In Ocean Hammock, dream house, ocean view, wrong lot

Article Courtesy of The Daytona Beach News Journal

By Bob Koslow    

Published October 16, 2014

HAMMOCK DUNES — Six months after building a large custom house with an ocean view, Missouri residents Mark and Brenda Voss learned of a big problem – it’s on the wrong lot.

Their three-story vacation rental house with an estimated construction value of $680,000 actually sits on the lot next to the one they own in the gated Ocean Hammock resort community.

“We are in total disbelief, just amazed this could happen,” said Mark Voss, who owns a property management and real estate company in central Missouri. “We may have moved (to Ocean Hammock) someday. But, with this headache and grief, we’re not so sure. The Midwest is looking pretty good right now.”

The Voss’s builder, Keystone Homes, which is based in Ormond Beach but builds primarily in Flagler County, has contacted the two lot owners and other parties and is trying to negotiate a settlement, said Robbie Richmond, company vice president.

“The buck stops with the builder. We know that. We are in the process of trying to schedule a conference call and find a fair resolution without the lawyers,” Richmond said. “I have built about 600 homes in Flagler County and this has never happened to me before. It does happen, but it’s rare.”

The Vosses, who own 18 other residential lots in the Hammock Dunes master-planned community, paid $160,000 for one with a street address of 23 Ocean Ridge Blvd. North in June 2012, according to Flagler County property records. They hired Keystone Homes to design and build a 5,000-square-foot house there to use as a vacation rental managed by Vacation Rental Pros in St. Augustine.

This 5,300-square-foot house along Ocean Ridge Boulevard North in the Ocean Hammock area of Flagler County was built on the wrong lot.


The house has five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. It also includes a home theater, game room and screened-in pool.

But the house was mistakenly built on the lot next door, 21 Ocean Ridge Blvd. North.

Andrew Massaro and his wife, Brooke Triplett, of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, bought that lot in 2003 for $355,000. They could not be reached for comment.

The builder and Voss each say the error can be traced to the first survey in 2013. East Coast Land Surveying in Ormond Beach misplaced stakes, and the foundation survey and other documents and building activity were based on the error. During construction, dozens of subcontractors arrived each day to work at the wrong lot. And a final survey failed to note the error.

“We require a preliminary plat, foundation and final survey and they all indicate it’s the right lot where the house sits,” said Mark Boyce, Flagler County’s chief building official. “We rely on the surveyor. They are state licensed professionals and we count on them to get it right.”

Calls to East Coast Land Surveying last week were unreturned.

Voss, the buyer, visited the construction site several times. He said he was stunned by the error because East Coast Land Surveying, “is not a fly-by-night surveyor. They are one of the most experienced in the Hammocks,” he said.

Boyce, the building official, noted that the west side of Ocean Ridge Boulevard North has a stretch of about 10 vacant lots in a row. The grass is mowed short and there are no distinguishing landmarks or lot markers to help surveyors and builders find the right lot or catch an error.

The county’s building inspectors are more focused on the construction process itself than the lot survey, Boyce said.

Flagler County Property Appraiser Jay Gardner said there appears nothing wrong with the deeds that would confuse surveyors to mark the wrong lot.

Keystone Homes hired a second company, Cullum Land Surveying in Port Orange, for the final inspection, Richmond said.

Officials at Cullum Land Surveying did not return calls for comment last week.

Debi Peterson, executive officer of the Flagler Home Builders Association, called the mistake “rare,” but not unique.

“I can think of 10 in Flagler County since I’ve been working here for 18 years,” Peterson said. “You just don’t hear about them because they are not a million-dollar home that faces the ocean.

“Building is a complicated process. A builder has to coordinate more than 30 subcontractors,” she said. “There’s always a risk.”

Flagler County delivered a certificate of occupancy in March. A title insurance policy was issued for 23 Ocean Ridge Blvd. North, but the house sites on 21 Ocean Ridge Blvd. North.

The house has been frequently rented, said neighbor Darrell Gaskins, who owns the house across the street on the beach.

It wasn’t until September, six months after the Voss house was completed, that a survey crew working nearby uncovered the error and notified the community manager, who then called Keystone Homes.

“There was no part of the process that we went through that was circumvented. We took the steps we normally go through,” said Richmond, the builder. “We are 100 percent committed to finding a resolution that is fair.”

Having the owners trade lots makes the most sense to Richmond, but Voss – the owner of the home on the wrong lot – is not ready to quickly sign off on that resolution.

“We have some ideas and plans, but I’m not going to discuss them here,” Voss said. “We’re working all channels to deal with this. We have an attorney.”