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The Villages
Wednesday, November 29, 2023

CDD 2 refuses to grandfather in villas with stone as deadline looms

Community Development District 2 supervisors have refused to grandfather in patio villas with stone landscaping whose owners have been ordered to put down sod.

CDD 2 Supervisor Tom Swiers on Friday made a motion to grandfather in eight homes in the La Cresenta Villas whose owners unknowingly bought their homes with the stone landscaping already in place. On June 23 in a special public hearing at Savannah Center, the homeowners were given 90 days to remove their stone landscaping and replace it with sod.

In making his motion for grandfathering, Swiers noted that in 2015 the rule banning stone landscaping at patio villas was mysteriously put into place. The eight homes in the La Cresenta Villas had already had the stone landscaping in place in 2015. The rule change in 2015 was largely unnoticed. The eight homeowners in the La Cresenta Villas were among a larger group of patio villa owners turned in by an anonymous complaint.

Swiers’ motion, cheered by the eight out-of-compliance homeowners in the La Cresenta Villas, was immediately rejected by his fellow supervisors. His motion died for lack of a second.

Chairman Bart Zoellner feared that grandfathering would be a “slippery slope.” He said more and more patio villa owners with stone could start coming forward.

“I would never vote to grandfather them in unless we grandfather everybody in,” said Supervisor Jim Conti said. “You just want to grandfather in these eight people.”

Other supervisors said it is important to be consistent and enforce the rules.

“What do we tell the other 99.9 percent people who follow the rules? The rule is you can’t have stone in patio villas,” Supervisor Jim Cipollone said.

La Cresenta Villa resident Garry Mang went into Friday’s meeting believing that Swiers’ motion would sail through with an affirmative vote. He was furious at the board’s adamant rejection of the grandfathering suggestion

“The stone was there for 20 years and has never been a problem until a stupid anonymous complainer came along,” Mang said.

Homeowners will start being fined $50 per day on Sept. 23 and the fines will continue until the stone is removed and replaced with sod.

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