The Community Development District 4 Board of Supervisors has taken a hard look at the future of its relationship with the Architectural Review Committee.
The mission of the ARC is to maintain the high quality and consistency of the aesthetics and design of the residences and home sites found throughout The Villages. The ARC is made up of residents appointed from CDDs throughout The Villages. The volunteer board meets each Wednesday morning to review applications from residents for improvements to their property. The board’s representation includes residents stretching from the Historic Side of The Villages down to State Road 44.
CDD 4 Supervisor Cliff Wiener, a former ARC member who has previously served as the ARC’s chairman, has voiced concerns about the size of the ARC and the volume of applications it is reviewing each week.
“The board is too big,” Wiener said.
He said the ARC is making mistakes such as allowing residents to extend improvements into easements.
Community Development District 12, which includes the villages of Fenney, De Luna, Marsh Bend and Linden, south of State Road 44, went a different direction in 2021 and has not joined the ARC. It has hired a special master to review applications from residents.
Wiener said he supports the exploration of a similar effort in CDD 4.
However, at Friday’s CDD 4 Board meeting, its alternate to the ARC, Lee Clarke, urged supervisors to stick with the volunteer board.
“There is nothing wrong with the ARC that cannot be fixed,” said Clarke, a resident of the Soulliere Villas.
She said pulling out of the ARC would “disenfranchise” residents from the approval process.
Supervisor Don Deakin noted that the annual cost of a special master, who is a paid professional, is costing CDD 12 more than $3,000 per year.
He noted that CDD 4 recently increased its maintenance assessment and that supervisors need to pay close attention to costs.
“I would want to fix the current ARC before we commit to a hearing master,” Deakin said.
Supervisor Mark Hayes agreed.
“$3,000 may not sound like a lot, but it has not been budgeted for. We can’t tell people we are good stewards of their money if we do something like this,” Hayes said.
Supervisor Cary Sternberg, also a former ARC member, is in favor of sticking with the ARC.
“I don’t favor getting away from how it is conducted now,” Sternberg said.