Villagers are reacting to Community Development District 5’s decision last week to stop accepting anonymous complaints when it comes to deed compliance.
The CDD 5 Board of Supervisors on Friday voted 3-2 to end the practice of accepting anonymous complaints with regard to reporting violations such as lawn ornaments.
Although the change will impact only the residents of CDD 5, it clearly struck a nerve with residents of The Villages.
“We do not agree with doing away with the anonymous complaints. Either of two things will happen. Either the neighborhoods will go downhill or neighbors will be further divided,” predicted Margaret Wilt, who lives in the Morning View Villas in Community Development District 4.
She said the community is already too divided over politics.
Wilt suggested that those lodging complaints be required to give their address and allow Community Standards to judge whether the potential violation and the complainer are within the same vicinity, Wilt said.
“Yes, some will lie but it might stop many,” she said.
Richard McKee has lived in The Villages for 12 years and now lives in the Village of Pine Hills, in Community Development District 11.
He said that love them or hate them, the trolls serve a purpose.
“I believe the trolls have a lot to do with keeping The Villages a beautiful place. It is my belief that the only people that would object to the trolls are people that have something to hide,” he said.
However, Darrell Wennersten of the Village of Summerhill applauded the bold action taken by CDD 5.
“You may have a small item in your yard such as a lawn ornament that none of your neighbors care about if it is there. You may have that small white cross in your yard that your neighbors respect that it is there for personal and very sentimental reasons that only they understand why you put it there. You may have have plants or trees that have been in your yard since you have moved in,” Wennersten said.
Those are none of the trolls’ business, he said.
“They may not even live in The Villages. Even under the law, you have the right to know who your accusers are. Why should this be any different?” he asked.
The CDD 5 decision could play out in the Nov. 3 election between CDD 5 incumbent Chuck Wildzunas and challenger Reed Panos of the Village of Sunset Pointe.
Panos said he has spent hours and hours at postal stations talking to CDD 5 voters about the anonymous complaint system. He said those conversations indicated that about 80 percent of the residents wanted to eliminate anonymous complaints.
Wildzunas, a resident of the Village of Winifred, was in the minority in Friday’s 3-2 vote to end anonymous complaints.
“I think we’re making a big mistake by doing this,” he said.