Villages residents want answers to why sinkholes open in same spots

Four new sinkholes in Calumet Grove subdivision

A hole opens near homes in The Villages.
A hole opens near homes in The Villages.

THE VILLAGES, Fla. – Residents in the Calumet Grove subdivision within The Villages want to know why new sinkholes are opening up in the exact same spot where two homes were condemned in February, because of sinkholes.

In one of the condemned homes, there is a stair-like crack on the front of the house. With this new sinkhole that opened up and shut down 79th Mclawren Terrace, it now looks like the driveway could soon be caving in.

No evacuations have been ordered for the latest sinkholes, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

"A house and half away we got a hole in the ground. Of course I'm nervous," neighbor Sue Walters said. "We've only been here three years and I didn't know there were sinkholes here." 

Walters and other residents said they're not only nervous, but mad. 

"I'm pissed," she said. "You can tell I'm pissed. And we come here because it's a beautiful lifestyle, not so pretty right now when nobody is giving us answers."

Residents want answers. They want to know why the sinkhole opened up near the exact same spot in February and if this new sinkhole that opened on Monday is connected to the previous hole. They also want to know what caused the holes to open up to begin with. 

The answer matters because it depends whether the homeowners or The Villages foot the bill. 

"There was nothing to indicated anything had caused the sinkhole" to open, The Villages District 4 Supervisor Don Deakin said.

A sinkhole forms by collapsing into subterranean voids created by dissolution of limestone or dolostone or by subsidence as these strata are dissolved, according to a U.S. Geological Survey.

[Sinkholes: How do they form, what causes them]

"We want someone to decide what is going on, we want somebody to get it fixed, you can fight out who owes who afterwards," Walters added.

Walters said she believes the problems run much deeper than natural causes. Walters believes the holes formed because of an issue with the drainage system underneath. The question is: Did the sinkhole damage the pipes or did the damaged pies cause the sinkhole?

"I think it had to do with the hurricane, damage to the pipe," Walter said. 

[READ: A county-by-county look at reported sinkholes in Central Florida]

Deakin also says it's too early to tell if these new holes in the neighborhood are connected to the one in February. It's also too early to tell, he says, how long it will be until they fix it. 

Another spokesperson from The Villages says the hole that has shut down the road at 79th McLawren Terrace will be repaired and paid for by them, but the three smaller depressions that have opened up on private property will be up to the respected homeowners and their insurance companies to fix and pay.

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