Residents of a high-dollar neighborhood in The Villages said they have been the victims of a vindictive anonymous complainer.
The residents of the Hyde Park section of the Village of Charlotte made an appeal Thursday afternoon to the Community Development District 10 Board of Supervisors.
“Our issue is how this is enforced. They should not rely on complaints from neighbors. This is not communist China which relies on your neighbor reporting you. The current process is unfair and we think it is unAmerican,” said Joe Nizolak, who lives on Underpar Lane in a home he bought for $599,000 in 2016.
He said a number of “tasteful” items have had to be removed because of the anonymous complaints.
He pointed out The Villages Daily Sun in that morning’s edition celebrated a Buddha lawn ornament sitting outside a home in the Village of Sabal Chase. The Buddha statue appeared as a “Moment of Zen” on the front of the local section. Nizolak made a formal complaint about that ornament.
“So why am I getting picked on?” he asked. “Selective enforcement is our issue.”
He said Community Standards should be responsible for ensuring the rules are being followed.
“I see Community Watch driving by and there are violations, but they aren’t doing anything about it,” Nizolak said.
He added that residents of Hyde Park believe the complaints are coming from someone who lives outside of their neighborhood.
Myers Hand, who lives on Enterprise Drive, said the lawn ornaments allow residents to have a little bit of “individuality.”
He said anonymous complaints are part of a “bitter, vindictive” process.
“You are taking the bait and killing individuality. We don’t want to all be the same,” said Hand, who paid $671,900 for his home in 2015.
Ninety-six percent of complaints are filed anonymously.
“The bottom line is there is a violation of the deed restriction,” said CDD 10 Chairman Don Wiley.
Part of the rationale for the anonymous complaint system is to preserve harmony in the neighborhoods. There is fear that if the identity of the complainer is known, that person could face retribution.