afternoon’s meeting of the Community Development District 4 Board of Supervisors. He was trying to read it on his phone.

He will begin emptying out his home on Monday, moving his furniture and other belongings into storage.

He has been out of his home since the sinkholes opened up in a pond near his home which backs up to the Torri Pines golf course.

He said his insurance company wants him to repair his swimming pool.

“I would never feel safe in a six-feet deep pool,” he said.

Marion County Building Safety officials said Doris Morrell has been told her home at 17092 SE 79th McLawren Terrace is “a wash.” Her home will have to be demolished and rebuilt, she has been informed by her insurance company

“It is up to the homeowner to receive the money and do something with it or continue to fight with the insurance company,” said Doug Newbanks of Marion County Building Safety.

The owner of this home on McLawren Terrace must make an agonizing decision about her home

Apparently, she has been approached by contractors who buy up sinkhole-damaged homes.

CDD 4 Chairman Paul Kelly wondered about the responsibilities of the homeowners.

“What if they take their check and go to Tampa?” he asked.

Mike Savage of Marion County Building Safety said the homeowners will have to make decisions about possibly demolishing and rebuilding. If the property is neglected, the department will “open a code case file,” Savage said.

Meanwhile, neighbors remain nervous.

“Every time it rains, I am waiting for the sinkhole to open up. And I watch that house sitting there and sinking,” said Marilyn Triccio.