October 31 2019
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