TO: ALL OWNERS
RE: AMENDING OUR DECLARATIONS.
Our Declaration of Condominium was filed in January of 1971. A plat map attached to those Declarations said, “all lots shown on this plat shall be used exclusively for recreational camping.” The original Rules and Regulations talked about “modern travel trailers” and went on to provide: “No permanent or semi-permanent structures may be erected on any condominium unit or the limited common element appurtenant thereto.”
We have come a long way from the 1971 campground contemplated by the Declaration. What we have now is a thriving, growing community with beautiful permanent homes and massive RVs.
Unfortunately, we have never really re-visited our Declaration to reflect where we are no, which is definitely not a 70’s campground. The changes proposed in the amendments will bring our Declarations into alignment with what Windmill is today and also with the Florida Condominium laws that apply to us. They will also allow us to address the owners’ desires to have more amenities, more freedom, and more functional space.
Initially, we were looking at amendments to address liability issues arising out of use of the waterway. We wanted to reduce or eliminate the Association’s risks of suit and liability in this area and hopefully reduce the Association’s general liability insurance premiums. In researching this issue, we discovered a lawsuit filed in 1992 and decided in 1996, where the St. Lucie Circuit Court determined in a Final Judgment that “the waterway and seawall are included as common elements within the Declaration of Condominium.” One of the amendments we propose says what the Court said.
In researching the ownership of the waterway, we discovered another case decided in June of 1997 on an arbitration Petition that determined that our Board did not have the authority to permit/allow docks and lifts to be built in the waterway because our Declaration did not say the waterway was a limited common element. The arbitrator allowed the existing docks to stay but told the Board no more docks and lifts in our waterway. The amendments we propose fix this problem
After all this, this Association was sued by a plaintiff who claimed to have been injured on a dock in our waterway. That case settled, but it was that event that prompted this Board’s investigation.
We as a community are now faced with doing the right thing and doing what should have been done years ago when it was determined in court that the seawall and waterway were common elements. Our association needs to amend the Declaration to provide specifically that the seawall and waterway are common elements and also to provide that portions of the waterway are limited common elements allowing docks and lifts.These changes will fix this mess that has been lingering for over 20 years. Continuing to allow docks to be built in the waterway is not an option for this Board. We know what the arbitrator decided, and we are going to abide by that decision until the Declaration and rules are amended. As the past has already shown us, continuing to allow docks to be built without these changes, will only lead to future lawsuits against the Association. We have been lucky so far, and we are hopeful that luck has given us this time to correct our course.
As Board members, we are charged with the responsibility to protect this Association, all the Owners (and the property that we ourselves own). Protecting against lawsuits and casualties is the single most important thing a Board member can do to preserve the life that we all sought when we chose to live here. Voting yes to amend our Declaration is the first step to insure we protect what we have and give us the freedom to continue to grow in the future knowing the past is finally behind us!
Your Board of Directors
Association- Our association is made up of our owners. Every owner of each lot has the right to one vote, for example, when amending our documents. The association,
(our owners) is charged with the responsibility to pay for the expenses to maintain, repair and replace the Common Elements of Windmill Village.
The Board of Directors- the Board of Directors is elected (volunteer) members of the Association, who are charged with the fiduciary responsibly to the Association and every owner to protect your assets and uphold the Declarations, the Florida Condominium laws that apply to Windmill Village and our Rules and Regulations.
Common element –Common elements are the portions of our park and recreation center that every owner shares the use and expenses of. Examples are the clubhouse and the surrounding grounds, pool, bath houses, boat ramp, dog walk, mailboxes, streetlights, paved roads, etc.
Limited Common element – Limited Common elements are the portions of our park that are for “exclusive “use by each lot (unit) owner. This would be your grass area (or pavers) that surround your concrete pad or home. This area is for an owner’s exclusive use and enjoyment. An example of Limited Common maintained by the Association is our lawns.
Seawall- our seawall prevents the adjacent land from collapsing into our canal and/or the Indian River. Our seawall is Common Element and the expense of maintaining it is a common expense shared by all members of the association.
Waterway- Our waterway is the canal and is part of Windmill Village. The ground beneath the water is Common element of the Association.
