Future of backyard tent community residents still unknown

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Starting Thursday, Bay County Code Enforcement will begin seriously evaluating property violations. The same goes for one backyard tent community in northern Bay County.

Despite worries of being kicked off the property, Bay County officials say no specific actions will happen to tent community residents in northern Bay County on October 10. (WJHG/WECP)

Shelly Summers says the residents of her backyard tent community were all displaced from Hurricane Michael.

Now they are unsure of what comes next. But county Code Enforcement officials say no one will be forced off the property Thursday.

After receiving several complaints about Summers' property, county officials sent a letter to her in June asking her to consider long-term housing solutions. The letter states "the placement of multiple, unpermitted dwelling structures" on Summers' property is not allowed.

So what is going to happen Thursday?

Ian Crelling, Director of Community Development for Bay County, said on Wednesday, "Nothing specific will be happening tomorrow. We'll keep moving forward in communicating with their architects and engineers in trying to come up with a working permittable solution."

But Summers, who says she's helped find homes for more than a hundred people that came through her backyard, claims they don't have many options.

"Where are they gonna go? If you ask everybody here where they're gonna go they always say the same thing--they don't know. They don't have anywhere to go and there isn't anywhere," said Summers.

She says she has submitted a building plan to the county for another structure in her backyard but was declined due to zoning requirements.

Copyright 2019 WJHG. All rights reserved.