Cape homeowner without permit speaks out

Writer: Sommer Senne
Published: Updated:

Sometimes, doing due diligence still isn’t enough.

“We also tried to do everything right that way with hiring companies that are reputable, licensed and insured,” said Amber Hamilton.

Hamilton’s home on Southeast 22nd Place is one of the homes caught in the middle of a dispute between FEMA and the City of Cape Coral.

FEMA said construction that was done on her home after Hurricane Ian didn’t have a permit.

“I was horrified because we’re rule followers, and we’re not trying to do anything wrong,” Hamilton said.

Now, the city has summoned her to a public hearing with the Cape Coral Code Compliance Special Magistrate to give her side of the story.

“I think the worst thing for me is just a general accusation that we’ve done something wrong,” said Hamilton.

She had no idea her home wasn’t in compliance until the city knocked on her door on April 10 and handed her a stack of papers and a red letter.

“When I asked for specifics, he didn’t have any specifics and said that I would have to call code compliance for the city for further information,” she said.

She called the city and went to city hall.

She kept getting passed around to the code compliance office and the city manager’s office and was even told to call FEMA herself at one point.

No one had any answers for her until she happened to tell a city employee about the work she had done on her home.

“They said, ‘If you had replacement garage doors, you would have needed a permit,'” she said.

Her garage doors, which weren’t covered by insurance, are the cause of this week-long headache.

Hamilton called the garage door company right away.

“They said, ‘We assume that the other contractor working on the other work would have pulled a permit if a permit was necessary,”’ she said.

That other contractor was working on fixing a balcony and painting the inside of the house and told Hamilton he never needed a permit for this job, so a permit was never pulled.

The garage door company filed for a permit on April 11, one day after Hamilton was told she wasn’t in compliance.

“I’m hoping that being that we took action right away, that it can be seen that we were trying to do the right thing, and we just didn’t know,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton was given a 13-page FEMA packet with instructions on outlining the work that will be done on her home. Four of these pages are filled out by the homeowner.

Inspectors are supposed to come to Hamilton’s home within the next two weeks.

She plans to show them documentation and convince them she’s in compliance.

If she is in compliance, she won’t have to go before the city on April 30.

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