MIAMI LAKES, Fla. – An upscale Miami Lakes neighborhood along a canal is the site of homes that sell for at least a half-million dollars, but homeowners tell Local 10 news that their properties are under attack by erosion and iguanas.
"What's your biggest fear as a homeowner?" Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden asked one homeowner.
"My biggest fear is that my house will collapse," Jose Varela said.
Varela said he's fed up with his unwelcome four-legged neighbors and said they are bringing down the property value of the homes in the area.
"Little by little, you can see along the coast there (that) it's falling apart," Varela said. "We try to stop it with some wood and some rocks, but the iguanas burrow in and they make holes."
"We haven't had a hurricane for 10 years, so if we get that one unlucky matter, where we have rising water levels and a lot of rain, that could continue carving up and go right into the structure of my home," Marcos Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said he's been working around the clock with City Council members, some of whom traveled to the state Legislature where they secured a $1 million grant to help fix the problems.
"We have already identified some of the worst hit areas and we are doing that work this year," Councilman Manny Cid said.
"The town is going to pay with a grant to stabilize the canal banks and save every one of those property owners thousands of dollars," Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi said.
As far as the iguanas go, there's not much city officials can do, but there will be a meeting at Town Hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the best way to spend the grant and address any and all concerns.