The first step in a long process toward Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club residents gaining more control of their roads and gates to enhance security measures was successful at a small legislative issues workgroup meeting this morning at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall.
Community Development District 6 Chairman Richard Williams is leading an effort to get the Florida Legislature to approve a bill at its 2015 session that would allow the CDDs to transfer the roads and control of the roads over to Lakewood Ranch homeowner associations.
Transferring ownership of the roads, though, is a long way off for most of the Lakewood Ranch CDDs.
That’s because the roads were paid with bonds through the CDD taxing districts that residents are still paying off. The roads and current ownership structure of the roads must remain intact until those bonds are paid off.
While the CDDs own the roads and bonds are being paid for with CDD taxing dollars, they are publicly dedicated roads and the gates that sit at the entrances of the country club can’t be used to turn away certain maintenance vehicles or tighten up security measure, for instance, that could only allow visitors access to the community if permission is granted by residents over the phone.
“No one has said they wouldn’t want more security or more control over the roads,” said CDD 5 Treasurer Alan Silverglat.
Residents, though, would be responsible for future assessments involved with being responsible for road maintenance if ownership of the roads is ever transferred.
Williams urged the committee to realize those issues don't need to be addressed any time soon.
CDD 5 bonds aren’t paid off until 2031 and CDD 6 bonds don’t expire until 2034.
“We’re way ahead of ourselves,” Williams said. “This discussion should take place in 2030. We’re just trying to get legislation passed that would even allow this discussion to happen."
The three-member workgroup unanimously agreed to move forward, allowing William’s bill to be reviewed by attorney Andy Cohen before it’s reviewed by Manatee County Commissioner and East County resident Vanessa Baugh, other Manatee County officials and then the CDD boards for their review and blessing in September before taking the proposal to the Manatee County Legislative Delegation in December.
For more information, pick up a copy of next week's East County Observer.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].