LARGO — The regional water management agency has filed a lawsuit against a Largo business and an Ohio woman for alleged illegal construction activity that caused flooding in an adjacent neighborhood.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District filed suit Feb. 4 in circuit court against Paver House on Ulmerton Road. Also named as a defendant is Linda Freeland of Xenia, Ohio, who leases the property to Paver House.
SWFWMD charges the defendants failed to get a permit to place fill material in and grade a half-acre of the property. The agency also charges Paver House and Freeland failed to obtain an environmental resource permit for dredging and filling on the property.
Agency officials initially visited the property in December 2018 after receiving a complaint that the activity on the Paver House property was flooding property directly to the north. In May 2019, SWFWMD notified Paver House and Freeland they had failed to get a permit for the dredging and filling activities. The defendants offered no response to that notice, or any subsequent notifications, and did not offer any proposals for restoration of the property, according to court documents.
Ricardo Rocha, owner of Paver House, denied responsibility for the flooding, saying the flooded property had a low spot in the middle of the yard. He said he had not received a copy of the lawsuit.
Freeland, reached in Ohio, said she was unaware of the lawsuit.
If the court rules in favor of the agency, Freeland and Paver House could face penalties up to $10,000 a day for each violation.