HERITAGE HARBOUR — Owners of the Stoneybrook Golf Club have taken action to protect their assets and prevent the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District from increasing their annual CDD assessments by about 500% — or $35,000.
Stoneybrook Investors LLC filed Nov. 14 an action for declaratory judgment and damages exceeding $15,000. The lawsuit questions the legality of a special assessment being imposed on the golf course, the legality of the assessment methodology used and the legality of the calculation of the assessment amount.
A judge now will decide whether the Stoneybrook Golf Course can be assessed for water-management purposes, said attorney David Wilcox, who is representing the golf course on the issue.
“We don’t believe the golf course is subject to being assessed at all,” Wilcox said. “The golf course isn’t just another piece of property there that is a burden to the development. The golf course is the development. It’s a real enhancement to the entire project.”
The Heritage Harbour South CDD always has assessed the clubhouse, maintenance structures and other facilities, and Stoneybrook Investors has no objection to paying assessments for facilities, Wilcox said. However, the CDD never has assessed the golf course specifically for storm water management, and Stoneybrook Investors does not feel the new assessment on the 135-acre course is fair or legal.
Golf Club General Manager Chris Brandt agreed, noting the golf course provides benefit to the Heritage Harbour community, not only aesthetically but also from a water management perspective. The course absorbs rainfall and helps prevent flooding, he said.
“We want to be a big part of this community,” Brandt said. “The golf course is an extremely important part of the overall water management system, and we maintain that golf course. The water management system, as designed, ceases to function as designed if the golf course is not maintained.”
Brandt also said such an increase in expenses could have a dramatic impact on the course’s ability to do business profitably.
Heritage Harbour South CDD attorney Ken van Assenderp said he had not yet received the lawsuit and could not comment.
Mark and Cindy Pentecost, owners of It Works Global, purchased the club Sept. 30, 2010, for $3.48 million.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
Lighthouse leaders petition assessments
The board of directors for single-family homes in the Lighthouse Cove community in Heritage Harbour has agreed to petition the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District regarding what it believes are unfair assessments regarding the storm water management system, board member Joe Ramsey said.
“The real issue with Lighthouse Cove is we are unfairly getting assessed taxes very disproportionate to the benefits received,” Ramsey said. “This community represents on 40 acres — 5% — of the 945 out in Heritage Harbour. Yet, we pay over 20% of the taxes for the storm water management cost. Yet, we only have 2% of the wetlands.”
An attorney representing Lighthouse Cove said the board believed the new assessment methodology to be unfair.
No lawsuit has been filed.