Polk residents told to stop cutting their grass near the water - WRBL

Polk residents told to stop cutting their grass near the water

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Mark Vandertie wants a safer path for his grandchildren to walk to the water at his new Island Lakes home in Winter Haven but the builder told him not to cut anymore because it's a wetlands violation. Mark Vandertie wants a safer path for his grandchildren to walk to the water at his new Island Lakes home in Winter Haven but the builder told him not to cut anymore because it's a wetlands violation.
Lauren O'Donnell is playing by the rules after being told she needed to stop cutting her grass near the water since it's a wetlands violation.  But she's afraid of the fines she may incur since some of her neighbors are not obeying the warning. Lauren O'Donnell is playing by the rules after being told she needed to stop cutting her grass near the water since it's a wetlands violation. But she's afraid of the fines she may incur since some of her neighbors are not obeying the warning.
POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Some Winter Haven homeowners are waist high in weeds as they wait for answers on whether they can cut their backyards.

About a month ago, the Island Lakes Homeowners Association and Southwest Florida Water Management District told some 40 homeowners to stop cutting the grass near the water.

It came after SWFMD figured out---many residents had been violating wetlands regulations for more than seven years.

I'll be darned if I'm going to let my grandkids walk through that,” Mark Vandertie, who recently purchased a home there, he said.

For those playing by the rules, the wait to learn whether they can now cut their back yards is getting old.

“We were really just waiting to see what they were going to say about everything,” Lauren O’Donnell said.

8 On Your Side got involved after a homeowner was fed up. We took homeowners’ concerns to the builder at their HOA meeting in early July. The group that showed up declared it's Adams Homes that fooled homebuyers into thinking cutting the grass was okay.

“You guys sold us a lot that was mowed and maintained as a lawn,” homeowner Sean Leader said at the meeting.

Tobi Butcher thought the pressure that night got homeowners somewhere.

But as the grass grows waist- high, there’s still no word out here on where this all stands.

“We’re waiting.” O’Donnel said.

But several neighbors out are not changing their mowing path quite yet.

Even though it's been spelled out cutting in the wetlands protected area is no longer acceptable...some are disregarding the warning. That’s another reason Lauren O'Donnel wants answers fast.

“We were told that if one person was in violation or if everybody was in violation that we would all share whatever fine there was,” she said. “But we're hoping to avoid that but apparently other people aren't concerned about it.”

SWFMD and Adams Homes held a private meeting Tuesday morning. A spokesperson for SWFMD said since Adams Homes called the meeting, it would be the builder’s place to comment on what transpired. However, Adams Homes’ area spokesman Fred Lintz refused to comment on the meeting, other than confirming it took place.

Related Story Winter Haven residents face Wetlands violations

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