Special Report: Over Inspected

A family moving into a Virginia Beach neighborhood received dozens of complaints.

WAVY News 10

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A family’s effort to have their dream home built illustrates how anonymous complaints can complicate the process. 10 On Your Side investigated how the construction of a new home sparked an enormous amount of neighbor complaints – about seven times the average.

“It’s been very troubling for both me and my family to have to go through 68 inspections,” said homeowner Byron Woodard. He and his family moved from Texas two years ago and began building on a waterfront lot in Virginia Beach. Their Spanish style home is in an upscale section near Great Neck Road.

The Woodards had a builder with decades of experience building on waterfront lots, but the complaints started piling up. The city says about half of them were anonymous.

“When the norm is ten inspections, and they get 68, and not one of them resulted in a stop-work order or a violation of any shape or form, something’s wrong,” said Bill Bischoff, the homeowner’s attorney.

Since then, Woodard says he has had a few more inspections and the total is now more than 70.

List of Complaints

Because of the complaints, the Woodards and their builder ended up before the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Board. The Board members grilled the Woodards and their builder about the placement of silt fences, construction debris, the amount of turf on the property, and the height of the home.

“This homeowner has gotten disparate treatment,” Bischoff said. “I can’t explain why.”

In the end the board found in favor of both the builder and the homeowners. The only matter left for inspectors is the swimming pool.

City of Virginia Beach Inspection Services

Board member Brad Martin, a civil engineer, says by-and-large the complaints appeared to be legitimate enough to come before the board. But Martin also agrees that the number of inspections on this property is over and above the norm.

10 On Your Side reached out to the Woodards’ neighbors on both sides, and neither wanted to comment.

The Virginia Beach Inspections and Permits Division says regardless of whether a complaint is anonymous, or how legitimate it may seem, inspectors have to investigate.