In Orlando, Florida, the Orlando Sentinel
- A testy meeting between the family of an 81-year-old widow and the timeshare company that wants to bulldoze her condo ended without a resolution [last week].
Family members for Julieta Corredor, who owns the last-remaining unit from the former Sonesta Villa Resort, told an Orange County planning committee she is not yet ready to accept the compromises offered by Westgate Resorts.
"I don't think they have legal permission from the county to build what they're building or demolish what they've demolished," said William Corredor, Julieta's son.
Westgate is planning a $24-million, 180-acre project on the land, including Julieta Corredor's unit. Everything else from the former complex already has been torn down.
Developers seeking permission from the county for projects are required to certify they own all properties included in their plan or have agreements with authorized agents, but Julieta Corredor has steadfastly refused to sell.
William Corredor on Wednesday argued his mother has no obligation to compromise to make way for Westgate's project.
Julieta Corredor paid $154,000 with her late husband to buy the condo 30 years ago as a vacation home, according to the family.
Westgate offered $150,000 to buy it — more than double its current value, the developer has said.
"If she doesn't want to sell to them, she doesn't have to sell to them," William Corredor said Wednesday.
In addition to trying to buy the condo, Westgate has also offered to swap it for one nearby or repair and build around it. Jim Hall, a planner representing Westgate, said Westgate has also offered to build a new condo on the same lot.
Corredor's unit was damaged by bulldozers tearing down the surrounding complex.
"The end result would be there would be a brand-new unit, with brand-new carpet and brand-new walls and a brand-new roof," Hall said.
However, Brent Siegel, an attorney for the Corredors, said Westgate's latest proposal lacks setbacks for the rebuilt townhouse. Its front door would open up to the curb stop for a parking space, he said.
William Corredor argued the county should be penalizing Westgate, rather than urging his mother to accept a compromise.
But Planning Administrator John Smogor countered that the Corredors were asking the county to wade into a civil dispute. He acknowledged the developer had done wrong when it demolished most of the complex with an invalid permit.
"Westgate's bad," Smogor said. "Don't get me wrong, I know they're bad."
He urged the Corredors to consider a compromise, noting that the county's development review committee may approve a revised plan at its July 13 meeting that would allow Westgate to build around their stranded unit.
"We're here to try to resolve this issue. If this is something that can't be resolved, then we can stop now, and you can go and sue them, and they can sue you back, whatever," Smogor said. "We don't want to be in the middle of this."
Source: Standoff continues in widow's battle with Westgate
: For those of you with a long memory, a similar scenario played out in an episode (Season 1, Episode 5: I Won't Go
) of the 1960's New York City-based police situation comedy, Car 54, Where Are You?
That episode hilariously depicted city officials and the fits they were having when discovering that there was one remaining resident in an entire 15-square block neighborhood condemned and undergoing demolition (in connection with the construction of the approach to the George Washington Bridge off of the Cross Bronx Expressway
, a part of master builder Robert Moses' infamous urban renewal project
that displaced thousands of residents in the Bronx throughout the 1950s & 1960s).
That resident, a sweet (but shrewd), elderly widow named Mrs. Bronson (played by famed star of Yiddish theater and film, Molly Picon
) not only avoided eviction but, because of her knowledge of "the system," was proving to be a bit more difficult than they expected to boot from her (presumably rent-controlled) apartment, thereby threatening to indefinitely hold up the entire construction project.
Surprisingly, it was Toody & Muldoon
who stumbled into a solution to gently persuade Mrs. Bronson to leave her home of 40 years and allow the Bronx urban renewal project to continue.