April President's Letter
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Dear VI Residents:
As you know, we are going through a process to “revitalize” the Deed Restrictions (“DRs”) as required under Florida statutes. I would like to thank the approximately 200 homeowners who have returned their signed Consent Forms and believe, as I do, that the DRs are the foundation for making VI such an attractive and desirable community, where property values have increased faster than the market over the past year. A small, but vocal, minority is trying to convince you otherwise, even though everyone who purchased a home in VI should have been informed about the mandatory DRs prior to their closing. Before you make your decision, I want to address some of the misinformation that has been circulating:
I understand that this is a complex issue and there are plenty of discussions occurring online and “in driveways” which is to be expected. Let’s keep up the discussions but keep them factual and avoid criticizing individual perspectives.
I have included some FAQs below based upon conversations with property owners. If you have additional questions or would like to discuss this important decision further, please reach out to any member of the Organizing Committee. Thank you.
ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED REVITALIZATION PROCESS QUESTIONS
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.