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The Villages
Friday, October 15, 2021

Frustrated supervisors feeling paralyzed over abandoned and neglected homes in The Villages

Frustrated community development district supervisors are feeling paralyzed over abandoned and neglected homes in The Villages.

Community Development District 2 supervisors on Friday pointed to an eyesore at 2016 Cordero Court in the Village of Santo Domingo which stands as a reminder of the problem. Last month, the home was the subject of a public hearing due to overgrown grass and weeds, mold growing on the home as well as an unregistered car in the driveway. The grass has been cut by a contractor hired by the District, but the mold and the abandoned vehicle remain. More than $1,000 in fines have been imposed due to the deed compliance violations at the property.

A car remains in the driveway at this home at 2016 Cordero Court in the Village of Santo Domingo.
A car remains in the driveway at this home at 2016 Cordero Court in the Village of Santo Domingo. There is also mold growing on the home.

“It’s an enormous disservice to our residents. It’s not in keeping with the standards of The Villages,” said CDD 2 Board Chairman Bill Schikora.

Fines can be imposed against the property owner, but particularly when homes are in foreclosure, those fines seem to disappear into a blackhole. Many times, the CDD boards in The Villages wind up forgiving the fines.

“We need to quit this forgiving the fines. The problem is not going to get better. It’s going to get worse. And people don’t like it,” said Supervisor Bryan Lifsey.

He pointed to the home at 2016 Cordero Court as a prime example.

Supervisor Jim Cipollone said a fresh approach needs to be found.

“Otherwise we are just spinning our wheels,” Cipollone said.

Supervisor calls for coordinated effort to resolve problem

Community Development District 3 supervisors held two deed compliance hearings Friday morning and also expressed frustration with ongoing problems at neglected homes.

CDD 3 Supervisor Terry Biddle suggested getting Community Watch involved and looking for problems at some homes.

“We need more of a coordinated effort,” Biddle said.

Where does it end?

In a report to the Community Development District 4 Board of Supervisors, Community Standards Manager Candice Dennis said the District historically has limited its involvement in out-of-compliance property to cutting the grass.

She said the District has not trimmed bushes, repaired broken windows or cleaned mold off homes that are not in compliance.

“Where does it end? Do we become a full-service company?” she asked.

CDD 4 Supervisor Cliff Wiener said he said he believes something has to be done when mold is growing on a home.

“What if you are living next door? It’s a health hazard,” Wiener said.

CDD 4 Supervisor Cary Sternberg countered that mold on the exterior of a home is not dangerous, “Unless you are going up to the house and trying to eat it.”

If CDD 4 wants to do more than cut the grass at out-of-compliance properties, it would have to update its rules. It agreed to begin the process of making the change and will discuss those steps at next month’s meeting.

“We are not talking about pristine maintenance. We just want to make it presentable from a street view,” said CDD 4 Supervisor Mark Hayes.

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