In a surprising and contentious move, Lennar Homes announced it will turn over the Stoneybrook homeowners association to residents by the end of the year.
Lennar, the developer of Heritage Harbour and the communities within it, including Stoneybrook, has been in control of Stoneybrook's homeowners association for more than a decade.
A Lennar representative, Tony Burdett, traveled from Fort Myers to the Stoneybrook homeowners association meeting Tuesday night to make the announcement.
Dennis Colletti, owner of ICON Management Services, which manages the homeowners association, arranged for an audit firm, Stroemer & Company, to attend the meeting to inform Stoneybrook residents how such a transition might a occur.
But there was no telling the turnover was imminent until Burdett — citing a "threatening" letter from a group of residents calling for the developer's departure as the impetus for the decision — said so at the start of the meeting.
"We are sad we are transitioning now," said Burdett, who did not provide a date for the transition but said it would occur by the end of the year. "We were trying to help the homeowners association through a lawsuit. A small group of residents demanded turnover based on inacurrate information. Quite frankly, we didn't want to deal with it anymore."
Rob Bloom, co-creator of a task force made up of residents that sent Lennar a letter demanding its departure, expressed modest cheer now that the transition is imminent.
"I'm happy we get to control our own destiny," Bloom said. "But a lot of residents are afraid. I am afraid. There is a fear factor of the unknown."
Tom Bakalar of the homeowner's association's advisory council, which assists in running Stoneybrook, worries about the timing of Lennar's departure.
"Many of us don't want them to leave at this time," Bakalar said. "Be careful what you wish for. You might get it."
From here, Lennar will send out a notice announcing the date and time of an official turnover meeting.
Residents can apply to run for the homeowner's association board at that time.
The board will be selected at the turnover meeting.
Read the Sept. 26 East County Observer for more on this story.
Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].