The Villages Voice - August 2020

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Town Hall Question and Answer Summary - July 2020

by VHA Staff



The VHA wants to thank the following people for providing answers for VHA members and Villages residents for this VHA Town Hall: Dr. Gary Lester – Vice President Community Relations, Richard Baier – Villages District Manager, Lt. Robert Siemer – District Lieutenant from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department, Bradley Arnold – Sumter County Administrator, Kris Kollgaard – Lady Lake City Manager and the County Tax Collector offices for Sumter, Lake and Marion. 1. What are the plans for the property that was formerly the Hacienda Hills Country Club? Residents view this as an amenity that should remain.      Dr. Lester: Plans are currently being analyzed for a potential redevelopment of the site. Please read the Daily Sun for updates. The Championship Golf Course will remain open for play. 2. Please explain the increase this year in the fees to play Championship golf.      Dr. Lester: The goal is sustainability. The increase in green fees allows the country clubs to be sustainable by covering the increase in expenses and reoccurring costs of labor, materials and utilities while providing a quality golf experience. Our country clubs’ green fees continue to remain a better value than other comparable courses. Also, our country clubs are somewhat unique in that residents only pay a green fee when they use their own golf cart and have access to 12 country clubs. 3. Please explain the procedure for removing debris such as dead palm fronds that drop on the golf courses. A resident states that the fronds from those trees blow onto their property and at times onto screens.      Richard Baier: With regard to executive golf courses, the District removes fallen limbs and branches as well as palm fronds from the course itself and leaves/palm fronds on private property are the responsibility of the private property owner.      Dr. Lester: Golf course maintenance teams remove debris from the golf courses daily. At times, the debris clean up can take long depending on recent storms and weather patterns. Homeowners adjacent to the golf course can call the country club golf shop with questions regarding debris specific to their property. 4. What is the projected completion date for the USPS on La Grande Ave?      Dr. Lester: Construction is underway and should be ready for service to residents this Fall. 5. What are the plans for the space now that the Katie Belle’s restaurant is closed?      Dr. Lester: Plans are currently being analyzed for a potential redevelopment. Please follow the Daily Sun for updates. 6. Please provide updates for the following:     a. Completion of the turnpike bridge.      Dr. Lester: Depending on weather, the bridge should open before the end of the year.     b. In addition to Publix, the retailers coming to Magnolia Plaza.      Dr. Lester: Publix, Citizens First Bank, Heartland Dental, Willie Jewell’s, Reveille Café, Lunar Nails, SafeShip and Salon Jaylee. There are a significant number of other potential tenants currently under consideration. 7. Are there plans to address increased multi-modal traffic on Morse Blvd by Osceola Hills and the Burnsed tunnel when the Chitty Chatty Bridge opens?      Richard Baier: There are no plans to improve or otherwise redesign the multi-modal path as this will be no more heavily traveled than any other pathway in the current middle of The Villages. 8. Questions/Concerns regarding the Lofts in Brownwood include:     a. Will the leases be long term with no ability to sublet?      Dr. Lester: Leases are for one year with no ability to short-term sublet.     b. Are the amenities fees covered in the rent or separate?      Dr. Lester: Amenity fees are listed separately on the monthly billing to renters. Renters do not have the option to opt out of paying amenity fees as it is part of the lease.     c. Will the increase in Loft residents create overcrowding in our recreation centers and golf courses?         Dr. Lester: No, the Lofts complex adds an additional pool and recreation center to the community for use by all Villagers. The golf courses have plenty of capacity to welcome additional players. 9. How will the noise from the Federal Correctional Complex loud speakers at Coleman be addressed/reduced as The Villages builds homes closer to this facility?      Dr. Lester: Appropriate buffering will be considered. 10. Since the exercise equipment at Lake Miona is available for the residents, please explain why the children’s park in Sumter Landing is closed?      Richard Baier: Since it is open to the public there is limited oversight of users unlike other District amenities where a user must be a resident or eligible guest to use them. The decision was made to have the playground closed until such time as the town squares fully reopened. Also, children are more likely to have hand to mouth contact than adults. 11. What is the plan for the large building across from MVP Athletic Club in Brownwood?      Dr. Lester: That will be home to a new Street of Dreams scheduled to open early next year. 12. When will the ladder at the Chula Vista pool be completed?      Richard Baier: There was damage to the pool wall which required removal of the ladder for repair. The necessary repairs are anticipated to be completed by July 21st. 13. Why is the Chula Vista pool not open until 11:00 PM as stated on the sign?      