Florida Statute 718- This defines the laws pertaining to Condominiums in the state of Florida and along with our Rules and Regulations, is how we govern our Association.
Governing Documents- Our Declaration of Condominium, Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws are the governing documents of our Association. Originally written in 1971, these documents can and have been amended over time to reflect the needed changes in Windmill Village.
Lot – The lot as shown on our plat is the property divided into 168 separate parcels that make up your property lines. The lot is the property that is designated for your exclusive use only. This is part of the Limited Common element.
Unit- The units as originally and still today are defined in our documents, as the concrete pads under your home or RV. This is the property that “you” own.
Appurtenances- The definition for this purpose…an improvement to a property which then becomes the legal property of what it was improved on. An example would be a dock added to your property.
There are 7 (seven) changes on the ballot to be voted on. Each question on the ballot clarification below is listed 1-7 with the new wording then an explanation for each ballot question. In the body of the proposed changes, underlining indicates new language and striking through (example) indicates deletion of existing language.
1) Do you approve the proposed amendment change to Section 2.4(b) of the Declaration of Condominium to clarify what costs is a common expense?
2.4. “Common Expenses” means the expenses for which the unit owners are liable to the Association including:
(b) Expenses of maintenance, repair and replacement of the common elements, portions of the limited common elements and the portions of the condominium unit to be maintained by the Association.
This section defines what Common Expenses the Association is responsible to maintain, repair and/or replace. This amendment redefines the limited common element in our park by adding the words “portions of’. Limited Common element is later defined in amendments sections 5.1, 5.2(a).
By adding “portions thereof” we are able to provide in later sections that Owners are responsible to repair and replace what they build on their Units and what they are allowed to build on or in the Limited Common elements associated with their Units and Lots. It also addresses the question of what the Association is required to insure and what the Owners are required to insure.
2) Do you approve the proposed amendments to Sections 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8 of the Declaration of Condominium to provide that the portion of the waterway adjacent to a unit is a Limited Common Element for the exclusive use of the adjacent unit and to confirm that the waterway and seawall are Common Elements of the Condominium?
3.6. Limited Common Elements means and includes those common elements which are reserved for the use of a certain unit or units to the exclusion of other units. Lots 76 through 145 inclusive shall have as an appurtenance thereto, a limited common element waterway, the boundaries of which are hereafter defined. The boundaries of the limited common element waterway shall be as follows: the north boundary shall be the south line/edge of the seawall parallel to the rear boundary line of the lot in which the unit is located; the east boundary shall follow the heading of the east boundary line of the lot twenty (20) feet into the waterway, past the south edge of the seawall; the west boundary shall follow the heading of west boundary line of the lot twenty (20) feet into the waterway, past the south edge of the seawall; and the south boundary shall be a line parallel to, and a distance of twenty (20) feet from, the south line/edge of the seawall parallel to the rear boundary line of the lot in which the unit is located.
3.7. Common Elements. The common elements are the portions of the condominium property not included in the units. The common elements are described as Lots, Tracts and Avenues in the Plat attached hereto as Exhibit “A-1”, and the improvements thereon as shown by Exhibits “B-2” and “B-3” attached hereto. Additionally, the waterway and seawall depicted on Exhibit “A-2” are common elements of the condominium.
3.8. Appurtenances to Units. There shall pass with each unit as appurtenances thereto:
(a) Common elements and common surplus. An undivided 1/168th share in the common elements and in the common surplus.
(b) Limited common elements. The exclusive right to use the limited common element which is the lot as shown on the Plat attached hereto as Exhibit “A-1”, on which the unit is located. The exclusive right to use the limited common element waterway and the boat dock, boat lift (if any) and boat slip located within the limited common element waterway adjacent to a unit or as hereafter installed after approval by the Board of Directors as provided in 5.2(b) below.
(c) Easement to use air space. The exclusive right for the use of the air space above the limited common element.
(d) Association membership. The membership of each unit owner in the Association and the interest of each unit owner in the funds and assets held by the Association
3.6- Defines Limited Common element as it pertains to your lot and now with this amendment, the land on the other side of our seawall (under the water) adjacent to your lot. With a yes vote, this property that you may have a dock in will be for your exclusive use the same way your lot is now. The amendment defines the area that constitutes your limited area in the waterway. There are limits set in the amendment to ensure that no one builds a dock out into the navigable waters of the canal.
