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The Villages
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Villagers fighting to keep protective wall in rapidly changing environment

Peter and Nancy Blackmore purchased their dream home in 2006 in the Village of Caroline.

The home is on the far eastern edge of The Villages and backs up to Cherry Lake Road, a literal stone’s throw into Lake County.

When the Blackmores purchased their home, The Villages’ four-board fence offered adequate protection from the outside world.

However, Cherry Lake Road is no longer a little country road. It has morphed into an endless river of speeding cars and litterbugs. There have also been fatalities and plenty of questionable foot traffic.

In the early days, The Villages maintained the four-board fence.

“You called them up, and they fixed it,” said Nancy Blackmore.

In 2013, maintenance of the fence was turned over to the homeowners.

The changing environment prompted the Blackmores to fortify their section of fence.

A complaint was made about this fence at a home in the Village of Caroline
A complaint was lodged about this fence at a home in the Village of Caroline.

They erected a “stockade” wall and affixed “K-9 on Duty” signs to discourage any potential trespassers.

The fence, painted the same color as the previous four-board fence, was in place for a decade. But then the Blackmores’ wall was the subject of an anonymous complaint. They believe the complaint came from someone in the Village of Polo Ridge, which is in Community Development District 3. The Village of Caroline is in Community Development District 6, which stopped accepting anonymous complaints, after the complaint about the Blackmore’s fence had already been lodged.

The Blackmores attempted to work with Community Standards and removed the “K-9 on Duty” signs. They submitted an application to the Architectural Review Committee, but ended up pulling it from consideration. They also resurrected the original plat for the property which indicates either a four-board fence or “stockade” structure would be permissible on their property.

They were called to a public hearing Friday morning before the CDD 6 board at SeaBreeze Recreation Center.

“Times have changed,” Peter Blackmore told the board.

His wife described the massive Hammock Oaks development planned nearby, which will bring a small city of 2,000 to 3,000 people to the other side of their wall.

Neighbor Susan Palmer testified on the Blackmores’ behalf.

“It’s very scary at night. You don’t know who is walking along there,” Palmer said. “It’s only going to get worse.”

The Blackmores insist they received approval from The Villages to make modifications to their fence, although they have not been able to produce documentation sufficient to satisfy Community Standards.

Supervisor Peter Moeller, also a resident of the Village of Caroline, serves as CDD 6’s representative on the Project Wide Advisory Committee. He suggested this might be a “broader issue” than what is being experienced by the Blackmores. He pointed to Villagers who have homes near the bustling Trailwinds Village development in Wildwood.

“They bought property with cow pastures behind them and now they have parking lots and shopping plazas,” Moeller said.

Many of those residents have complained about fence jumpers showing up in their pools and are similarly worried about outside invaders.

Supervisor Linda Grzesik suggested the board postpone action on the Blackmores’ case until July 19.

The board embraced the postponement, with Moeller suggesting it would give him a chance to raise the issue at a PWAC meeting.

Do you think the Blackmores – and other Villagers – should be able to erect protective fences or walls in certain locations? Share your thoughts at letters@villages-news.com

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