Home / Charlotte County Code Enforcement makes family get rid of haunted house

Charlotte County Code Enforcement makes family get rid of haunted house

Reporter: Marcello Cuadra
Published: Updated:

A family is upset after Charlotte County forced them to get rid of the haunted house for kids at their home.

The haunted house is something the family does for the community for free.

And now, after four years of doing it, the county said it’s a violation.

Charlotte County said there are multiple problems with the haunted house like not being permitted and the possible safety hazards that comes with the attraction.

But the owner said he doesn’t buy it.

It’s hard to miss the house on Montrose Avenue in Port Charlotte.

Snakes, clowns, skeletons, whatever the Halloween prop, John Walsh probably has it outside his home.

“As you can see, we have quite a large selection. And there’s more on the other side of the house. And I have 10 more totes in the garage that I had to take down because that was inside the haunted house,” Walsh said.

Walsh used to build it outside his house, but now it’s in pieces.

John Walsh was upset the county made him get rid of his Halloween decorations. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Charlotte County Code Enforcement told him he had to take it down.

“I have a haunted house I built I mean, I know it was 15 feet high. But it was just a Halloween decoration. It was not a prop was not a permanent fixture. The town is stating it was a permanent fixture and I was within the easement or something. And I don’t see how when it was 35 feet back from the sidewalk,” Walsh said.

The violation description on the Charlotte County website states it clear: “Adding a front addition for Halloween decoration, however, the structure is out of required setbacks, no permit and attached to primary structure.”

Shawn Horton, the Charlotte County Code Enforcement manager, said over the phone about the case that possible safety concerns included weather and fire.

Walsh said he was open to getting a permit and even offered to pay for one, but the county denied the offer.

Neighbor Richard Renick said it’s sad.

“Because now the kids would I mean, they can see what they see. But they can’t enjoy the way they used to enjoy it, which is going through the little maze and stuff and stuff like that,” Renick said. “And like I said, he took every precaution that it could, every safety precaution you can break through the walls. It’s nonflammable.”

Walsh said he hopes Code Enforcement will reconsider its decision.