3.7 – Amends this section to include wording that states the seawall and the waterway are Common Elements of the Association. This was never stated in our documents before this proposed amendment and doing this makes it clear.
3.8 Appurtenances to Units- this section defines the rights of owners that are attached to your membership in the Association. You have the right to use the Common elements and the right to any surplus of the Association in a share of 1/168th. That’s an equal share for each of the 168-unit owners. You have the exclusive right to the use of your lot and with a yes vote the exclusive right to your dock.
3) Do you approve the proposed amendment to Section 5.1 of the Declaration of Condominium to provide that the Association shall maintain, repair and replace any conduits, pipes, plumbing, wiring or other facilities for the furnishing of utility services contained within a unit that service part or parts of the Condominium other than that unit and that the unit owner is responsible to maintain, repair and replace all other portions of the unit?
5. MAINTENANCE, ALTERATION AND IMPROVEMENT. Responsibility for the maintenance of the condominium property, and restrictions upon its alteration and improvement, shall be as follows:
(a) By the Association. The Association shall maintain, repair and replace at the Association’s expense:
(1) all portions of unit, except the exterior surfaces thereof.
(2) all conduits, pipes, plumbing, wiring and other facilities for the furnishing of utility services contained in the unit and all such facilities that service part or parts of the condominium other than the unit and;
(3) all incidental damage caused to a unit by such work shall be repaired promptly at the expense of the Association.
(b) By the unit owner. The responsibility of the unit owner shall be as follows:
(1) To maintain, repair and replace at his expense all portions of his unit except the portions to be maintained, repaired and replaced by the Association. Such shall be done without disturbing the rights of other unit owners.
(2) Not to paint or otherwise decorate or change the appearance of any portion of the exterior of the unit.
(23) To promptly report to the Association any defect or need for repairs for which the Association is responsible.
Defines the association’s responsibility to maintain, repair and replace at the association’s expense the facilities that furnish water, sewer and electric to the units. Examples of such would be the pipes that bring water to and waste from the unit and also the wiring that furnishes the electricity. Also defines the owner’s responsibility to do the same for the portions contained in and on the unit. Examples are the roofing, air conditioners, the plumbing contained in your home. This section in condo law pertained to high rise buildings and as such doesn’t pertain to our conditions in Windmill Village.
4) Do you approve the proposed amendment to Section 5.2(a) of the Declaration of Condominium to provide that (1) the Association shall mow the lawn of the Limited Common Element Lot; (2) the unit owner is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the rest of the Limited Common Element Lot appurtenant to the unit; and (3) a unit owner is responsible to maintain, repair and replace any boat dock and boat lift located in the Limited Common Element waterway appurtenant to his unit?
5.2. Common Elements.
(a) By the Association. Except as provided below for the limited common elements, the maintenance and operation of the common elements shall be the responsibility of the Association and a common expense. The Association shall mow the lawn of the limited common element lot and the unit owner is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the rest of the limited common element lot appurtenant to the unit. The unit owner is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the limited common element waterway appurtenant to the unit, including the boat dock and boat lift (if any).
Defines the association’s responsibility for maintenance of the Limited Common element pertaining to the lawn on your lot. Defines the homeowner’s responsibility of the Limited Common element maintenance of his lot and unit and also the dock (in the water) on your lot.
5) Do you approve the proposed amendment to Section 5.2(b) of the Declaration of Condominium to provide that (1) alterations to the Common Elements must be approved by owners of not less than a majority of the units; (2) the Board of Directors may authorize a unit owner to construct and maintain a boat dock and boat lift in the Limited Common Element waterway adjacent to the unit in accordance with specifications of the Board of Directors; (3) if it is necessary for such boat dock and boat lift to be removed in order to make way for repairs of the adjacent seawall, the Association may have the boat dock and boat lift removed at the cost of the unit owner; and (4) any replacement of the boat dock and boat lift so removed will be the responsibility of the unit owner?
