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Sarasota Thursday, Jun. 17, 2010 7 years ago

Homeowners say plant kills crossed the line

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Some homeowners in an Osprey community claim actions by the county and their homeowners association have decreased their property values.

“They didn’t have to do this,” said Curt Kennedy. “This is vindictiveness.”

Kennedy is a Rivendell homeowner, who, unknowingly, had landscaping that encroached on the development’s nature reserves.

After receiving a call from a homeowner who reported the encroachment, Andrea Lipstein, a county environmental supervisor, asked the Rivendell Community Association to conduct an official survey behind eight of the homes that had vegetation crossing over the borderline. If any non-native plants spilled onto the nature reserve, she said the homeowners association was required to kill those plants.

Russ Hoffman, the association’s environmental manager, found St. Augustine grass, some tropical palm trees and Mexican petunias that went over property lines, so the county instructed him to spray the plants with caustic chemicals.

It was determined that the homeowners were not at fault, because Lennar Corp., which developed Rivendell, laid sod over the boundary lines behind some homes. The non-native plants had grown 2 to 10 feet onto the reserves.

The St. Augustine grass had been encroaching on the nature reserves since Rivendell was built in 2003.

“Something that was OK for seven years, they had to mess with,” Kennedy said. “Would the world end if this had been left alone?”

The homeowners association planted some native shrubs and trees behind Kennedy’s and others’ homes that had non-native plants over the boundary line.

But Kennedy said one of the workers who planted them said he was only instructed to water them once, when they were being planted.

“The fact that it was green was nice, but now I’ve got dead and dying plants behind my home,” he said. “There must be someone sane who would say (the encroachment) didn’t matter.”

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