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The Villages
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

CDD 6 votes 3-2 on tense topic of anonymous complaints

The Community Development District 6 Board of Supervisors split 3-2 on the tense topic of anonymous complaints.

A large group of residents gathered Friday morning at SeaBreeze Recreation Center and pressured supervisors to reject anonymous complaints when it comes to reporting deed compliance violations.

“There are a lot of us here from different villages in District 6,” said Steve Bailey of the Village of Bridgeport at Lake Sumter.

Eleven of the residents went to the podium to demand the supervisors to require those lodging complaints to provide their name to Community Standards. In addition, they said the complainants should have to prove they are residents of CDD 6.

“If people have a complaint, they should give their name,” said Charles McLaughlin of the Village of Virginia Trace. “They may be in envy of their neighbor or they might not like their neighbor.”

He added that some residents are simply “obnoxious.”

Supervisors John Calandro and Tom Griffith made it clear they were standing behind the anonymous complaint process.

Calandro said he had scrutinized statistics from Community Standards which show that the vast majority of complaints had merit and most residents were quick to bring their properties back into compliance. He said a very small percentage of cases reached the formal complaint process and required more stringent action.

He added that “there are a lot of urban myths out there” that are not supported by the data.

Griffith said that staff has encouraged officials to stick with the anonymous complaint process, which is aimed at preserving harmony in neighborhoods.

“Have you ever received good advice and not taken it? Have you ever gotten bad advice and taken it?” he asked.

Griffith was critical of Community Development District 5 supervisors who were the first to abandon the anonymous complaint system. CDD 5 has also inspired other CDDs to also end the acceptance of anonymous complaints. Griffith said the elimination of anonymous complaints will have negative impacts in those districts. He predicted that fewer complaints will bring down the overall appearance of neighborhoods and ultimately drive down property values.

Supervisors Linda Grzesik and Tweet Coleman said they were in favor of eliminating anonymous complaints as it appeared to be the will of the residents.

“I don’t think we will be going to hell in a hand basket if we make people give their name,” Coleman said.

That set up Supervisor Peter Moeller as the deciding vote.

Moeller described often-difficult situations such as homes in foreclosure or homes in probate which have decayed into non-compliance.

Moeller said neighbors may be unhappy about the situation, but would be hesitant to give their name.

“This is, I personally believe, the reason for anonymous complaints,” said Moeller, who has served as a supervisor for many years.

However, when it came time to vote, Moeller voted in favor of doing away with anonymous complaints.

The residents in the meeting room applauded the decision.

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