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East County Wednesday, Apr. 9, 2014 3 years ago

Developer turns over land to Stoneybrook association

by: Amanda Sebastiano Staff Writer

HERITAGE HARBOUR — The Stoneybrook Homeowners Association reached its final step of maturity April 2, as the developer of its community turned over property to the association.

Ninety days after Stoneybrook residents elected their first resident-controlled board of directors, Lennar, the developer of Heritage Harbour, has turned over its assets within Stoneybrook, said Brenda Noellert, HOA manager at the Stoneybrook Recreation Center.

Prior to April 1, the HOA technically did not own any land outright. Now, the association owns the Stoneybrook Recreation Center and the land surrounding it, as well as the Stone Harbour Loop pool and other select parcels.

HOA President Tom Bakalar said the turnover should be unnoticeable for residents.

“Our intention is to manage the property at or better than the current level, making improvements that we can afford,” Bakalar said. “We, the HOA board, will proceed accordingly, and will try to make the best decisions we can as it regards HOA property.”

The only property Lennar will continue to own is the Florida Power and Light (FPL) Easement, which houses equipment used by the power company for the community. The designated piece of land gives FPL the right to install and maintain its electric facilities on the community’s premises.

Lennar did not return calls for comment. Deed changes for the properties had not been recorded by Manatee County by press time Tuesday.

Lennar representative Tony Burdett announced the decision by Lennar to relinquish involvement with Stoneybrook by forfeiting the property it owned in September after residents, corresponding by letters, requested — and even demanded — it.

Bakalar hopes to improve communication between the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District and the HOA, and thus provide clarity to residents about which entity they should contact about certain land parcels. In general, the CDD owns the land, including streets and sidewalks, within Heritage Harbour.

CDD Supervisor Michelle Patterson, following an April 1 meeting, suggested creating website pages and a newsletter for residents to explain the ownership changes and other happenings with the groups.

She and Bakalar hope providing clarity of property ownership will help bring the community together, for land ownership has been a topic of dissension between CDD and HOA members.

“Resident leaders could focus on a partnership that promulgates factual documents to homeowners,” Patterson said. “The purpose of any public communication should be to positively promote our community.”

7 — The number of months it took for Lennar to turn over land to the Stoneybrook Homeowners Association, after announcing the change would occur.

9 — The number of members on the Stoneybrook Homeowners Association board.

90 — The number of days Lennar had to turn over the land, once residents controlled the HOA board.

At the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District meeting April 1, supervisors focused their attention on their relationship with the Stoneybrook Homeowners Association.

For more than 10 years, the HOA has maintained common-area landscaping on behalf of the CDD in the community, but CDD supervisors voted March 4 for the CDD to handle future landscaping contracts.

Residents attending the Heritage Harbour South CDD meeting offered negative feedback about the decision, as well as the CDD’s decision last month to scrap a newly created joint landscape meeting between CDD and HOA members. It aimed to break communication barriers between the two groups.

The failure of the committee frustrated HOA menbers and CDD Supervisor Lee Bettes, who said residents told him of their distaste for the CDD’s decision. He also expressed his own negative feelings for the failed attempt.

Conversations returned to the topic throughout the meeting, and again, during an HOA update.

The agenda item, which CDD Vice-Chairwoman Michelle Patterson believes should be for educating the audience and the CDD with happenings in the HOA, quickly turned into another argument.

In response to the update, Patterson proposed more strict guidelines for HOA agenda items.

She believes the update frequently has been used as a source for venting, rather than an opportunity to provide facts to the audience.

The supervisors took no action on the idea.

Contact Amanda Sebastiano at [email protected].


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