This month I’d like to highlight the accomplishments of the VIHA Beautification Committee. Led by Lisa Schwartz, the Beautification Committee works hard to keep the entrances, bridges and causeways in our community looking well-maintained and beautiful. This includes planting, watering, weeding, and mulching on a regular basis This ongoing maintenance is possible thanks to VIHA membership dues. In addition, the Committee works with the City to ensure mangroves and palms are trimmed regularly, the bricks on the causeways are repaired and grass is mowed properly.
Using the funds raised by advertising sales in the VIHA Directory, as well as matching grants from the City of St. Petersburg, the team undertakes several major projects each year. Recent projects included: securing the upscale black street signs and posts, replacing and lighting the entrance monuments and installing lighting along Overlook Bridge highlighting the majestic royal palms. All of these initiatives give Venetian Isles the more distinctive and manicured appearance that sets us apart from other neighborhoods.
Among the team’s 2019 projects: replacing seven dead Foxtail Palms along Grand Canal Boulevard and repairing sprinkler heads and timers to make them more efficient. In addition, at the request of a resident, the Committee installed plants at Grand Canal and Iowa South next to the bridge. This parcel is owned by the City and did not have any plantings previously. The team also added plants to vacant City property on Mermaid Point.
Please contact Lisa Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suggestions for other beautification projects or if you’d like to volunteer to be on the Committee.
Please join me in thanking Lisa, Steve Cropper, Jan Di Biasio and Mark Brenman for everything you do to maintain the superior aesthetics of our neighborhood!
This letter also appeared in the February issue of Life on the Isle magazine.
I hope you all had a terrific holiday season and New Year’s, and that you were successful in your holiday football pools!!! Happy 2020!!!
During the General Meeting held on October 17, 2019, the Board reported on the need for VI to “revitalize” our Deed Restrictions (“DR”). The Revitalization process is now nearly complete. Thank you to all the homeowners who have already sent in their signed Consent Forms. For those of you who have not already done so, please return your Consent Form by January 20. If you have any questions, please visit http://www.ourvi.org/revitalization.html or contact a Board Member. We will confirm whether the existing DR's have been extended for another 30 years at the V.I.H.A. Annual Meeting on January 23rd.
The DRs have been in place since properties in VI were constructed starting in the late 1970s. Although many VI residents specifically moved here because they wanted to live in a deed restricted community and appreciate the benefits that the DRs provide; there are some residents who moved here knowing VI is deed restricted but didn’t necessarily understand that compliance is mandatory.
Due to improved technologies, building materials and changes in lifestyles, I think we can all agree that the DRs need to be updated. We have updated some over the years (fencing, for example) but it is a big task and takes the efforts of many. The Deed Restriction Revision Committee (“DRRC”) had begun work on proposed amendments to the DRs prior to the VIHA kicking off the Revitalization effort. Assuming the Revitalization effort is successful, the DRRC will continue these efforts and will look for input from owners of DR Properties through a series of emails and Town Hall meetings. This will be your chance to voice your ideas on an existing DR or propose new ones. Remember that any changes to the DRs have to be approved by 66.67% of the owners of DR Properties.
The 2020 VIHA Annual Meeting and Board Elections have been scheduled for January 23, 2020 at 7pm at Lutheran Church of the Cross. Hope to see you there!!!
Note a version of this letter also appeared in the January issue of Life on the Isles
I want to share a quick summary of the past week’s events:
Town Hall Meeting on 11/21 to discuss “Revitalization:”
A good crowd was on hand to learn more about revitalization of the Deed Restrictions (“DR”) in VI. Anne Hathorn, legal counsel to the VIHA and a specialist in community association law, clarified the process and answered residents’ questions. The discussion highlighted the following points:
By signing the Consent Form, you are agreeing to keep the existing Deed Restrictions in place. We encourage you to return your signed Consent Form A.S.A.P. Let’s keep our neighborhood looking beautiful and keep increasing our property values by extending the DR’s. Once Revitalization is approved, the Deed Restriction Revision Committee will begin evaluating which DRs need to be eliminated, updated or added.
