Thanks to the generosity of VI residents, we collected over 1,370 tons of food for the St. Pete Free Clinic Food Pantry. This will go a long way towards helping people facing food insecurity over the holidays. A special thanks to Colleen Pelton for organizing the event and to Paul Pelton for delivering the donated items.
Dear VI Residents:
On Friday evening, September 10, sometime between 9:30 – 10:30 pm, a group of juveniles, believed to be residents of VI, vandalized 9 of the 13 lights which are used to illuminate the Royal Palms at this entrance to our community.
Unfortunately, this group did not stop there. As they proceeded further into VI and east along Grand Canal they removed stakes from several of the Silver Buttonwood trees that had recently been installed by the Beautification Committee to replace the dead Foxtail Palms.
These incidents were reported to the St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD) and an investigation has been opened. Based on review of video footage provided by several VI residents, along with eyewitness accounts, the group evidently went into the backyard of a home located on the north end of Iowa Avenue when they were finished.
The actions of the juveniles were reckless and showed no respect for our community or regard for the hard work of many within VI. However, we’ve all been kids and likely have done things that were foolish or destructive at some point. Therefore, we would like to offer the people responsible for the vandalism the opportunity to come forward and make restitution for the damage incurred in addition to performing some mutually agreed upon community service within VI. If this happens, the Board will withdraw our complaint with the SPPD.
If we are unable to resolve this matter confidentially “among neighbors” by Friday, September 17th, the Board will have no choice than to let the SPPD complete their investigation. We sincerely hope that the individuals involved will take responsibility for their actions by contacting me at 727-525-0477 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you have any questions or additional information about the vandalism, please contact me.
Thanks for your attention to this matter.
Q. Why do we need to repeat the Revitalization process when we just did it last year?
A. After the DR Revitalization was approved in March 2020, an objection was filed. Based on an eight-month review, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (“DEO”) concluded that certain documents should have been provided to property owners in 2019/2020. As a result, we must repeat the Revitalization process and have included the required documents in the information packets that were provided to property owners.
Q. What is the difference between the previous Revitalization Packet and the 2021 Packet?
A. All the documents are identical, except for the following:
Q. What does it mean if I sign and return the Consent Form?
A. Signing and returning the Consent Form means that you are in favor of keeping Venetian Isles (“VI”) a deed-restricted community and reinstating the previous DRs. If 50.1% of the property owners return signed Consent Forms, the DRs will be reinstated.
Q. I am in favor of some DRs but I do not like all of them, can we just reinstate some of them?
A. No. Per Florida statutes, the DRs must be revitalized “as is.” Once the DRs have been revitalized, we can begin the process of updating them. There are several revisions to the DRs have already been proposed and we will begin the revision process once the current DRs have been revitalized.
We invite you to join the Deed Restriction Revision Committee (“DRRC”) if you are interested in participating in this project. The Committee also welcomes your suggestions for what you would like to see added or eliminated. Once we can safely meet, the plan is to convene a “Town Hall” meeting to review the changes to the DRs as proposed and have an open discussion. Please email email@example.com to get involved with this, or any other committee.
As a reminder, the DRs can only be modified if 66.7% of VI property owners approve. Neither the DRRC nor the Board can unilaterally change any of the DRs.
Q. If the Revitalization is approved by the community, does it mean that the VIHA will become a mandatory (Section 720) association?
A. No. Membership in the VIHA will remain voluntary and payment of dues will NOT become mandatory. A transition to a mandatory association membership would require approval by 100% of property owners.
Q. I am in favor of DRs but I do not like how they are enforced, should I sign the Consent Form?
A. The Revitalization is to determine whether property owners want VI to continue to be a Deed Restricted community or whether we should let the DRs expire permanently. If you would like to see changes to how the DRs are enforced, we invite you to join the VIHA Board and/or the Deed Restriction Committee so that you can provide your input on the enforcement process.
Please note that if the Revitalization is approved, we will reengage the third-party property management company, QPM, to ensure that the DRs are enforced fairly, evenly and consistently.
Q. What happens if the DRs are not Revitalized?
A. Properties will only be subject to City Codes. As a result, there will be fewer protections against blocking water views, parking of RVs and boats/trailers, maintaining eighty-foot waterways in our canals, and keeping chicken coops, among other things that the City Codes permit.
Q. I have heard that some residents have opted out of the association and are no longer subject to the DRs. Can I opt out of the DRs?
A. No. A State ordinance allowed residents to opt out of certain homeowner associations during a one-year period which expired October 1, 2019. All properties currently in VI, whether or not property owners pay dues, will be subject to the DRs once they are revitalized. This excludes the properties on Point Overlook and three properties who provided the requisite notice to “opt out” prior to October 1, 2019.
Q. Why is the VIHA collecting 2021 Dues if the DR’s need to be Revitalized?
A. The VIHA continues to incur expenses such as utilities and is committed to maintaining and improving the entrances and bridges in VI, including landscaping, lighting and mangrove trimming. We are in the process replacing the sod by the Overlook Bridge after it was ruined by the Sugarcane Mosaic virus. In addition, we have recently put in 65 plants on the Iowa Bridge and installed flowers and lighting at the Mermaid Point entrance. We continue our communications to residents including distributing the updated Homeowner Directory to 2021 VIHA members. We are also planning to resume our community events in the fall.
Due to the ongoing calls to the Police Department from your neighbors in reference to residents/juveniles in the area driving illegal golf carts and low speed vehicles; I wanted to provide the following information from our Legal Department:
A Golf Cart is one that does not have the capability to exceed 20 mph. These Golf Carts are ILLEGAL to be driven on the roadways or sidewalks by any person and is a violation of F.S.S. 316.212.
A Low Speed Vehicle (“LSV”) is a Golf Cart which has the following:
- a valid registration and insurance
- headlamps, front and rear turn signals and tail lamps and brake lights
- front windshield and rear view mirror
- reflectors on both sides
- a seatbelt(s) for each designated seat
A driver of a LSV needs a valid drivers license and LSVs CANNOT be driven on the sidewalk and CAN only be driven on the roadway where the speed limit is 35 mph or less.
There are too many violations to list if any of these laws are not followed, there are many laws which cover this topic and several of them are misdemeanors and would require a court appearance. Under no circumstances are LSVs allowed to be driven by an unlicensed adult or a child under the age of 16. If a juvenile operating a LSV is stopped by the police they could be cited, which will make it more difficult for them to get a drivers license in the future. So please abide by the laws which apply based upon the information provided above.
Please keep in mind that the Police Department is being proactive and trying to stop an accident before it happens. Without the proper equipment golf carts operated on the roadways are a potential death trap if ever involved in an accident.
I am just trying to keep everyone safe and address an issue which your neighbors have brought to the Police Department's attention numerous times.
Thank you and be safe!
Officer Don Herring
Saint Petersburg, Police Department
Community Officer for Venetian Isles
From Councilman Ed Montanari:
On December 3, City Council approved the construction contract for the 40th Avenue Bridge project. This important step allows the project to begin its construction phase, something we have all been very excited for. We have been informed by the City's Public Works staff that there will be noticeable site activity by March. As a reminder, the bridge will still allow for safe traffic flow during construction by having separate construction zones and areas of the bridge that are still active. I will continue to update you on this project as it reaches new phases in construction. For more information, please go to 40thavenuebridge.com.