Behind the gate of 3509 Eastview Avenue is a sprawling vacant property. Best described by neighbors as, “It kinda looks like the monster house,” said Joshua Lopez, who lives a few houses away from the 11 bedroom castle.
Weeds have overtaken the lawn, moss is growing on the facade and wood along some parts of the home is rotting. Heavy rains left standing water in the fountain.
“I honestly feel if there's standing water maybe they should do something about that because this Zika thing is scaring a lot of people,” said Lopez.
“Has the city stepped up its efforts in light of the Zika virus to eliminate standing water?” NewsChannel 5 asked West Palm Beach Chronic Nuisance Manager Laura Borso. “Of course, we have,” she said.
Borso said if a property is abandoned or vacant the city eliminates or treats standing water on it in less than 48 hours.
“We have a contractor that comes in and uses a liquid that he puts into wherever the standing water is that is in there to kill mosquitos, mosquito larvae,” explained Borso.
The city also takes action at pools at foreclosed homes like the two on East Lakewood and Potter Roads.
At the castle, we checked a flower pot where we found mosquito larvae. The health department alerted the city to it yesterday.
“I’m going to have our contractor come back out and treat this,” said Borso.
Borso says the city treated the fountain for mosquitoes on Friday. The plan is to eliminate the new mosquito larvae as soon as possible.
“I will call him after this,” said Borso. “I will have him come out hopefully today, if not first thing tomorrow morning.”
The city will be back out again no later than tomorrow to treat standing water at the house.
West Palm Beach moves much more quickly than most cities when it comes to preventing Zika on abandoned properties.
For example, in Lake Worth, where the state is investigating at least one case of locally transmitted Zika, the city must notify the property owner and go before a magistrate before taking action. The city is looking into ways to expedite the process.
As for the city of Miami, code enforcement must also notify the property owner and that person has 10 days to take care of the problem before the city steps in.