Retirement haven hunts violators: No children allowed!

From behind the wheel of his minivan, Bill Szentmiklosi scours the streets of Sun City in search of zoning violations like unkempt yards and illegal storage sheds. Mostly, though, he is on the lookout for that most egregious of all infractions: children.

With a clipboard of alleged violations to investigate, he peers over fences and ambles into backyards of one of America’s pioneer retirement communities, a haven set aside exclusively for adults, where children are allowed to visit but not live…

But it is when he strides up to a home, dressed in shorts, sandals and a polo shirt, and knocks on the door that his detective work really begins. He tells the suspected violator that a neighbor has complained and he asks gentle questions to get to the bottom of things, all the while peering around for signs of youthful activity. His work is helped by a simple reality: children are hard to hide.

They leave tracks and make unique sounds. Newborns bellow, toddlers shriek and teenagers play music that is not typical around Sun City…

The vigorous search for violators of Sun City’s age rules is about more than keeping loud, boisterous, graffiti-scrawling rug rats from spoiling residents’ golden years, although that is part of it. If Sun City does not police its population, it could lose its special status and be forced to open the floodgates to those years away from their first gray hair.

The end result would be the introduction of schools to Sun City, then higher taxes and, finally, an end to the Sun City that has drawn retirees here for the last half-century.

To remain a restricted retirement community, at least 80 percent of Sun City’s housing units must have at least one occupant who is 55 or older, allowing for younger spouses or adult children. But the rules are clear on one thing: no one, absolutely no one, who is a teenager, an adolescent, a toddler, a newborn, any form of child, may call Sun City home.

RTFA. Interesting to say the least.

I’ve never considered living in a retirement community of any kind. I suppose it might be a possibility if I needed some sort of managed care that couldn’t be provided for the same cost in my home.

I live in a pretty diverse rural community, now. Maybe a 100-120 families. Probably half are originally owner-builders though that has changed as families move out, move in. They often are extended families, 2 or 3 or even 4 generations living together.

Some know each other well. Most of us at least wave and know each other by sight. Houses are far enough apart to merit the classification of “sprawl” by textbook sociologists who never got round to deciding how they feel about living cheek-by-jowl next to someone whose music sucks. Young families and geezers are as mixed as our ethnic identities, choices in jobs and cars.

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