Seeking a path where none is found
Tuesday’s question: At what point does a government throw its hands in the air and say, “We’ve done our best. There’s nothing more we can do?”
And in specific terms of Inverness Villages 4, are we reaching that point?
Before all the non-Inverness folks swipe to your Next Door app, give me a second to explain why you should care about Inverness Villages 4 like it was your own neighborhood.
Actually, that’s the reason. It could be any neighborhood in this county. Just happened to be this Inverness Villages Unit 4 off Independence Highway in Inverness.
I’m not going through the whole history. But I will say this: It’s getting worse by the day and county officials, try as they might, are falling further and further behind. Everyone (but the developer, apparently) wants a solution. Nerves are frayed.
At the Chronicle I wrote hundreds of stories about isolated neighborhood issues: Roads, water, flooding, noise, dust and yahoos, to name a few. Nothing comes close to Inverness Villages 4. The developer is building and successfully selling houses in the desert. That’s the best way to describe these so-called streets.
It’s fair to ask, why would anyone spend good money to live on a horrible dirt road? Well, from what I’m hearing from the IV 4 neighbors, it’s a good bet the developer sold them more than just the extended warranty. Conversations at closing probably went something like this:
Buyer: “What’s up with these dirt roads?”
Developer: “We have champagne here for the occasion!”
Buyer: “Are these roads getting paved?”
Developer: “The pool is solar-heated!”
And on like that for 45 minutes. Or something similar. How else to explain so many people putting their retirement dreams into a $250,000 house on a street that’s not only thick dirt, but also floods in heavy rain and washes out their home’s foundation?
I doubt these folks were gullible. One or two maybe. Not dozens.
Oh, and the anticipated cost to pave the neighborhood with the proper drainage: $80,000 PER HOUSE. The county is trying to get a better estimate.
Meanwhile, the developer keeps selling lots and building houses, and that alone is driving some county commissioners crazy.
Commissioners are really hearing it from residents who acknowledge the county’s efforts but not seeing results.
“We need answers, not ‘we’re working on it,’” one Inverness Villages 4 resident told commissioners recently.
At last week’s board meeting, I witnessed a constant theme: Residents complaining about the developer building houses despite being in violation of Swiftmud rules, and county commissioners wanting to throw the developer into the brig.
“This was a con job and he’s conning people every single day,” Chairman Ruthie Davis Schlabach said.
But it was Commissioner Jeff Kinnard who cut to the chase:
“Let’s get that number and vote on it. Or let’s do nothing and move on.”
From my seat in the last row, I’ve noticed something about Kinnard. He’s not big on talking. He’ll jump right into a discussion but once debate turns to rhetoric, he shuts down. I sense that’s where he’s coming from on Inverness Villages 4. Enough talk.
Well. I know Commissioner Holly Davis is pulling her hair out trying to find a workable solution that doesn’t put homeowners underwater. She wants an Inverness Villages 4 update at each commission meeting to keep it at the forefront.
This is tough. What’s happening to these folks is unspeakable. Great introduction to Citrus County, their new home. Stuck in a house built on a sand dune.
The county government frantically wants to help in Inverness Villages 4. We’re all pulling for that. Eventually, though, Kinnard’s point will ring true.
Settle this and move on.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 35 years.