The Organizing Committee is available to answer any questions or concerns you may have prior to returning the Consent Forms. The contact info for the Organizing Committee members is included in the Revitalization packet that you should have received, and can also be found at http://www.ourvi.org/revitalization.html
First Annual Venetian Isles Fishing Tourney:
A committee lead by Terry Heddon and including Alex Becham, Eric Johnson and Scott Gault successfully organized the first neighborhood fishing tournament on 11/23. A total of 14 teams participated and competed for a number of trophies, but more importantly “bragging rights.” Results of the event are posted to www.ourvi.org. Thanks to the Committee for putting this together and a special thanks to the Tournament’s sponsors who are VI residents:
St. Pete Neighborhood Shuffleboard Tournament
Congratulations to the Venetian Isles team, led by Janice Drinkwine, for finishing 4th out of 15 Neighborhoods at the St. Pete Neighborhood Shuffle Showdown on November 10.
The Annual Meeting, including election of the 2020 VIHA Board, has been scheduled for January 23, 2020 at LCC. Hope to see you there!!! Nominations for the 2020 Board are due November 30. Nomination forms can be found at http://www.ourvi.org/board-members.html
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!
At the General Meeting held on October 17 at LCC, we had our regularly invited guests including Don Herring, our Community Policing Officer from the SPPD, and Lt. Mark Turner and his squad from the Shore Acres Fire Station. Don reported that crime in VI remains at low levels as long as residents are vigilant about removing valuables from their cars (including valet keys and fobs), locking car doors and making sure your garage doors are closed at night. Mark Turner echoed the concerns that I wrote about in the November President’s Letter regarding parking and the issues that could face emergency responders. Please observe the City and VI parking regulations and park only on the east side of the streets within VI (houses with “even” street numbers).
Randy Havey gave a report on the need for VI to “revitalize” our Deed Restrictions, based upon recommendation from our counsel, which will preserve them for another 30 years. The recommendation has been to revitalize now to make sure there is no question as to their applicability. All homeowners of VI will have received a package containing a number of documents by late October explaining the need and the process that we need to undertake. Included in this package is a “Consent Form” which must be signed by each party whose name appears on the deed for the property. Randy, Tom Testa, Mark Brenman and Linda Testa have dedicated a lot of time over the past months to get VI ready for this process and we should all extend our thanks for their efforts. Feel free to reach out to them if you have any questions about this process. Their contact information can be found on http://www.ourvi.org/board-members.html. We hope to have this process completed within 90 days of its initiation and to be successful, we will need the approval of 50.01% of the residents of VI.
The holidays are right around the corner. Don’t forget to buy your seawall candles from the candle sellers so we can “light up” the seawalls throughout VI on Christmas Eve. Additional details about this festive VI tradition can be found in this issue and on the ourvi.org website.
The Annual Meeting & Board Elections is scheduled for January 23, 2020 at LCC. Hope to see you there!!!
*Note this letter also appeared in the December issue of Life on the Isles
The VIHA Board is trying to improve the ways we communicate with VI residents. One of those improvements is to publish the Presidents’ Letter in Life on the Isles. The only problem is that my copy is due six weeks prior to the month in which it is printed so my comments are sometimes a little outdated by the time the magazine arrives in your mailbox.
Through August 31, there have been 38 new residents in VI compared to 33 for all of 2018. Please make an effort as the weather cools to get out and meet your new neighbors, who made the great decision to become homeowners in VI. In addition, approximately 72% of VI property owners have joined the VIHA for 2019. I’d like to personally thank you for your support.
One of the other things that the VIHA is trying to facilitate is more “social events” within our community. By the time you read this I’m hopeful that we enjoyed another fantastic Oktoberfest, VI’s “signature event,” and the first annual VIHA Fishing Tournament. Look for information on the VIHA Golf Tournament for early 2020. We know that residents would like to see more social events, but the Board’s primary role is to enforce the Deed Restrictions, which are set forth on the website – www.ourvi.org/deed-restrictions. If you would like to volunteer to organize or help with any social events, please let us know by sending an email to email@example.com.
Speaking of Deed Restrictions, we continue to receive complaints about parking in VI. Deed Restriction 35 states “when street parking is necessary, vehicles will be parked on the even numbers sides of the thoroughfare in accordance with the provisions of the City Ordinances in order to make way for fire and police protections.” Please make sure that lawn, pool and other contractors abide by this regulation when working on your home. Let’s all participate in making VI a safe and attractive neighborhood.
