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East County Tuesday, Jul. 2, 2013 4 years ago

Residents form turnover task force

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

HERITAGE HARBOUR — Rob Bloom, Kevin Burke and Randall Parker admit they haven’t lived in Heritage Harbour since the community’s inception, like many residents have.

But, they all agree it’s time for change.

The developer, Lennar Homes, remains in control of the community’s homeowners associations. After more than a decade, it’s time to hand control over to residents, they say.

Late last month, the men launched their initial efforts to form a Turnover Task Force, which would gather information and make preparations for turnover of the homeowners association for Stoneybrook and for Heritage Harbour’s master association.

“The purpose of this (task force) is a seamless transition,” said Burke, a captain in the U.S. Coast Guard. “In my military experience, when you turn over any property, the amount of work that goes into it is not small. I think we need to go down this road.

“I came up with the task force with the idea of ‘Let’s invite everybody; let’s get the ball rolling,’” he said.

Heritage Harbour developer Lennar Homes still is building in its River Strand community, but its work within Stoneybrook’s boundaries is finished. Lennar has not given residents any definitive timeline for when turnover of the HOA to residents will occur.

“We don’t have any control,” Bloom said. “We’re about the transition. Maybe we can create some inertia (to make progress). It’s always good to be prepared.”

During an informational meeting June 18, at the Stoneybrook Rec Center, Heritage Harbour residents serving on HOA committees argued transition work had been done and should not be ignored. Attendees also questioned the committee leaders’ qualifications for leading such a task force, as well as how long they’ve lived in the community compared to committee leaders.

Attendees also suggested the committee should work with members of the community’s Advisory Council and existing committees, rather than “reinventing the wheel” with a task force.

Burke said he’s attended several homeowners association meetings and posed the question, ‘When is transition and what have we done (to prepare)?’” But, he said he left the meetings without specific answers.

Burke also said at the HOA committee meetings he attended he was not allowed to speak freely on the topic. In one meeting, he wasn’t allowed to speak at all.

Bloom agreed.

“We don’t have a format that allows us to ask (questions),” he said.

For those reasons, the task force is needed, organizers say.

“We would love to have the other groups join us in a format that is not controlled by Chapter 720 (which regulates homeowners associations),” Bloom said.

Burke attended an HOA meeting June 25, as requested by some attendees of the June 18 meeting.

“We agreed to work in concert with the HOA ,as I hope they will do with us,” Burke said.

Burke said he hopes the task force — which is not connected to the HOA — will be able to move forward quickly.

Task force organizers say they want to get residents involved in various aspects of transition, with task groups focusing on specific items that need to be addressed. Each task group would develop a checklist of items that need to be addressed before the community is handed over fully to residents.

They hope to set up those groups this month.

“My agenda is getting the community back to the people,” Burke said. “Eleven years is too long. (Representatives of Lennar) have told me (turnover will happen) in a year; we’re going to hold them to that.”

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].


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