It's 5,099 air miles from Tampa, Florida to Venice, Italy. But Ryan Howard found a much faster way to see the legendary Venetian canals: he's building one in his new home.

A town not far from Tampa is considering a major change to its housing code to allow the Phillies slugger to build a $23 million, 17,500-square-foot home nicknamed Casa Del Howard.

The Philadelphia Daily News reports (via the Tampa Bay Weekly) Howard's architect had to testify before a town commission about the ridiculous plans for the house. At issue is the length of construction. City code says all homes must be finished in 24 months; the Howard palace could take as long as 3 1/2 years to complete.

Dan Dawson says the gulf-front property, covering over an acre of land in Belleair, Florida, features a Venice-style lazy river running from the swimming pool underneath a series of bridges. In case you believe Howard could do without the Italian influence on his home, Dawson told the commission the river is "a fundamental part of the design." He claimed the whole Howard family was looking forward to seeing the canal, and won't consider dropping it from the plans.

If Howard gets bored with baseball, he can try the Pro Bowling Tour. His castle will include a bowling alley on the ground level with breakaway walls.

Belleair is considering its options. The town could amend the law, or the ordinance could be left as is, and the case appealed to the special magistrate when the six month deadline is not met.

Howard has earned $45,255,000 over the course of his big league career, which began in 2006. The St. Louis native will earn $115,000,000 in guaranteed money from 2012 through 2016 from the Phillies.

While the 17,500 square foot home is silly in size, it's small next to Derek Jeter's new plantation.

Jeter made headlines in Tampa with his $7.7 million, 30,875 square foot mansion nicknamed "St. Jetersburg," that's said to be close to the size of a Best Buy electronics store and is the biggest house, square-footage-wise, in the country.

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