5.2 (b) Alteration and improvement. Except as provided below, after the completion of the improvements included in the common elements contemplated by this Declaration, there shall be no alteration nor further improvement of the real property constituting the common elements without prior approval in writing by the owners of not less than a majority of the units. seventy-five percent of the common elements except as provided by the Bylaws. Any such alteration or improvement shall not interfere with the rights of any unit owners without their consent. Notwithstanding the above, the Board of Directors may authorize a unit owner to construct and maintain a boat dock and/or a boat lift in the limited common element waterway adjacent to the unit, which is appurtenant to the unit. The boat dock and/or boat lift must be constructed, insured and maintained in accordance with approval by the Board of Directors as to location, size, and materials and in accordance with all governmental regulations. In the event it is necessary to remove the boat dock and/or boat lift in order to make way for repairs of the adjacent seawall, the Association may contract for such removal and the unit owner shall be responsible for all costs related to the removal of the boat dock and/or boat lift. The costs related to the removal shall be collectible by the Association in the same manner as collections of Assessments. Any replacement of a boat dock and/or boat lift so removed shall be the responsibility of the unit owner subject to the approval of the Board of Directors as set forth in this Section 5.2(b).
With a yes vote, this amendment will make it easier to obtain votes to alter or improve Common element by changing the approval to a “majority of owners” from what is now 75%. For example: The Board was approached with the a request to build horse shoe pits at the clubhouse near the shuffle board courts. That would be a material change to our Common element which today would take 75% or 128 yes votes. With a yes vote that number would go down to 85 yes votes. That number represents the majority of owners, which better represents the number of owners who are active in the day to day workings of the association and use of their homes.
The second part of this section addresses the Boards ability to approve future docks to be built in the waterway and the responsibility of the homeowner after the dock is built as it pertains to maintenance, removal for servicing the seawall and possible costs for such.
The Florida Code requires a 100% vote to change an owner’s share of the common expenses. Some of our owners want to pay less and have others pay more. Under Florida law, no matter what your Declaration says it takes a one 100% vote to make a change in how expenses are shared by owners.
6) Do you approve the proposed amendment to Section 8 of the Declaration of Condominium to provide that the Association will only obtain insurance on the Common Elements and that each unit owner shall be responsible for maintaining insurance coverage for the unit and Limited Common Elements appurtenant to the unit?
8. INSURANCE. The insurance other than title insurance that shall be carried upon the condominium property and the property of the unit owners shall be governed by the following provisions:
8.1. Authority to Purchase; Named Insured.
All insurance policies upon the common elements, the condominium property shall be purchased by the Association. The named insured shall be the Association individually and as agent for the unit owners, without naming them, and as agent for their mortgagees. Provision shall be made for the issuance of mortgagee endorsements and memoranda of insurance to the mortgagees of unit owners. Such policies shall provide that payments by the insurer for losses shall be made to the Association. In accordance with Florida Statute 718.111(11)(e)(2018) as amended from time to time, unit owners may shall obtain coverage at their own expense for the unit, limited common elements appurtenant to the unit, upon their personal property and for their personal liability, if such coverage is commercially available.
(a) Casualty. All building and improvements upon the common elements (excluding the limited common elements) land shall be insured by the Association in an amount equal to the maximum insurable replacement value, excluding foundations and excavations costs, and all personal property included in the common elements shall be insured for its value, all as determined annually by the board of directors of the Association. Such coverage shall afford protection against:
(1) loss or damage by fire and other hazards covered by a standard extended coverage endorsement, and
(2) such other risks as from time to time shall be customarily covered with respect to buildings similar in construction, location and use as the buildings on the land, including but not limited to vandalism and malicious mischief.
(b) Public liability in such amounts and with such coverage as shall be required by the board of directors of the Association, including but not limited to hired automobile and non-owned automobile coverages, and with cross liability endorsement to cover liabilities of the unit owner as a group to a unit owner.
(c) Workmen’s compensation policy to meet the requirements of law.
(d) Such other insurance as the board of directors of the Association shall determine from time to time to be desirable.
