Sunday, August 27, 2017
the Friendliest Newspaper in
August 19, 2017 by Meta Minton
Who are the trolls?
It was a topic of debate at the Community Development District 8 board of supervisors meeting.
The image of trolls which has evolved in The Villages is a pair of women in a golf cart armed with a clipboard. They are said to be searching for deed restriction violations and then anonymously turning them in to Community Standards.
Rich Cardillo, who lives in the Bayport Villas, called on supervisors to eliminate or modify the anonymous complaint system.
A Village of Buttonwood couple had to remove this bird
from their front yard. They believe they were the victim of a troll.
“This system is destroying the quality of life in our community,” Cardillo said.
He said his neighbors are sick of being “dinged by trolls” and that the situation is bordering on “open warfare.”
He claimed the sheriff’s office has been called out, trespass orders have been handed out and surveillance systems are going up at homes.
However, a fellow CDD 8 resident defended those reporting the violations.
“These people are not trolls, they are concerned citizens. They are not ruining our community, they are protecting it,” said Ken Broderick.
Supervisor Duane Johnson, noting that he doesn’t care for the anonymous complaint system, said he has been hearing from residents about trolls.
“There are a lot of people who are revved up over this issue of trolling or whatever you want to call it,” Johnson said.
District Manager Janet Tutt suggested that trolls in The Villages had reached “urban legend” status and that the numbers don’t support the theory.
She said that since March 2013, a total of 2,243 complaints have been received in CDD 8, with regard to deed restriction violations.
There has only been one “bulk” call in CDD 8, she said. That anonymous telephone call was received June 22 and reported six violations.
In neighboring CDD 7, there have been a total of 1,457 complaints received since March 2013. (Ouch.! CDD 7 includes the Village of Bonita.) An anonymous note was received Oct. 17, 2016 reporting 25 violations. An anonymous call was received May 2 of this year with 30 complaints. On May 11, an anonymous call was received with six complaints lodged. CDD 7 Chairman Ron McMahon last month met with a group of residents concerned about trolls.
In CDD 9, there have been a total of 1,196 complaints received since March 2015. A woman emailed in 34 complaints on Feb. 21, 2016. On May 30 of this year an anonymous note reporting seven violations was received and on April 10, an anonymous note was received reporting 13 violations.
In CDD 5, there have been a total of 2,921 complaints received since March 2011. On July 6 of this year an anonymous call was received, reporting seven violations. On July 25, an anonymous call was received, reporting nine violations.
In CDD 4, there have been a total of 2,922 complaints received since March 2010. On Feb. 21 of this year, an anonymous note was received reporting 17 violations. On July 18, an anonymous caller reported 7 violations. An anonymous note was received July 19, reporting 7 violations.
In CDD 2, there have been a total of 2,145 complaints received since March 2010. On June 10 of this year, an anonymous note was received reporting 12 violations.
In CDD 1, there have been 2,136 complaints received since March 2010. On June 9, 2016, an anonymous note was received, reporting seven violations. On July 10 of this year, an anonymous note reported 16 violations. On July 31, an anonymous caller reported 7 violations.
In the Lady Lake/Lake County portion of The Villages, there have been 5,681 complaints received since March 2010. On March 10, 2016 an anonymous note reported 23 violations. On Dec. 19, 2016, an anonymous caller reported 11 violations. On Jan. 7 of this year, a man who provided his name reported 15 violations via email. On May 5, a woman who provided her name reported nine violations in an email.
In CDD 10, 117 complaints have been received since March 1 of this year. On May 22, an anonymous caller reported six violations. On June 5, an anonymous caller reported six violations.
CDD 8 Supervisor Dennis Hayes offered his assessment of the situation.
“If everyone is in compliance, there wouldn’t be a freaking issue,” Hayes said.
[Editor's Note: These complaints add up to a whopping 20,818 complaints since 2011, a short 6-1/2 years ago. Without knowing more than just the annual totals for the districts and dividing that total by the years involved, I can get an average for each district and for each year. What you see is a general increase each year (total) that started in 2011 at about 1611 complaints and slowly increased to 3283 in 2017. Of course, it's only August but using the average for each year, you can get a prediction of 3283 for this year. That indicates that in just 7 years (2011-2017), there has been double the amount received. Of course, some of this may be due to The Villages increasing in size but 3283 per year means albout 9 complaints per day are received. Assuming they only work an 8-hour day, that's over 1 complaint per hour.
Talks about modifying the community standards is almost pointless. Right now the rule is Zero tolerance (no lawn decorations). The other end of the rule would be anything goes, as much as you want and whatever you want. But how do you meet somewhere in the middle? Can a list of acceptable decorations be created? Can the number of decorations be defined? Colors? Size? What is acceptable to one person may still be UNacceptable to someone else. And we've all seen what happens to neighborhoods where there are no rules.
Perhaps the only feasible compromise would be to remove ALL lawn decorations AND junk the anonomous complaint system. Take a look at one of the streets on the North Side that was apparently affected by the NO LAWN DECORATION policy. If you have access to Google Earth, take a look at 2244 Bachman Path in the Villages using the Street Level function. You may recognize the house as the one that HAD the bird that had to be removed. Strangely though, you may still be able to find a few (very few) lawn decorations up and down their street andIyou know what? it really doesn't look that bad without all the multitude of different decorations.
P.S. I wonder if that's what CDD 8 Supervisor Dennis Hayes really said. "Freaking issues" or was that the way it was paraphrased for the reader's. And still there were 2243 complaints received from CDD 8. See the map below for the location of CDD 8. We reside in CDD 7. And through just a little analsis, you'll see that there were no numbers for CDD 3, CDD 6, CDD 11 or the Lake Sumter Landing sections, yet there was something called the Lady Lake/Lake County portion of The Villages. Could this be the portion in the upper-right section?]
August 27, 2017
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