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is that my copy is due six weeks prior to the month in which it is printed so my comments are sometimes a little outdated by the time the magazine arrives in your mailbox.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!!!”
December 11, 2018
There are a couple of items that I want to update the community on as we head into the Holiday Season, a time when V.I. really “shines” with some incredible holiday decorations and our beautiful seawall luminary display on Christmas Eve. For more information on this special Venetian Isles tradition and how you can purchase candles from the Hospitality Committee, please visit www.ourvi.org/ the source for all your information on life in V.I.
Passing of Bob Johnson
Many of you knew Bob from his countless years on the V.I.H.A. Board or serving on numerous V.I.H.A. committees. Bob passed away on December 8. Bob was as committed in his efforts to maintain V.I. as the highest quality residential community as anyone. Bob was the original owner of his house on Kansas and lived in V.I. since the early 1970’s. V.I. is a better place because of Bob Johnson and he will be missed. Our thoughts are with Bob’s family as they mourn his passing.
We held a General Meeting for V.I. residents on October 11 where representatives of Qualified Property Management (“QPM”) were in attendance to introduce themselves to the community, make a brief presentation on their company and the services they provide, and answer any property owner questions. As we have discussed previously, the V.I.H.A. Board has been doing diligence on management companies in an effort to provide support for various functions, given the reduction in volunteer hours that V.I.H.A. members are able to commit. Some concerns that were raised at the General Meeting related to oversight of the management company and cost. First and foremost, if a management company is retained they work for V.I.H.A. and V.I. – not the other way around. The V.I.H.A. Board continues to set the policies and procedures and the management company follows them. Frank Saccone from QPM made a statement that really resonated with me. He said that homeowners are used to paying $85 - $100/month for lawn services and a similar amount for pool services, yet they are reluctant to pay a small fraction of that to protect the value of one of their biggest assets. The ad hoc committee formed to evaluate management companies has reviewed a proposed contract from QPM and discussion of this contract will likely occur at the V.I.H.A. Board meeting on December 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm at LCC Day School.
It was clear at the General Meeting that there is a wide range of opinions on the retention of a management company, as there are on many V.I.H.A. issues. The V.I.H.A. Board has taken over a year to diligence and review management companies. If we do retain a management company, it is because we have thoroughly researched it and believe it is in the best interests of our community. I hope that you recognize the effort that has gone into this process and will support the Board’s decision regardless of the ultimate decision.
2019 Dues Letters
Dues letters for 2019 will be mailed concurrent with the release of this “State of the Isles”. Annual dues for 2019, approved by the V.I.H.A. Board at the October Board meeting, will be $150.00. This is the first increase in V.I.H.A. dues in seven years and represents a monthly cost of $12.50. The increase in 2019 annual dues is not the result of an increase in costs related to the potential retention of a management company, but is a function of increases in maintenance of our limited common areas, reclaimed water, utilities and insurance, among others. There have been noticeable improvements to V.I. that are all made possible by the commitment of V.I.H.A. members.
Lisa Schwartz and members of the Beautification Committee have done a great job with the entrance to V.I. on Overlook and the new monuments that have been completed and are awaiting final inspection by the City. I’d like to also thank: (i) Steve Cropper, who recently spread 300 pounds of fertilizer along Grand Canal and Overlook and repaired all the sprinklers; (ii) Mark Brenman and Lisa Schwartz, who spread 19 bags of mulch predominantly on Overlook; (iii) Janet DeBiasio, who served as the point person for the replacement of a palm tree around Illinois Ave and Grand Canal; and, (iv) Jaren Wright, Janet, Steve and Mark, who made sure there was sufficient water for the plants at the new monuments. This is just an example of the commitment made by V.I.H.A. members to keep our community looking as attractive as it does. Just a reminder that these improvements are funded, in part, with revenues that are generated from advertisements in the “Venetian Isles Directory of Homeowners”. Please patronize those firms that are advertising in the Directory and making V.I. a better community.
As of this date, we will have five open positions on the V.I.H.A. Board in 2019. Elections will be held at the Annual Meeting on January 24. As I have written previously, it is critical that we get new members of the Board to generate fresh ideas and different perspectives. Please let me know if you have an interest.
Another successful event on Oktoberfest that saw attendance of 300+ persons at the Kansas South cul-de-sac. Thanks to the Michigan Grillers, the volunteers and the sponsors who made this event such a success. Photos of the event are posted on http://www.ourvi.org/latest-news/archives/10-2018
St. Pete PD has advised us that the first case of “front step package theft” has occurred in V.I. Please make every effort to remove your packages from your doorways ASAP or have a neighbor do so, if possible.
Hope to see you at the Annual Meeting on January 24 at 7:00pm at Lutheran Church of the Cross. A social event will be held prior to the meeting starting at 6:30pm.
Have a happy and safe holiday season. Don’t forget to light your seawall candles at 6:00pm on December 24th!!!! As always, feel free to contact me at the email address below. Please see http://www.ourvi.org/ for additional info. Thank you.
September 25, 2018
I have a few quick items to cover as we leave summer and head into fall, a beautiful time of the year in V.I.
In the “State of the Isles” dated August 29, 2018, I wrote that we needed approximately 46 volunteers to fully staff all the V.I committees and preclude the need for a management company. We are very grateful to the VI residents who answered that call and volunteered for a committee position; however, we fell far short of the 46 positions that we needed to fill.
