oh my. What a silly web we weave. Almost
like retired Navy commander Ackert who moved into a Tallahasee
neighborhood four years ago and within a month added a patriotic
American flag cover to his mailbox.
flag cover has been there for the entire four years but on July 26th,
his community association sent him a letter saying he would have to
remove the flag to protect the "aesthetic and property values" of the
neighborhood. [What happened to the other three and one-half
years? I'd say that their community association is somewhat
neglectful or inept, heh?]
letter continued, "As the holiday season has come to a close, please
remove the American flag mailbox wrap. Decorations may be
displayed 30 days prior to the associated holiday and must be taken
down within 15 days after the holiday." [Hey! Maybe they're for Labor Day, now!]
According to Ackert, "If somebody had complained about it four years ago, it wouldn't be such an issue."
The association has also asked him to remove a Navy sticker from
his window, along with stickers showing support for the local sheriff's
office and the Special Olympics.
home, here in The Villages - just south of Tallahasee and Ackert's
plite, we, too, have an association that believes that a small, white
cross placed in your front yard is akin to Ackert's dreaded, flag cover
on the mailbox. If it's not removed, then anarchy will surely
follow. Afterall, it does say in the deed restrictions for
District 7 (that's us), paragraph 2.15, "Lawn ornaments are prohibited,
except for seasons displays not exceeding a thirty (30) day duration.
Then paragraph 2.27 goes on to say "The Developer reserves the
right to establish such other reasonable rules and regulations covering
the utilization of Homesites by the Owner in order to maintain the
aesthetic qualities of this Subdivision, all of which apply equally to
all of the parties in the Subdivision The rules and regulations
shall take effect within five (5) days from the sending of a notice to
guess I'm not sure how anyone could misconstrue a mailbox for a lawn
ornament. And for that matter, a small, white cross.
However, what maintains the aesthetic quality of a home? Is
one small, white cross okay? How about two small, white crosses?
How about 50 small, white crosses? And by who's definition
of "small" are the residents to follow? Is one 5-foot, white
cross okay? How about a 3 foot swastica? See where this is
So the deed restrictions aren't very clear. But then, there are comments by Villagers like the following:
Why do we see small white crosses in front yards in The Villages?
residents, formerly from Michigan brought up why in Frankenmuth, Mich.
did the town have so many little white crosses in peoples front yards.
It was because of Frankenmuth, that several people decided to bring and
practice that idea here to the The Villages. You see, when
driving through Frankenmuth, Mich. people are intrigued with the many
small simple crosses in the front yards of the homes they pass.
Those crosses are a statement of support or the Frankenmuth’s Christian
ago, an atheist living in Frankenmuth complained about two crosses on a
bridge in town. He requested that they be removed and the town
removed them. He then decided that, since he was so successful with
that, the city shield should also be changed since it had on it, along
with other symbols, a heart with a cross inside, signifying the city’s
A white cross in a lawn in The Villages.
that point, the resident decided they had enough. Hundreds of
residents made their opinions known by placing small crosses in their
front yards. Seeing this quiet, but powerful statement from the
community, the man removed his complaint. Those simple crosses
still remain in those front yards today.
resident, after passing these crosses for two years, it finally hit
home that a smallcross in millions of front yards across our country
could provide a powerful and inspiring message for all Americans
passing them every day.
think that it might be time to take this idea across America as some of
those in The Villages have done. We have an administration that
says “we are not a Christian nation” and everywhere you look the ACLU
and others are trying to remove from our history and current lives any
reference to GOD, prayer, or the fact that our country was founded on
Judeo-Christian Principles. Our administration can’t bring
themselves to talk about “radical Muslims or Islamic terrorists” for
fear of offending them, but they can talk about Americans “clinging to
their guns and their religion” or insinuate that our own military
troops coming home from the services overseas might turn into
terrorists. The majority of Americans are Christians, why are we
letting this happen to us?
being of sound mind, and nothing else to do at 5:00 AM, I decided to
take on the challange. What challange, you say? Well, let's
just use Google Earth, zoom up to Frankenmuth, Michigan, and see if we
can find these so-called white crosses in anyones front yard.
got to admit....They're still there. Or at least, they are, on
the few streets that I looked at. Especially on West Schleier
Street. Two things to say about this....(1) W. Schleier St. is
just behind the St. Lorenz Lutheran Church and (2) their crosses are
much more prominent than ours.
(1) Showing St Lorenz Lutheran Church and the proximity of West Schleier Street (arrow)
(2) The 1st two are both sides of a duplex.
Can you find the cross in each picture?
All four homes are on West Schleier Street.
Or perhaps, the following complaint article in The Village-News:
Villages Community Standards has received nearly 90 complaints about crosses
A white cross at a home in the Village of Gilchrist.
Standards office has received a total of 87 complaints about the white
crosses that have been popping in yards around The Villages.
Jan. 1, 2016 and Jan. 30, 2017, Community Standards received 310 lawn
ornament complaints of which 87 were for crosses (that's roughly 1.64
complaints per week).
of the 310 lawn ornament complaints were investigated in accordance
with the deed restrictions and the District’s adopted Rule and
processed in the same manner,” said Candice Dennis, manager of the
Community Standards Department.
of those cross complaints was lodged against Larry and Rose Kehoe in
the Village of Gilchrist. You can read more about their reaction HERE
far, the greatest number of cross complaints came in Community
Development District 9, where the Kehoes reside. But there were also
cross complaints in CDDs 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9.
Here is how the District describes lawn ornaments:
Lawn Ornaments – Lawn
ornaments, or yard art, generally refers to manmade items located
anywhere outside the structure or footprint of the home. However, pots
and planters designed and constructed for plant use are permitted so
long as they are used for their intended purpose (doesn't
say you can't paint a cross on a planter, does it - as long as the
planter is being used for their intended purpose - holding a plant?).
The inclusion or attachment of flowers or plants to a manmade ornament,
not originally constructed for plant use, does not change the item from
a lawn ornament to landscaping. The word ‘lawn’ includes areas
that are mulched, concreted, sodded, rocked, landscaped, bare earth or
any other material outside the structure (footprint) of the home.
The following is intended as a partial reference list of lawn
ornaments: any man made concrete or ceramic statue or figure (including religious symbols [Ouch]), windmill, pinwheels, train sets, deer, geese, flamingos or any other animal or human figures. [yea,
yea, yea! We get the idea but once you create a partial reference
list of the lawn ornaments, you need to be able to provide a complete
reference list, otherwise the list could be endless and added to at the
whim of the originator. Is a non-concrete or non-ceramic figure
of a space shuttle permitted? How about a painted (metal) figure
of Shrek? How about something from Jarassic Park (non-concrete or
non-cermic, of course)? How about a real elephant and three zebras?
No, I guess that last one would fall under pets or
you really have some time to spare, you should read some of the 118
comments to the above letter / blog posted by Pam Dahl or the 87
comments to the Meta Minton article in the Villages-News on January 31,
2017. Who knew we had so many different people with so many
different opinions? But then, perhaps, that is why we're known as
a nation (and a Village) with such diversity.