A Villager has taken his fight to save his landscaping to Sumter County.
Thomas Rinker, of 1462 Pelican Path in the Village of Sunset Pointe, spent about $4,000 to put in landscaping 15 years ago on property he believed was under his ownership.
Several months ago, an anonymous complaint was received alleging he put the landscaping in the Sumter County right of way. Rinker claims he was unfairly targeted by trolls who made the anonymous complaint. The complaint was verified by Community Standards.
Rinker appeared Friday morning before the Community Development District 5 Board of Supervisors and said he visited a Sumter County official and received information different from what he had been told by the district.
“He said The Villages doesn’t have any right to tell us what to do with our property,” Rinker said. “In fact, he said they appreciated it being kept up so well, otherwise they’d have to send a crew out to mow it.”
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Rinker and his wife, who are from Pennsylvania, bought their home in 2005 for $213,100.
Rinker said he did not realize he had put the landscaping in the county’s right of way. He said his Properties of The Villages sales agent did not explain the limitations when he purchased his home in the deed-restricted community.
A positive that has come out of the landscaping misunderstanding is the support Rinker has received from fellow Villagers since the story came to light.
“Many nice people have contacted me and said they want to help me,” Rinker said. “This past month I’ve met a lot of new people. I have had a lot of support.”
For the foreseeable future, Rinker’s landscape can remain in place. Villages officials will coordinate with Sumter County officials about possible next steps.