Every so often we’re going to discuss Inverness Village Unit 4. Like today.
IV4. as the locals call it, is the place with hideous dirt roads that the county “owns” but doesn’t “maintain.”
That’s the official explanation. The unofficial one is the worst of all development train wrecks: People who pay $200K-plus to have houses built on sugar-sand roads, which alternate between snow drift consistency during dry spells and mudslides after summer rains.
IV4 residents have complained, but it’s only in recent months that those complaints are starting to get some traction.
A few weeks back I mentioned that a Hernando businessman, considered responsible for the IV4 mess, wrote an email to Commissioner Holly Davis requesting a sit down to work out all this unpleasantness. Davis said sure — if he brought the county a check to help pay for the studies that will determine what fixing this is really going to cost.
His email came after the county commission put a 90-day stop to all building permits in IV4. Plus, the county ratcheted up its code enforcement and cited the builder for allowing debris to pile up on lots or blow about in the neighborhood.
Then during last Tuesday’s board meeting, Davis issued an ultimatum to the man we’re talking about:
“...If you’re watching this, I have a message for you. There’s going to be a lot of difficulties from various angles coming your way. And I have it on good authority that all of that will go away if you come to the table with an equitable solution for the residents of Inverness Villages 4.”
Well, there’s a shot across the bow. I pressed Davis for details and received none, other than a suggestion that state agencies are taking a close look at IV4. Fines and investigations may be in the works.
Yet Davis is also suggesting that all that will “go away” if he comes to the table with an “equitable solution” that removes a piece of the financial burden off residents for getting this problem corrected.
That’s an interesting approach Davis and the county are taking and I’m cautiously all for it. It may work to get the builder to the table; meanwhile, people have bank loans outstanding on houses that are in various stages of completion in IV4, so time is an issue. It’s not just the builder with funds at stake.
Look. I’m not taking sides, though it may appear that I am. I’d just like to see a solution. Cuz this thing is a mess.
Credit to Commissioner Davis for her bold approach in trying to get a responsible party to pony up his portion. The county’s putting a stop to building permits no doubt has his attention.
And a slowdown in the economy actually works in the county’s favor. Let me explain.
A bewildering aspect of IV4 was why people continued to buy lots for houses on these awful roads. Logic boiled it down to one or both of two reasons:
— They were told something about the dirt roads getting paved one day that perhaps wasn’t entirely factual.
— Home lots were bought sight unseen and contracts signed for new houses the same way.
How else to explain it? A potential customer visiting Inverness Village 4 would have plenty of questions, the first being:
“What’s the story on these roads?”
Any answer but the obvious (“You don’t want to know”) should be treated with a raised eyebrow.
And we know people were buying home lots unseen across the county, including Inverness Villages 4.
This little slowdown in the market should at least give potential Inverness Village 4 buyers time to do a little checking, and then decide whether to move forward or not.
IV4 has Commissioner Holly Davis’ attention. Commissioners who zero in like that are laser focused on the prize, though getting these streets paved without a sizable chunk of change from homeowners seems like a tall order.
Let’s hope all involved figure it out. With so much on the county’s plate, these house-of-mirror scenarios are a drain on resources and energy. It’s in the best interest of all involved to find solutions in a hurry.
Until then, we’ll keep an eye on Inverness Village Unit 4. It’s worth our attention.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.