(e) Unit owners with limited common element waterways appurtenant to the unit, which have boat docks and/or boat lifts, shall obtain general liability insurance for the boat dock and/or boat lift and shall name the Association as an additional insured on the policy. Proof of insurance shall be provided to the Association upon request.
8.3. Premiums. Premiums upon insurance policies purchased by the Association shall be paid by the Association as a common expense.
8.4. Shares of Insurance Proceeds. All insurance policies purchased by the Association shall be for the benefit of the Association and the unit owners and their mortgagees as their interest may appear. The duty of the Association shall be to receive such proceeds as are paid and hold the proceeds in trust for the purposes elsewhere stated in this instrument and for the benefit of the unit owners and their mortgagees in the following shares:
(a) Common elements. The proceeds on account of damage to common elements – an undivided share for each unit owner, such share being the same as the undivided share in the common elements appurtenant to his unit.
(b) Units. Proceeds on account of damage to units shall be held in the following undivided shares:
(1) When the units are to be restored – for the owners of damaged units in proportion to the cost of repairing the damage suffered by each unit owner, which cost shall be determined by the Association.
(2) When the units are not to be restored – an undivided share for each unit owner, such share being the same as the undivided share in the common elements appurtenant to his unit.
(b)(c) Mortgages. In the event a mortgagee endorsement has been issued as to a unit, the share of the unit owners shall be held in trust for the mortgagee and the unit owner as their interests may appear; provided, however, that no mortgagee shall have any right to determine or participate in the determination as to whether or not any damaged property shall be reconstructed or repaired, and no mortgagee shall have any right to apply or have applied to the reduction of a mortgage debt any insurance proceeds except distributions of such proceeds made to the unit owner and mortgagee pursuant to the provision of this Declaration.
8.5. Distribution of Proceeds. Proceeds of insurance policies received by the Association shall be distributed to or for the benefit of the beneficial owners in the following manner:
(a) Expense of the Association. All expenses of the Association relating to the obtaining and handling of the insurance proceeds shall be paid first.
(b) Reconstruction or repair. If the damage for which the proceeds are paid is to be repaired or reconstructed, the remaining proceeds shall be paid to defray the cost of such as elsewhere provided. Any proceeds remaining after defraying such costs shall be distributed to the beneficial owners, remittances to unit owners and their mortgagees being payable jointly to them. This is a covenant for the benefit of any mortgagee of a unit and may be enforced by such mortgagee.
(c) Failure to reconstruct or repair If it is determined in the manner elsewhere provided that the damage for which proceeds are paid shall not be reconstructed or repaired, the remaining proceeds shall be distributed to the beneficial owners, remittances to the unit owners and their mortgagees being payable jointly to them. This is a covenant for the benefit of any mortgagee at a unit and may be enforced by such mortgagee.
(d) Certificate. In making distribution to unit owners and their mortgagees, the Association may rely upon the record of the Association as to the names of the unit owners and their respective shares of the distribution.
8.6. Association as Agent. The Association is irrevocably appointed agent for each unit owner and for each owner of a mortgage or other lien upon a unit and for each owner of any other interest in the condominium property to adjust all claims arising under insurance policies purchased by the Association and to execute and deliver releases upon the payment of claims.
This section defines the Insurance responsibility, as per Florida Statute, of the association as it pertains to Common element and the improvements on such. It also defines the homeowner’s responsibility to insure his Limited Common element lot and any appetencies to it (a dock, patio, porch, sunshade etc.)
Removed are the sections that are addressed for high rise condominiums as it pertains to damage to the units.
7) Do you approve the proposed amendment to Section 9 of the Declaration of Condominium to provide for the Association to reconstruct and repair the Common Elements, excluding the Limited Common Elements, after casualty?
9. RECONSTRUCTION OR REPAIR AFTER CASUALTY.
9.1. Determination to Reconstruct or Repair. If any part of the common elements (excluding the limited common elements) condominium property shall be damaged by casualty, whether or not it shall be reconstructed or repaired shall be determined in the following manner:
(a) Common element. If the damaged improvement is a common element, the damaged property shall be reconstructed or repaired, unless it is determined in the manner elsewhere provided that the condominium shall be terminated.
