Three Villages homeowners will have to rip up their driveways or face daily fines after a trio of public hearings Friday before a standing-room-only crowd in the boardroom at the District Office.
Three anonymous complaints were received on Aug. 22 about the three driveways in the Hallandale Villas found to be out of compliance for being improperly widened.
Harold and June Huff paid a contractor to put extensions on both sides of their driveway.
“I did it for safety purposes,” said 85-year-old Harold Huff, in an attempt to plead his case before the Community Development District 8 Board of Supervisors.
June Huff had surgery on her shoulder in January and had trouble getting in and out of the car.
Harold Huff said he had the driveway extended so she would have “concrete to step on” when she got out of the car.
He added, “I am old and live on a very limited income.”
Kevin McCabe fought in Vietnam and has a prothetic leg as a result of his service.
He sometimes uses a wheelchair and he also described his trouble getting in and out of a car before he put down the driveway extension.
“We want to remain safe and secure in our homes,” he said.
He took a swipe at the anonymous complaint process and pointed out that, “In Fenney all patio villas have extended driveways.”
All three homeowners on Hallandale Lane used the same contractor for the driveway extensions.
“He told me he was a ‘Villages contractor’ and said they (driveway extensions) were frowned upon. But he said, ‘You can just do it any way,’” McCabe said.
Resident Barbara McManus said 17 percent of the 88 homes in the Hallandale Villas currently have driveways that are not in compliance. She said 75 percent of the residents of the Hallandale Villas have signed a petition indicating they have no problem with the driveway extensions.
“We are all friends. We party together, we socialize. We are are here together today,” she said.
District Counsel Valerie Fuchs said the board has no legal authority to change the deed restriction.
“It’s not a vote by petition. It’s about the rules,” she said.
Board members were clearly torn on the matter.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Supervisor Larry McMurry.
Supervisor Dennis Hayes said the board could be heading down “a slippery slope” and pointed to northern sections of The Villages where some deed restrictions have long been ignored.
The three homes were found to be in violation and the homeowners were given 30 days to bring their homes into compliance. If not, the homeowners will face an immediate $150 fine and then a daily $50 fine until the driveways are brought into compliance.
However, if the homeowners are showing a “good faith effort” at trying to come into compliance, the fines could be delayed. The also could get an expedited hearing before the Architectural Review Committee for plans they might submit to attempt to bring their driveways into compliance.