Finally, nominations for the 2020 VIHA Board will open on October 15 and close on November 30. You must be a VIHA member to serve on the Board. Information and an application can be found on the VI website at www.ourvi.org/board-members.html. Elections will be held at the Annual Meeting on January 23, 2020.
Next month we’ll talk about holiday activities within VI, until then, hope to see you “around the Isles!!”
This letter also appeared in the November issue of Life on the Isles
Temperatures are cooling and this is the time of year when Venetian Isles residents come together for our annual Oktoberfest block party to meet neighbors and reconnect with friends while enjoying brats, beer, music, children's activities and a new 50/50 Raffle sponsored by Life on the Isles Magazine. For event details, visit http://www.ourvi.org/oktoberfest.html.
This year, we will also be holding the first ever Venetian Isles Inshore Fishing Tournament. For additional information visit http://www.ourvi.org/fishing-tournament.html. Tournament prizes will be awarded at Oktoberfest. Both events will take place on Saturday, October 19.
I’d like to thank the residents who have volunteered their time to organize these community events including the Oktoberfest Committee, chaired by Julie Scanlon, and the Fishing Tournament Committee co-chaired by Alex Beacham, Scott Gault, Terry Hedden, and Eric Johnson.
In addition, we greatly appreciate all the Oktoberfest sponsors whose support greatly enhances the quality of this event. I strongly encourage you to patronize these businesses, most of which are owned by Venetian Isles residents.
Both the Oktoberfest 50/50 Raffle and the Fishing Tournament will raise funds for V.I.H.A. Beautification initiatives which will benefit the entire community. As always, we’re grateful for the participation of our Venetian Isles residents in maintaining our beautiful neighborhood.
All V.I.H.A. members are encouraged to attend the V.I.H.A. General Meeting on Thursday, October 17 at Lutheran Church of the Cross (4545 Chancellor Street) to learn about important neighborhood initiatives. The Meeting is at 7:00 p.m. with refreshments sponsored by North Star Realty starting at 6:30 p.m.
I look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood at our upcoming community and family events!
It's early September and we are coming out of the “dog days” of summer but entering the biggest risk period for hurricanes. We were extremely lucky with Dorian and we always hope to make it through the season without any major storms, but it is important that you are prepared, especially if you are new to the area Be sure to follow the City of St. Petersburg storm alerts on the following sites to get the most up-to-date information for our area including evacuation notices:
On July 5, about 40 VI residents enjoyed “VI Night at the Trop.” It was an exciting game that went into extra innings against the Yankees. Everyone had a great time and received a free Rays hat!!! Many thanks to Mark Brenman for coordinating this event.
Many residents have been asking members of the VI Board to facilitate more social events in Venetian Isles. In line with those requests, we have the following scheduled:
Finally, Don Herring, from the SPPD, notes the following:
I hope to see you “around the Isles!!”
As we head into the summer months, I want to remind you of a few safety measures . If you are traveling, please ask your neighbors to keep an eye on things, including bringing bins back after trash collection. When you are in town, please watch your streets and, to borrow a line from TSA, “if you see something, say something”.
Along those lines, remember to remove valuables from your vehicles when they are parked outside overnight and make sure they are locked. While we had seen a marked decrease in incidents, SPPD is reporting a recent increase in theft activity. An unfortunate property owner recently had a double car theft at his property as a result of leaving his car unlocked with keys to another car inside.
Real estate continues to sell at a fast in VI, and our Hospitality Committee members have been busy delivering welcome gifts to our new neighbors. Several new Homeowners also attended the New Homeowners’ Reception in May. Another one is planned for the Fall.
REMINDER TO PROPERTY OWNERS, NEW AND OLD ALIKE: Any exterior improvement/renovation to your property must be submitted to the Architectural Review Committee for approval at firstname.lastname@example.org Committee Chairman Trip Guinan and his team have committed to responding to requests on a timely basis, but please give this group of volunteers’ appropriate notice for the complexity of the project you are considering.
VI is fortunate to have many good people who work within our community. Most of you know that Stephan, our long-time letter carrier retired earlier this summer. I’d also like to recognize Kelvin from the City sanitation department, who goes above and beyond to provide exceptional service to our neighborhood. If you have others that we could recognize in upcoming issues of Life on the Isles, please forward their names to me.