(1) Lesser damage. If the damaged improvements are the units, and if units to which fifty percent of the common elements are appurtenant are found by the board of directors of the Association to be tenantable, the damaged property shall be reconstructed or repaired unless within sixty days after the casualty it is determined by agreement in the manner elsewhere provided that the condominium shall be terminated.
(2) Major damage. If the damaged improvements are the units, and if units to which more than fifty percent of the common elements are appurtenant are found by the board of directors to be not tenantable, then the damaged property will not be reconstructed or repaired and the condominium will be terminated without agreement as elsewhere provided, unless within sixty days after the casualty the owners of seventy-five percent of the common elements agree in writing to such reconstruction or repair.
9.2. Plans and Specifications. Any reconstruction or repair must be in accordance with plans and specifications approved by the board of directors of the Association.
9.3. Responsibility. If the damage is only in those parts of one unit for which the responsibility of maintenance and repair is that of the unit owned, then the unit owner shall be responsible for reconstruction and repair after casualty. In all other instances the responsibility of reconstruction and repair after casualty shall be that of the Association.
9.3. 9.4. Estimates of Costs. Immediately after a determination is made to rebuild or repair damage to property for which the Association has the responsibility of reconstruction and repair, the Association shall obtain reliable and detailed estimates of the cost to rebuild or repair.
9.4. 9.5. Assessments. If the proceeds of insurance are not sufficient to defray the estimated costs of reconstruction and repair by the Association, or if at any time during reconstruction and repair, or upon completion of reconstruction and repair, the funds for the payment of the costs of reconstruction and repair are insufficient, assessments shall be made against the unit owners who own the damaged units, and against all unit owners in the case of damage to common elements (excluding limited common elements), in sufficient amounts to provide funds for the payment of such costs. Such assessments against unit owners for damage to units shall be in proportion to the cost of reconstruction and repair of their respective units. Such assessments on account of damage to common elements shall be in proportion to the owner’s share in the common elements.
9.5. 9.6. Construction Funds. The funds for payment of costs of reconstruction and repair after casualty, which shall consist of proceeds of insurance held by the Association and funds collected by the Association from assessments against unit owners, shall be disbursed in payment of such costs in the following manner:
(a) Association – lesser damage. If the amount of the estimated costs of reconstruction and repair is less than $5,000.00, then the construction fund shall be disbursed in payment of such costs, upon the order of the Association; provided, however, that upon request to the Association by a mortgagee that is a beneficiary of an insurance policy the proceeds of which are included in the construction fund, such fund shall be disbursed in the manner provided for the reconstruction and repair of major damage.
(b) Association – major damage. If the amount of the estimated costs of reconstruction and repair is more than $5,000.00 then the construction fund shall be disbursed in payment of such costs in the manner required by the board of directors of the Association and upon approval of an architect or engineer qualified to practice in Florida and employed by the Association to supervise the work.
(c) Unit owner. The portion of insurance proceeds representing damage for which the responsibility of reconstruction and repair lies with a unit owner shall be paid by the Association to the unit owner, or if there is a mortgagee endorsement as to the unit, then to the unit owner and the mortgagee jointly, who may use such proceeds as they may be advised.
(c) (d) Surplus. It shall be presumed that the first moneys disbursed in payment of costs of reconstruction and repair shall be from insurance proceeds. If there is a balance in a construction fund after payment of all costs of the reconstruction and repair for which the fund is established, such balance shall be distributed to the unit owners in proportion to the owners share in the common elements. beneficial owners of the fund in the manner elsewhere stated, except, however, that the part of a distribution to a beneficial owner that is not in excess of assessments paid by such owner into the construction fund shall not be made payable to any mortgagee.
This section defines the association’s responsibility to reconstruct after a casualty such as a hurricane. This requires the Association to repair or replace the Common Elements. It requires the Owners to replace what they have built on their units and lots and the limited common elements associated with their individual units. As written, it would create a total bankruptcy of the association should we all have to pay to rebuild each other’s homes. Voting yes would remove the damaging wording and ensure that we as an association would no longer share in the responsibility to rebuild each other’s property.
