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Fort Myers couple looking for answers after HOA removes their chimney

Posted at 12:24 AM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 00:28:06-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A Fort Myers couple is looking for answers after they say their homeowners association removed part of their home without their approval.

The couple is now desperately trying to figure out what they can do.

For John Plowy and his wife, Susan, retiring in their Timberwood Village II condo was something they had been looking forward to for the past 15-years.

"[It's] what we waited for and worked hard our whole lives for — to be at this stage of our lives, we just newly retired,” said Susan Plowy.

But all of that changed after they say their chimney was removed without their approval in May.

"There are two reasons I bought this place, it was the wood fire burning place, and there was boat parking back then," said John Plowy.

“Now we have a useless 7 foot wide, all brick, fireplace and I really don’t know what to do."

Plowy says their nightmare started after Hurricane Irma collapsed the chimneys of several units.

Plowy says the homeowners association sent out this letter in 2017 informing owners of a vote on having their chimneys repaired or permanently removed.

The association needed 75% of the votes in favor of removal.

“It says up here the vote only applies to chimneys that were damaged by Hurricane Irma, and apply to those that may require rebuilding in the future, but the keyword is choose here and I was not given this until a neighbor gave this to me about a year and a half after the letter came out,” said Plowy.

Plowy says he’d been fighting to keep his chimney over the past 3-year, asking for proof of the vote.

“I’ve been asking for the minutes for over a year, and all three different management companies in the past three years can’t seem to find them,” said Plowy.

Plowy says while under previous management he was told his chimney would not be removed.

But in May of this year, Plowy says he was asked to stop interfering with the project.

“They sent me a certified cease and desist letter stating I am holding up their project, and I am causing damage to other buildings,” said Plowy.

Plowy had previously hired a professional to inspect his chimney.

"I spent here 4-hours looking at, it top to bottom, checking everything, he said you're not going to knock this down, are you, you'd be crazy," said Plowy.

Documents show the inspector deemed the chimney in good standing.

But Plowy says his chimney was removed in mid-may anyway.

“It’s hard to accept the fact that right across the street there in phase one, which is run by a different management company, there were no problems with their fireplaces, that just doesn’t make any sense to us," said Plowy.

A change they say has devalued their property, and they want it replaced.

“Everybody has the right to live peacefully, and to do something as destructive and maliciously to somebody that actually has something that is working… it’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Plowy.

“These other owners need to contact me; we’ll file a class-action lawsuit because there are numerous other people that didn’t want this to happen either.”

Fox 4 reached out to the attorney representing Timberwood Village II Condominium Association, who said his client considers this a private matter and declined to comment.