A supervisor from Community Development District 1 expressed concern that aesthetic sensitivity in villages might be lost to strict legal advice.
Supervisor Bill Jenness previously sat on the Architectural Review Committee, the all-volunteer and villager council that reviews hundreds of requests from fellow citizens to modify their homes.
He spoke at the CDD 1 board meeting on Friday regarding Community Development District 12’s decision to employ a special hearing master to review residents’ requests, rather than using the ‘BOW. CDD 12 contracted with the Village Center Community Development District to hire a retired Lake County judge to serve as a special courtroom master.
Jenness said the Special Hearing Officer could certainly handle the legal aspects of the claim, but would almost certainly lack the sensitivity of CRA members for the unique standards that make The Villages so special.
“Aesthetics is what sets the ARC apart from an old common zoning board,” Jenness said.
Deputy District Manager Carrie Duckett said a number of options had been discussed in depth before the change was made. However, two undeniable facts motivated the decision:
• Homes south of State Road 44 have unique features that are not normally seen north of State Road 44. “It’s a whole different pattern to the south,” she said.
• Some IRC members said the board is getting too big. The ARC includes representatives from CDD 1 to 11 as well as a representative from Lady Lake / Lake County. Weekly meetings last several hours. Adding CDDs south of State Road 44 would make the board bigger and meetings longer.
Duckett added that appeals from the decisions of the special hearing master will be heard by the supervisory board of CDD 12. She also said that the special hearing master will follow the CRA manual, which is expected to meet aesthetic standards. by The Villages.
She added that the special courtroom master concept used in CDD 12 is not considered a replacement for the ARC north of State Road 44.