EAST COUNTY — In a surprise, non-agenda decision, the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District board moved to address speeding, a long-standing issue for residents.
The unanimous decision, made after an abrupt motion by Supervisor Richard Lane, sets all speed limits within Stoneybrook and Lighthouse Cove at 25 mph and speed limits outside the gates — except near parks and ball fields — at 30 mph.
The district will also buy two radar-speed signs, which keep data-monitoring speeding trends and take pictures of speeding vehicles.
One sign will be outside Stoneybrook’s gates, and another will be inside. The signs are moveable, so their locations can change.
Currently, there is no consistent speed limit throughout Heritage Harbour and its communities.
“Addressing speeding in our community is critical,” Lane said.
To save money, the district will relocate already existing signs throughout Heritage Harbour to their correct locations.
Based off recommendations from District Engineer Rick Schappacher, four 25 mph signs outside the gates will be moved inside, while four 30 mph signs inside the gates will be moved outside.
With Heritage Harbour’s developer, Lennar, recently announcing it will turn over Stoneybrook’s homeowners association to residents, supervisors vowed to use the sign issue as a place for collaboration in the community.
Because the item was not on the agenda, supervisors opened the discussion to the public.
All who spoke supported the decision to address speeding, but some wondered how the problem would be enforced.
“Doing this without enforcement means nothing,” said Kevin Burke, a Stoneybrook resident. “You have a one-prong solution.”
The speed-radar signs have the ability to capture trends, so supervisors said they have the ability to contact the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office to patrol at a specific, high-impact day and time.
“Enforcement is the next step,” Lane said.
The speed-sign changes fit into a larger study Schappacher conducted Aug. 22 and Aug. 30 — at the board’s request — analyzing roadway deficiencies and sign compliance within district property.
Schappacher presented a chart that listed recommended repairs, including cracks and standing water on sidewalks along Heritage Isles Way, trees that impede streetlights and damaged signs.
The study found 30 non-compliant stop signs — some were not the required height, others had cleanliness and visibility issues.
Supervisors voted to allow staff to begin repair work on the most critical non-compliant items using funds — not to exceed $8,140 — in the fiscal year 2013-14 budget.
After staff completes that work, supervisors will consider other items.
“Our engineer brings us critical stuff,” said Supervisor Lee Bettes. “We need to address these things now, especially ones that might present a hazard.”
Greg Cox, district manager, said the deficiencies shouldn’t be viewed as failure by the district to maintain its property.
“Over the years, the Department of Transportation continually changes its standards,” Cox said. “We will do continual inspections to make sure we are in compliance.”
In other business:
• Supervisors addressed complaints of leaking water that is damaging condominiums on Fairway Cove Lane in Heritage Harbour by agreeing to clear an overloaded pipe believed to be causing the problem. District Engineer Rick Schappacher recommended the district pay no more than $1,400 to clear the pipe. The pipe is not on district property, but it is part of its stormwater system, so supervisors have the authority to address it, said Andy Cohen, district attorney.
• After meeting with Tony Burdett of Lennar, Cohen confirmed the district and the county have a traffic interlocal agreement. This gives the county the ability to police the district’s roadways.
Cohen reported that Burdett said he would tell contractors who use district roadways to drive their trucks on Kay Road, instead.
• Supervisors voted to increase the number of treatments its wetlands and stormwater lakes receive to defeat invasive species from six to eight per year. The added treatments will cost the district $10,400.
• Supervisors approved the continuation of an existing agreement with Stoneybrook Golf Club that allows the golf club to permit divers into CDD-owned lakes, on occasion, to collect golf balls. Revenues are shared with the CDD.