Homeowner Says Neighbor Ian Marlow Made His Home Largely Uninhabitable, Lied To Palm Beach County In Coverup Attempt.
Polo Club Board Of Directors Takes Little Action.
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — A homeowner in Polo Club says he is stuck living in just a small part of his house after his neighbor built an unauthorized wall and changed the grading, forcing water into the home. The permit for the work was allegedly obtained illegally.
(News app readers access our full report and access to documents).
For 18 months, homeowner Scott Baron has been seeking help from Polo Club’s Board of Directors after experts he hired determined neighbor Ian Marlow’s construction made Baron’s house virtually uninhabitable. But Polo Club, which promotes “resort style living,” has done little — even after learning that Marlow inaccurately represented to Palm Beach County that Polo Club had approved the wall and grading change.
Now, Palm Beach County is taking action. The Department of Planning, Zoning and Building revoked Marlow’s permit and told him to fix the problems. The case has been referred to Code Enforcement for possible prosecution. Baron is suing Marlow in circuit court.
“I bought my house seeking peace and tranquility,” said Baron to BocaNewsNow.com. “But the past year and a half has been nothing short of a nightmare.”
According to public records and discussions with multiple people familiar with the situation, Marlow — who owns and flips homes across South Palm Beach County — obtained a permit for work on his Polo Club home several years ago. Some of that work was completed, but other non-permitted work was allegedly undertaken as well. When Palm Beach County moved to a “virtual” permit approval system in the early days of COVID-19, Marlow is accused of amending the permit to cover the additional work that was completed but never approved — apparently gambling that he’d get the permit without anyone inspecting the property during the COVID lockdown. He allegedly represented to Palm Beach County that Polo Club had signed off on the changes — even though the changes infringe onto Baron’s property.
The gamble paid off. Palm Beach County approved the updated permit without visiting the residence.
Scott Baron purchased his Polo Club home next door to Marlow on Bridleway Circle in 2019, only to find water intrusion and other issues after moving in. As Baron’s experts investigated the cause, they learned Marlow had erected the wall, inexplicably connected it to Baron’s home, and installed improperly graded landscaping. The work wasn’t part of the original permit.
Doug Wise, Building Division Director for Palm Beach County Planning, Zoning and Building Department, said that permit seekers misrepresenting information — as Marlow and his contractor are now accused of doing — is an ongoing problem.
“Unfortunately, permit fraud is more common than we would prefer,” said Wise to BocaNewsNow.com. “That is why the code says what it says.”
The code says that a “building official may revoke a permit or approval issued when there has been any false statement or misrepresentation as to the material fact in the application or plans on which the permit or approval was based.”
Marlow’s permit was revoked in late April. We are publishing the letter sent to Marlow’s contractor, above. Palm Beach County has referred the case to Code Enforcment which has authority to pursue charges and fines. Marlow and his contractor could face criminal charges if it’s proven they knowingly submitted false information to Palm Beach County.
Neither Marlow nor Polo Club officials responded to requests for comment from BocaNewsNow.com.
Polo Club is broken up into several sub communities, each with their own representative. Marlow and Baron’s homes are in Lakes of Sutton. BocaNewsNow.com obtained documents showing that Lakes of Sutton President Frank Benson concurred that the work performed at Marlow’s home was improper and called on Polo Club’s Board of Directors — and Crest Management Company — to take emergency action. But aside from written notices and threats, Polo Club has done nothing to force Marlow to comply.
Some suggest that the Board of Directors doesn’t want to anger someone updating and flipping homes in the community, as the HOA receives a mandatory new membership fee of $65,000 every time home ownership is transferred in Polo Club.
Palm Beach County has given Marlow 30 days to bring his property into compliance. As of Monday morning, he has apparently done nothing.
Baron is suing Marlow in Palm Beach County circuit court. Read the complete suit, below. News app readers access all documents here.
We will update this report if Ian Marlow, or Polo Club representatives, provide a statement.Polo-suit
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