of The Villages News
By Beta Minton
Published August 14, 2018
Village of Alhambra residents packed Friday morning’s
Community Development District 2 Board of Supervisors meeting, angry over a
problematic pond drained repeatedly by sinkholes.
“The pristine pond is gone and now we have a mud hole,” said
Phillip Hays, a 13-year resident of the Village of Alhambra,
speaking up for his numerous neighbors who forced staffers to
rush and find more chairs to accommodate the large crowd.
Hays brought with him to the meeting a sign that has been on
display in his yard that asks, “As a property owner I have to
meet Villages Standards on my property. So why does The Villages
not have to meet same standards on taking care of our pond?”
Residents said there have been 18 sinkholes at Lago De Leon.
Hurricane Irma prompted numerous sinkholes that drained the
pond. But the sinkholes have been frequently occurring through
Tom Clark, president of the Alhambra Social Club, said his
biggest concern has been home values. He pointed out that some
owners paid $32,000 extra for the privilege of living on the
“With this pond being completely empty and an eyesore, our
home values are going down the toilet,” Clark said.
Lago De Leon has been drained by a series of sinkholes in
the Village of Alhambra.
Colette Marini said her mother worked “very hard” during her life, paid the
$32,000 premium and now is bedridden. The daughter said she can’t even “pull up
the blinds” to allow her mother to see “the view” for which she paid. Marini
teared up when she described her mother’s predicament. She echoed Clark’s fears
about falling home values and said she doubted they’d ever reclaim the value of
Residents claimed one house is uninhabitable because of sinkholes and the grass
behind the house is now waist high.
Sam Wartinbee of District
Property Management confirmed the sinkhole formed on the night
of July 25 or day of July 26. He was away on vacation and
admitted that his staff did not report the sinkhole “as they
Testing with ground penetrating radar was to begin Friday.
Results from the testing should come back next week, Wartinbee
said. It is expected that the engineering firm doing the testing
will make a recommendation about what to do next at the
Supervisor Bryan Lifsey pointed out that ponds in the older
sections of The Villages do not have the membrane lining as in
the newer sections. The board previously had considered putting
in a lining, but decided the price was too high.
Lifsey asked Wartinbee how much has been spent through the years
on repairs at the pond. Wartinbee said he did not know the
total, but cited repairs that cost $7,500 and $11,000.
Supervisor Marty Rothbard followed up and asked that the cost of
all of the repairs be totaled up and communicated back to the
Village of Alhambra residents packed the District Office
Supervisor Barton Zoellner feared “astronomical” costs of repairs, such as the
more than half million dollar hit being felt in Community Development District 4
after sinkholes struck in February in the Village of Calumet Grove.
District Manager Richard Baier said it would be important to gather all of the
information before making a decision.
Hays had a warning for the board.
“We are done with Band-Aid approaches. There’s more sinkholes coming,” he said.