As a result of the volunteer shortfall, the V.I.H.A. Board has continued to research third-party property management companies that could supplement the volunteer base that has been developed. Representatives from Qualified Property Management will attend the General Meeting on October 11, 2018 (6:30 p.m. at Lutheran Church of the Cross) and make a presentation on how the services they provide will make V.I. a better community. They will be available to answer resident questions after their presentation.
2019 V.I.H.A. Board Nominations
In November nominations will open for the 2019 V.I.H.A. Board and elections will be held at the Annual Meeting in January. We are in need of new Board members with new ideas to continue to propel the V.I.H.A. forward and meet the demands of a new group of residents. With all the home sales over the past 3 years, this would be the perfect time for you to consider joining the next generation of leadership within the V.I.H.A.. Please contact any of the V.I.H.A. Board members for more information.
Parking Survey Results
An overwhelming majority of the respondents to the survey on the placement of “No Parking” signs within V.I. were opposed to installing these signs on V.I. streets. Please remember that Deed Restriction #35 requires that “vehicles will be parked on the even numbered sides of the thoroughfare in accordance with the provisions of City Ordinances in order to make way for fire and police protection.” Please make sure your guests and contractors abide by this important restriction so that a life or property are not endangered.
Lisa Schwartz and members of the Beautification Committee have done a great job with the entrance to V.I. on Overlook and the new monuments that are in the final stages of construction. Just a reminder that these improvements are funded, in part, with revenues that are generated from advertisements in the “Venetian Isles Directory of Homeowners.” Advertisements in publications such as “Life on the Isles” do not benefit V.I. residents. Please patronize those firms that are advertising in the Directory and making V.I. a better community.
Our annual Oktoberfest party will be held on Saturday, October 20th from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Join your neighbors for brats, beer, music and children's activities on Kansas Ave. South. Volunteers are needed for 30 minute shifts. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Julie at 727-525-0477.
Hope to see you at the General Meeting on October 11. Please see www.ourvi.org for additional info.
August 31, 2018
In the “State of the Isles” that was dated July 7, 2018, I wrote that the VIHA Board would “continue to research a cost-effective way to have third-party property management services that would not be dependent on mandatory dues which we hope to be able to discuss at the October General Meeting. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.”
In response to questions that several residents had subsequent to that letter, the VIHA Board did an analysis of the number of active volunteers within VI and estimated the number of additional volunteers required to perform all the functions necessary such that a management company would not be needed. The results of that study are shown below.
In summary, there are 54 active volunteers for all the VI committees that come from 48 residences which represents 10.3% and 9.1%, respectively, of the total lots covered by the deed restrictions (525). These 54 volunteers fill a total of 67 different committee positions. The committee heads have indicated that the total committee needs aggregate 113 positions leaving us 46 positions to be filled if we want to maintain the same level of service within the community and not retain a management company.
Please contact any member of the VIHA Board or committee head if you have an interest in serving on a particular committee to help us meet that goal of 46. That contact information is on the website at http://http://www.ourvi.org/viha-committees.html
I hope you had a great Independence Day and have some exciting plans for the summer. Here is a quick overview of things that are going on within Venetian Isles.
Management Company Update:
As communicated at the Annual Meeting as well as in the March “State of the Isles” letter, the V.I.H.A. Board has formed a committee to evaluate engaging a property management company to assist with day-to-day functions, instead of relying on volunteers. This has become necessary given that fewer people are able to commit their time and longtime volunteers are no longer able to contribute as many hours as they have in the past.
We had scheduled a Town Hall meeting in May where property management companies could provide an overview of their services and answer residents’ questions. However, we cancelled the meeting due to the need for additional due diligence. The committee has completed further due diligence, including conversations with legal counsel, which indicate that transitioning the “voluntary” membership in the V.I.H.A. to a “mandatory” membership, including the requirement to pay annual dues, is an initiative that would prove to be tremendously difficult to implement and might not be legally enforceable.
That leaves the V.I.H.A. with the same problem: effectively enforcing Deed Restrictions and seeking to improve our community with a shrinking volunteer base. The Board will continue to research a cost-effective way to have third-party property management services that would not be dependent on mandatory dues which we hope to be able to discuss at the October General Meeting. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.
Maintaining high standards dictated by the Deed Restrictions and continued community improvements have contributed to increasing real estate values in V.I. We recently added a graph to the www.ourvi.org homepage which tracks “Property Sales in Venetian Isles” that shows a positive trend. We plan to update and share this graph regularly. Our thanks to Thomas Flynn for compiling these statistics.
“Better Idea Time”
Subsequent to the release of the March “State of the Isles” and my mid-April update, there was quite a lot of “chatter” on the “Next Door” website about the concept of mandatory dues. Let me make the following points to clarify some of the issues that were raised:
Work is almost complete on the Overlook Bridge entrance to VI. Accent lights have been installed on the trees and additional landscaping will be finished by August 1.
I get a report every week from our Community Police Officer which averages maybe one call a week. There was one burglary of a vehicle in the past month, but the vehicle was left unlocked. Please remember to remove items of value from your cars and keep them locked so we can continue with this positive trend.
Hurricane season is upon us so, especially for those new residents of VI, be prepared by having all the recommended supplies. There are numerous hurricane preparedness guides available online, including the City of St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay Times and local TV station websites.