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East County Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 11 months ago

Stormwater management up for debate in Heritage Harbour communities

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Heritage Harbour community considers shift in HOA responsibilities.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

The Heritage Harbour Master Association, the umbrella homeowners association for the River Strand, Stoneybrook and Lighthouse Cove communities, seeks to take over management of all Heritage Harbour stormwater systems beginning in January 2021.

In a letter dated Nov. 1, the association formally requested the change to the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District, which maintains stormwater systems within the Stoneybrook and Lighthouse Cove communities.

River Strand’s homeowners’ association, River Strand Golf and Country Club Inc., maintains its stormwater systems; the Heritage Harbour Master Association maintains systems in common areas within Heritage Harbour.

Heritage Harbour Master Association President Gene Zeiner said his association has explored the concept for about one year, and it believes making the change will create more uniformity of care for the stormwater system, create cost savings to residents and provide a quicker, unified response should a disaster occur.

“If you think about it right now, three entities are trying to control one whole area of stormwater management, and the whole stormwater system is interconnected,” Zeiner said.

At their Nov. 5 meeting, Heritage Harbour South CDD supervisors seemed agreeable to the shift in responsibility but requested more information for the December board meeting.

“Having all the stormwater management in Heritage Harbour under one umbrella makes sense to me,” CDD Chairman Tad Parker said.

Zeiner urged the board to take action soon to ensure there will be enough time to work out details before the various boards begin planning their 2021 fiscal year budgets this summer.

“We need to push it forward quickly,” Zeiner said.

Zeiner said the boards must work together to figure out financing and other details.

For example, the CDD funds its stormwater through property assessments, though the HOA does not have that capability. The CDD could hire the Master Association to manage the systems, but the look of that arrangement needs to be resolved.

Zeiner said the Master Association’s current plan is to spread the costs for stormwater evenly among property owners, though that could change. How the Heritage Harbour Golf Club would contribute to the system management would also need to be determined.

“No hard and fast decisions have been made,” Zeiner said.

River Strand Golf and Country Club Inc. President Mike Fisher said his board had not yet discussed the proposed change but noted that a board vote would be necessary for stormwater to be removed as a line item in its budget and changed for payment to the Heritage Harbour Master Association.

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