Richard Baier: This is a temporary closure to be in line with all the other pool closures due to COVID-19. 14. Can disposable toilet seat covers be placed in the Villages District properties restrooms?      Richard Baier: Due to the hundreds of locations throughout the community that would fall under our purview, there are high supply costs associated with the toilet covers and it is not a good use of District funds. In addition, the covers present additional maintenance concerns by clogging toilets. 15. Please explain why amenities fees were collected while facilities were closed due to COVID-19?      Richard Baier: The amenity fee is a monthly requirement per your contract with the Declarant and then later conveyed through an amenity purchase to the District. The amenity fee is not specific as to one or more amenities being open or available to a resident, or resident groups. Natural disasters such as hurricanes (i.e. Hurricanes Irma and Matthew) have also rendered wholesale recreational closures based upon public health and safety. The District has not saved any money during the closures of any of the recreational amenity facilities. All of the facilities required maintenance during all or part of the pandemic events. A review of our website indicates open play courts, golf, trails, fishing ponds; golf and conservation areas were open. Further, the District continued to pay the bond payments as associated with the purchase of such amenities (and required by Bond Covenants), all utility bills, grounds and facility ongoing maintenance contracts. In addition, the District completed nearly 600k worth of un-budgeted Coronavirus internal sanitizing and aerial spraying. Further, The District has to comply with the tiered furlough policies as required by the Governor. For these reasons, a full or partial amenity fee is not permissible or practical. 16. New residents are concerned about registering cars and obtaining a Florida driver license. When will the Annex on Morse Blvd & CR 466 be opened? County Tax Collector Offices: The Annex on Morse Blvd & CR 466 is temporarily closed until further notice. New Sumter County residents may obtain a Florida driver's license and register vehicles by calling for an appointment in the Villages Sumter Service Center (352) 689-4540 located at 7375 Powell Road, Wildwood. Required documents are listed online at Lake County residents may call (352) 343-9602 to make an appointment at 1720 No. Citrus Blvd, Leesburg. Required documents are listed online at Marion County residents may obtain a driver’s license by walk-in only at 6154 FL-200, Ocala. For information call (352)368-8200. Required documents are listed online at 17. Bikers peddle their bicycles through stop signs. It appears that this violation is not enforced. What report shows policy and number of tickets given?      Lt. Siemer: The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office holds all vehicles accountable for traffic law including bicycles. If law enforcement officers see a bicycle violating a stop sign, they will and have stopped the violator. The Sheriff’s Office conducts over 20,000 traffic stops every year. Our computer system does not allow us to isolate for bicycles. 18. Is there an update on what will be replacing the grocery store that closed behind the Miller Ale House in the new plaza on Hwy 441?      Kris Kollgaard: The developer of this plaza will be searching for another tenant. 19. Can the traffic and street signs along Rio Grande Ave especially by the Rio Grande pool and postal station be cleaned or replaced? Many are dirty and pitted.      Kris Kollgaard: A representative from the City of Lady Lake will observe signage and determine what needs to be done. 20. Can a traffic light be installed at the intersection of Buena Vista Blvd and the entrance to the Village of Harmeswood of Belle Aire for those residents who must cross Buena Vista Blvd to retrieve their mail?      Bradley Arnold: No, it would not meet the traffic signalization warrants. 21. When will The Villages side roads be resurfaced after Buena Vista and Morse Blvd have been completed?      Bradley Arnold: This fiscal year (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020) preservation and resurfacing occurred on the District roads that Sumter County maintains, and the same will be true next fiscal year (October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021). This work was not dependent on the completion of the rehabilitation work on Buena Vista and Morse Boulevards. 22. Is there a regular schedule for street cleaning and cleaning debris out of storm drains particularly in the Sumter County area of the Villages north of CR 466 where there are many older trees?      Bradley Arnold: Yes. The upcoming work will be the districts north of East CR 466 will have streets swept the week of July 20-24. The contractor will be completing the work on the districts between East CR 466 and CR 466A the week of July 13-17. 23. Can a blinking left turn signal be installed at the intersection of East Bound CR 466A to turn left onto North Morse Blvd?      Bradley Arnold: County survey has shown that the corner was once with a blinking left turn signal. The location created many accidents and a solid left turn arrow was installed, thus making the corner safer.