Last winter the Board of Directors with the assistance of the Waterway Committee set out to research how to best resolve the issue with private property in common area. As our documents stated that nothing for personal use could be built on common area and since we currently allow docks and lifts in the waterway we had a problem that needed addressing.
After several meetings with our attorney and some three drafts later we arrived at the amendment that is attached to this email. The Boards job now, is to make sure that our owners understand fully why we need to change our documents to reflect what has transpired over the years.
First and foremost, our waterway:
Over the past 20 or so years it was determined on several occasions that the waterway is a common element of Windmill Village. As a common element, nothing can be added, removed or modified without a vote of the membership. This as many of you know has not been the case. Allowing docks and lifts in the waterway was a mistake that was made which continued over the years. There are a hundred different reasons why this may have been overlooked but as a current Board member, once it came to our attention we needed to act on changing it so as to protect each member of the Association. Being as there were at least three (3) previous lawsuits having to do with the waterway we knew it was imperative to correct the situation we are in.
The attached amendment addresses changing the “common element waterway” to a “limited common waterway” appurtenant to each unit on the canal. What this means in simple terms is that as common element, it is the responsibility of the Association. As a limited common element, it becomes designated for the sole use of the unit on which it is attached to. For example, your property that surrounds your home, RV or pad, is limited common element which is for your private use. Common element for example would be the bath house, for use by all.
Changing the waterway to a limited common element appurtenant to the unit will remove or in the worse case, lessen substantially the liability issue we now have on the Association. This would mean the docks and lifts that you use for your sole enjoyment will be part of your limited common area and as such would be the same as your home or RV.
There has been a tremendous amount of frustration not to mention questions as to why we had a rule for dock owners to carry insurance. This was to add a layer of protection over the Association in the case that someone got hurt on your dock. With the change to limited common, the risk on the Association is tremendously lessened because your docks and lifts would clearly be your personal property not common element.
Protecting the Association (which consists of 168 lot owners) is the Boards first responsibility. We are sworn to protect the Associations property and money from outside risks which is why this Amendment to our documents is one of the most important issues to come before us as a community.
The second issue we found is that we are considered a condominium and as such we are governed by Florida Condo law 718. What this means to us is although we are not physically like a condo (i.e.: high rise building with individual units) we are governed as such. A great deal of the wording in our original Declaration of Condominium either doesn’t pertain to or make sense because of the way our park was constructed. At the time, we should have been incorporated as a Homeowners Association but for some reason the developer chose to set us up as a Condominium. We spoke with the attorney to see what it would entail to change over to a Homeowners Association but the costs would have been too much compared to making changes to our current Declaration. The later part of the Amendment addresses changes or removal of certain wording to better reflect our property and how we live here as individual home lots.
A great deal of this work and the lawsuits that came before most of us could have been prevented when the first mobile home, manufactured home or custom home was proposed to the Board. At that time, the Board needed to review our documents to make certain that building homes and docks wouldn’t be outside
the scope of the original wording, which as it turns out, it was. Now that we have this fantastic community we need to move forward, grow and protect it.
The last item that we felt a need to change is the percentage of ownership needed to vote for a material change or to amend our documents. As it stands now we will need 75% of the 168 lot owners (or a total of 128 owners) to vote yes to any proposed changes. The Amendment would change that to a “majority” of owners or 85 yes votes. This would make voting on important issues easier and more possible to pass. For example, we are constantly asked about putting a gate at the clubhouse to stop the influx of people who use our Clubhouse parking and beach access. Putting the gate up is the easy part but getting 128 yes votes for a “material change” to our property, would not be. That’s just one example.
In the following weeks the Board will be open to discussion about these changes and with that, it is our hope that you will all vote favorably to make these changes. The Board “will not” move forward with voting on this Amendment until such time we feel everyone fully understands the reasons for such. We as a Board will also make sure everyone is given the chance to and knows how to vote the correct way. We do not want to spend your money in a wasted effort.
Please attend Board meetings, email the Board at wmvbod@gmail .com or call the office and leave a message for Robert and I will certainly call you back to discuss your concerns or answer your questions. There will be a scheduled and posted Town Hall meeting in November to discuss this and other items of importance. Watch your email, the bulletin board at the mailboxes and the website for date and time.
Your Board of Directors