Anton Van Usen wants to have a chat.
And I’m all for it.
Van Usen is the not-developer at Inverness Villages 4, the place we’ve been writing about with the horrible public streets that somehow are the residents’ responsibility.
Commissioner Holly Davis and the county have been on Van Usen’s case trying to resolve the issues of poor travel and drainage, including holding up building permits.
Van Usen has largely ignored the county, other than sending sweet pleasantries about getting this all worked out while nothing is being worked out.
Davis and the county are talking tough but who knows how long that’ll go. Today’s County Commission agenda has an Inverness Villages 4 update that includes whether to continue the permit moratorium or not.
Good question. Let’s talk about it.
Inverness Villages 4 is a nightmare that most of us only have to read about. The story is lengthy, laborious, confusing and choppy.
Here’s the thing to know: A judge decades ago sided with the county. The public streets of Inverness Villages 4 are not taxpayer responsibility. If they’re getting paved, property owners of IV 4 pay the bill.
Van Usen’s company, DT Villages Eleven LLC, owns empty lots and Van Der Valk Construction is building homes on these horrible roads.
The county is trying to get Van Usen to the table and is threatening him with potential environmental fines from various agencies. I can’t be more specific than that because the county itself is a little vague.
They’ve temporarily red-tagged IV 4 building permits; the company says it has 19 homes and seven pool projects in abeyance.
Van Usen sent an email to Davis a few weeks ago asking for a sit-down. Davis replied sure — if you’re bringing a check for the special-assessment study so we can get a real idea of this cost.
That’s the last the county heard from the Van Usen crowd until the other day when Chris Matser, president of Van Der Valk Construction, sent an email to commissioners saying, hey, let’s be grownups and work this out.
“I would be more than willing to help achieve a positive outcome, as this would greatly benefit not only Citrus County, the current homeowners of the Inverness Village subdivision but also my buyers,” he wrote.
(Read: A “positive outcome” is one that benefits Van Usen, not the county.)
I wrote about Inverness Villages 4 in my Sunday Chronicle column. Van Usen sent me an email Monday asking to meet.
“If you really do care about the approx. 250 innocent new homeowners of Inverness Villages 4, who are in desperate need of the construction of paved roads and associated drainage, I will be happy to fill you in on the history of the role of all key players including me as multiple lot owner,” he wrote.
I responded with a Cattle Dog chat invite.
Unlike Commissioner Davis, I place no conditions on meeting with Van Usen. Besides, I only have one question:
How’d you do it?
How’d you get people to spend thousands and thousands of dollars building a house on a lime rock road that turns to slime in the summer rains?
Seriously, this has to be the best sales job of all time. Folks could have had nice homes built on paved roads but were convinced this was a sweeter deal. How did Van Usen explain the tens of thousands of dollars in special assessments that may be necessary to get the streets paved? Or did he have a different number and, if so, what was it based upon?
Inverness Village is nice and all that, but is it worth building a $200,000 home plus thousands more for streets and drainage? Wouldn’t a logical buyer ask the seller those details?
For those sight-unseen buyers, did Van Usen simply ignore the street issue altogether? I mean…if I’m living in Hialeah and look at Inverness on the map, surely they have paved streets in the neighborhoods, right?
This gets more interesting with each passing day. I hope Mr. Van Usen responds to my Cattle Dog invite.
He has my full attention.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.