The VIHA Board and Committees are working on several events for the Fall, including the Golf Tournament, Fishing Tournament and Oktoberfest, which is set for October 19. Stay tuned for details.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and hope to see you “around the Isles!!”
Note this letter also appeared in the August issue of Life on the Isles
JULY PRESIDENT'S LETTER
Hope you are enjoying the warmer weather of late, we knew it was going to come!!!!. That should serve as a reminder to think about hurricane preparedness planning, especially if you are a new homeowner. I describe life in Venetian Isles as 360 days a year of pure beauty and 5 days a year of pure terror. Please make sure you are prepared. As we learned with Hurricane Irma in 2017, it doesn’t take a “direct hit” to cause complications when you live on the water!!! You can sign up for emergency alerts from the City of St. Petersburg at http://www.stpete.org/news/alert_stpete.php
Quality Property Management (“QPM”) has been on the job assisting the VIHA with Deed Restriction (“DR”) compliance and violation notification and so far the reviews from the community have been good. We will keep working with QPM to continue to improve the DR compliance efforts.
As a result of QPM freeing up Board Members time, the Deed Restriction Revision Committee (“DRRC”) is well along in the process of updating / modifying the Deed Restrictions that cause the most confusion within the community or are outdated. We will plan on bringing the proposed DR revisions to the community at the October General Meeting.
Committees are working on bringing back the VIHA. Golf Tournament and creating the First Annual VIHA Fishing Tournament this Fall. Look for more information soon. If you’re interested in helping with the planning or sponsorship of these events or Oktoberfest, please email email@example.com.
In May, there were two fun neighborhood events. The first was the semi-annual New Homeowner Orientation, attended by over 50 people. Massachusetts Avenue residents, Debbie and George Sayegh supplied delicious food from their restaurant Bodega on Central Avenue. The second event was the Life on the Isles “Flamingo Friday” Block Party at the home of Tom and Michelle Williams. Tom and Michelle are the owners of St. Pete Brewing and they had plenty of their excellent product flowing. I hope you’ll patronize these great businesses, owned and operated by VI residents. Please let me know if you are a small business owner so we can introduce you to the VI community.
As always, I welcome your feedback so please contact me if you have any comments or suggestions on the above or other topics. Have a great summer and hope to see you “around the Isles!!”
A few things to bring to your attention from the V.I.H.A:
Quality Property Management ("QPM")
You should have received a letter of introduction from QPM after a one-year agreement was signed in February, 2019. Many people, myself included, have referred to QPM as “our management company.” This overstates the level of services that we have contracted with them. QPM will:
Deed Restriction Revision Committee (“DRRC”)
One of the reasons that I stated that V.I.H.A. needed assistance from QPM is that we knew the Deed Restrictions ("DRs"), many of which have been in place since the late 1970’s, needed to be revised; however, we lacked sufficient volunteer hours to complete the revision concurrent with DR enforcement.
I’m happy to report that the DRRC has been formed and is beginning the process of identifying those DRs that should be the priority for revision. If you have an opinion on DRs that should be considered for revision, please let me know. As a reminder, any proposed revision of, or new addition to, the DRs needs to be approved by 66.67% of property owners.
Neighborhood Garage Sale
The annual VI Garage Sale occurred on April 6 and seemed like a huge success, given the number of cars driving through the neighborhood. Many thanks to Bayside Sports Academy, who sponsored this event (and Lindsey Germann for referring this sponsor to us).
V.I.H.A. Night at the Trop
We will be hosting a Venetian Isles Night at Tropicana Field on Friday, July 5th at 7:10 p.m.
The Tampa Bay Rays will be playing the New York Yankees. We have great seats in Section 124 (lower level) for a special price of $40.00 (regularly $75.00), including a free Rays hat. Contact Mark Brenman at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 15 to reserve your seat. Seating is limited.
Partnership with Life on the Isles
I'm pleased to announce a new cooperative effort between V.I.H.A. and the free monthly publication Life on the Isles. The goal of this partnership is to improve the quality of communications in Venetian Isles. In addition to the V.I.H.A. emails and website, look for a President's Letter and other content in future issues to keep property owners abreast of current happenings.
Have a great summer everyone and remember your “hurricane preparedness!!!”