KISSIMMEE, FL-Pulte Homes Inc., a national homebuilder which reported 2003 gross revenue of $7.2 billion, faces at least a $2-million penalty for constructing 39 four-bedroom homes in a 67-home subdivision approved by Osceola County for only three-bedroom residences near Walt Disney World.

The county’s code enforcement board will decide June 16 on the total penalty Pulte will pay. The board alleges Pulte knew it was violating the construction code when it converted a garage bay into a fourth bedroom at the 39 properties. Pulte has told the commission it did so after customers, many of them investors, demanded a fourth bedroom.

At least half of the homes in the Windsor Hills subdivision of single-family and townhomes will be sold to investors who use the properties as short-term rentals, a favorite commodity for international tourists who desire to be near the Disney attractions, commissioners tell

The 39 four-bedroom homes, illegally constructed, have been sold in the $300,000 range for a total $11.7 million, Osceola County brokers following the controversy tell If the county rules Pulte has to demolish the 39 homes, the Michigan-based builder would have to refund the purchase price to the homeowners, county planning department staffers confirm to

However, the county could allow the 39 homes to stand and levy an additional fine on the builder, commissioners say. The proposed $2-million punishment would go for the development of a $5-million building for the Osceola Council on Aging. The county is funding the $3-million construction balance.

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