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The Villages
Thursday, June 30, 2022

Snowbird couple blames COVID-19 and paperwork for being out of compliance

A Connecticut snowbird couple and their daughter made an impassioned plea Friday for the forgiveness of $6,600 in fines in a deed compliance case.

Donna Kelso and her daughter Danielle appeared before the Community Development District 8 Board of Supervisors in a public hearing at SeaBreeze Recreation Center. Daniel Kelso appeared by phone.

This rock-dominated yard in the Village of St. Charles was the subject of a public hearing Friday morning.

An anonymous complaint was lodged in 2020 over rock in the landscaping beds at the home at 1804 Orange Court in the Oviedo Villas in the Village of St. Charles. The Kelsos had applied for permission for the landscaping in 2018 at the patio villa, but the application was denied by the Architectural Review Committee. The Kelsos put down the rock anyway, according to Community Standards. In June 2020, the couple was ordered to remove the rock or face a daily fine of $50. A deed compliance officer went to the property six different times, but the couple failed to bring it into compliance. It was finally brought into compliance on Nov. 18, 2021.

The couple alleged a paperwork snafu on the part of Community Standards. They also said their potential return to The Villages was hampered by COVID-19.

In his telephone testimony, Daniel Kelso said he persuaded a friend to find a landscaper to eventually remedy the problem.

There was little sympathy for the “snowbird” defense.

Supervisor Duane Johnson proposed reducing the fine from $6,600 to $5,100. His proposal went down in a 3-1 vote. Supervisors Larry McMurry, Phil Walker and Sal Torname were opposed to reducing the fine. Supervisor Dennis Hayes was absent.

The couple will have to pay the entire $6,600 fine.

After the vote, Donna Kelso lashed out at the board and claimed other neighbors have the same violation, but their rock remains in place.

“There is no consistency,” she charged.

The couple bought the villa in 2010 for $137,200.

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