CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — More than 20 homeowners at Babcock Ranch have smaller backyards than they said they expected when they bought their homes.
Eileen Leonard and her husband are one of the newest neighbors at Babcock Ranch. They moved in just last month. They gathered outside of their home with about 10 neighbors to share their feelings of shock. They said the sales representative for the builder, Lennar told them their backyard would stretch from their homes to the man-made lake.
“She walked us down to the back of the property to the edge of the water and she said this is all yours we will never put anything on it,” said Leonard.
It should’ve been about 75 feet according to the Leonard’s personal tape measurer. They said that promise was made before they moved in but that wasn’t in writing. Instead their yards are only 15 feet long. They said the first time they saw dimensions for the land they owned was when they received their surveys in the mail outlining they only owned 132 feet of land from the front of their home to the back.
“We don’t have any of this,” said Leonard pointing from a newly installed stake to the lake beyond her backyard.
Their smaller yards became a reality this week when they said they found construction workers installing stakes cutting off majority of their backyards.
Not only did the homeowners say they’re out of the backyards they were promised, but they’ve also been paying to water the land from their homes all the way to the lake, because they said they thought it all belonged to them.
“They’ve connected our personal water. And we paid a fee for the irrigation and we paid a big fee at closing for the privilege of having the water here,” said Leonard.
They said they paid $500 for irrigation when they closed on their homes. They also said they pay for sprinklers to keep the grass near the lake green, which is included in their water bills.
Babcock Independent Special District owns the land near the water. They sent the following statement to homeowners:
“BRISD has no plans for further improvement and the developer has no approved plans for this area…but it could be improved for a passive trail around the lake to connect to the future park expansion east of trails edge.”
Bob Echevarria also moved in recently and says he doesn’t think a trail open to the public is a good idea.
Fox 4 reached out to Lennar to clarify what land belongs to the owners and what does not, but has not heard back as of Saturday night.