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This purple martin house is the cause of a new policy in Waterlefe.
East County Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2016 4 years ago

Perch for purple martins prevails in Waterlefe

Tall bird house in the deed-restricted community provides seed for compromise.
by: Jessica Salmond Staff Writer

After pecking away for more than an hour during a Waterlefe Golf and River Club Community Development District meeting March 21, a solution finally was hatched.

The birdhouse on Sand Crane Court would have to go.

A resident had complained to the design review board after her neighbor put up the tall purple martin birdhouse.

Purple martin, stock photo from
Purple martin, stock photo from

The board, a committee of the Master Property Owners Association, then brought the

matter to the Community Development District during its meeting because it was located in a CDD easement.

Design chairwoman Michaela Valletta delivered some news at the meeting that ruffled a few feathers.

“It looks like a flag pole,” Valletta said of the birdhouse. “It needs to be removed.”

Only a few days passed, though, before a compromise was struck.

“There are some things you fight to the death over and other things you compromise.” Bob Griswold, MPOA President.

Rather than chop down the home of several birds, MPOA President Bob Griswold and CDD Chairman Ken Bumgarner said the property owner could instead landscape around the pole to make it look more attractive and uniform to the area’s aesthetics.

“There’s over 600 owners here in Waterlefe, there’s a dozen (birdhouses) in the community,” Griswold said. “We’re not looking to punish the folks who enjoy them.”

Griswold assembled a committee to write a new policy into the covenants about birdhouses, for there currently are no restrictions. The policy would include requirements for landscaping around the poles.

Some of the other existing birdhouses have been in the community for years.

“This isn’t something you go to war over,” Griswold said. “But if it is important to that one individual… in the eyes of the person complaining ... this might be a nuisance.”

Although there are no specific restrictions in the Waterlefe Golf and River Club property owner’s covenants, there are restrictions on nuisances.

“No one is anti-bird,” Valletta said. “(A birdhouse) isn’t reflected in our guidelines. We are a deed-restricted community. Whenever a resident brings something up, I go back to the guidelines.”

Other supervisors weren’t certain it should be a CDD issue, but District Manager Greg Cox said it was because it was supposedly located in a CDD easement and could potentially interfere with maintenance.

Supervisor Rosalyn Warner appropriately summarized the event.

“We’re opening a can of worms with these bird houses,” she said.

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