Venetian Isles Homeowners Association,Inc. St. Petersburg, Florida June 15, 2016
“State of the Isles”
Summer is upon us and Tropical Storm Colin was an early reminder of the need to make sure our homes are in “storm shape” and that all the items necessary for sustaining our families are safely secured just in case…..The impact of TS Colin leads the items of significance upon which I want to advise you in this quarterly letter.
Seawalls – As I described in the March 2016 Presidents’ Letter, City representatives attended a March 7 meeting to discuss the state of VI Seawalls and the repair plan anticipated. Unless you’ve been out of town since TS Colin, you know that the Grand Canal seawall between Overlook and Massachusetts Avenues suffered what can only be described as a “cataclysmic failure” during the storm. Thanks to timely notifications of this condition by VI residents and prompt action by the City, it appears that the damage was contained to the seawall and sidewalk and not the myriad of utilities that run below the surface. The seawall study commissioned by the City identified this section of seawall as one of the worst in our community and contracts were already being bid for its repair. TS Colin certainly facilitated that and required the closure of Grand Canal between those two streets, unfortunately as of the date of this writing I do not know when Grand Canal will be open for vehicle traffic. The seawall study has been posted to the VIHA website, www.ourvi.org.
Congressman David Jolly – will facilitate a presentation on June 20 at 6:30pm at Lutheran Church of the Cross to discuss recent changes in the national flood insurance program. As TS Colin has reminded us, this is an item of particular importance to our neighborhood. Please try and attend this event which is also being sponsored by the Shore Acres Civic Association. Get there early as parking is expected to be in short supply.
Special Board Meeting – also on June 20, at 6:15pm immediately preceding the Jolly presentation at LCC, there will be a Special VIHA Board meeting to accept nominations, discuss and vote on a candidate to fill the open position of Vice President on the VIHA Board.
Website – www.ourvi.org has been updated to be more current and emails will be sent to those who have provided us their email address when new items are posted; -
Next Door – in the past, the VIHA has tried to maintain a Facebook page upon which community information could be posted. We found this to be only “marginally effective.” I’d like to encourage all of the VI residents to sign up for “Next Door,” a web based application that allows residents to post items of interest that can be viewed immediately. To register, go to: www.nextdoor.com.
WANTED: Volunteers – VI has become the community of choice in Tampa Bay because of the tireless efforts of a number of volunteers. One of the criticisms I’ve heard of the VIHA is that “it is run by the same group of people and nothing ever changes…..” In response to that I would advance that 4 of the current 12 VIHA Board members have been on the Board for less than one year and 2 others have been on for less than 3 years. Never have the opportunities for you to become involved in your community been so numerous. Volunteer opportunities include:
Committees - please see if one of the committees listed below is one where you have an interest and can assist VI in reaching the “next level:” (i) Membership; (ii) Architectural Review; (iii) Arbitration; (iv) Beautification; (v) Communication; (vi) Deed Restrictions; (vii) Deed Restriction Revision; (viii) Finance; or (ix) Hospitality.
Membership Committee – this is one of the most important committees and recently was reconstituted by the VIHA Board with a focus on connecting with residents and finding ways to improve life within VI – and having a lot more fun!!!!!
Oktoberfest – “Book it Dano!!!” The favorite activity within VI by a long shot and one that residents have requested return as a way to usher out the heat of summer and welcome in fall is set for Saturday, October 15, 2016. Julie Scanlon has taken on the task of coordinating this event, but she needs more volunteers to ensure we have a first class event. Please contact Julie at 525-0477 if you would like to join this committee. Another way to meet your VI neighbors and have some fun!!!
Other Social Opportunities – the fourth annual VI Golf Tournament will be scheduled for October as well as the first annual VI Fishing Tournament.
Speed Limits - Speeding and aggressive driving on Grand Canal and Overlook continues to generate numerous complaints from walkers, bikers and people just out enjoying their yards. The speed limit within VI is 25 mph for a reason. No one wants to be that “guy” (or the parent of a younger driver) who causes a serious injury due to excessive speed. The SPPD admits resources are limited but they are doing their best to enforce the traffic regs in VI and other neighborhoods.
Short-Term Rentals – Deed Restriction 54 which will limit short-term rentals in VI is still being reviewed by the Deed Restriction Committee and by our legal counsel to make sure that the language is clear and supportable should we need to go to litigation against any violators. This is a very important issue that currently impacts only a small number of VI property owners; however, it quickly becomes a case of “NIMBY” - literally. Admittedly, we have been working on this for a while but we want to make sure we get it “right.”
SeeClickFix – a St. Pete website and mobile app that provides a faster and easier method for citizens to submit requests for assistance with City services, or to report issues that they see while out in the community. More information will be posted to www.ourvi.org.
Safety and Security – Ray Merritt, the SPPD Community Policing Officer for VI, related to me that approximately 8 guns a week are stolen from vehicles in St. Pete. While it seems that auto thefts in the neighborhood are down recently, please keep your cars locked and remove all items of value including your garage door openers.
Reclaimed Water – one of the biggest sources of algae growth in Tampa Bay is the runoff from reclaimed water which is rich in nutrients and fertilizer. Please check your sprinklers and inform your neighbors if you see a missing or damaged sprinkler head which is leading to runoff to the bay.
We’ll advise you of the date of the General Meeting in October via a notice to the website and email blast. The next VIHA Board meeting is September 6, 2016 at LCC Day School starting at 6:00pm. Please feel free to attend and advise the Board of any items of significance within VI.
Venetian Isles Homeowners Association,Inc. St. Petersburg, Florida March 27, 2016
“State of the Isles”
As I mentioned in the December 2015 Presidents’ Letter, we are transitioning from a “paper” version of these quarterly updates to electronic means to facilitate delivery of information as well as to reduce our printing costs.
Here is a quick summary of some of the things going on within VI. As always, the best source of info is the VI website – www.ourvi.org. The website will be updated regularly with items of importance to VI Residents.
VI Garage Sale – time to clean out and sell those “treasures” – EBay has nothing on us!!! The VI garage sale will be April 9. The participation cost has been reduced from $10.00 to $5.00 this year based upon feedback that I received last year. Please contact Julie Scanlon (525-0477) with any questions that you may have and to make payment.
New Residents Orientation – For all those VI residents who have moved in subsequent to April 2015. April 16 at 7:00pm.
Fishing Tournament - Rick Sandon, co-chair of the Membership Committee, will be organizing this event. If you are an avid fisherman and would like to help, please contact Rick at 813-789-0968.
2016 Oktoberfest: - Oktoberfest was a signature event for VI for many, many years. One thing that the Board hears regularly from residents of VI is “when are you going to bring back Oktoberfest?” The answer lies in “volunteers.” Julie Scanlon has agreed to lead the effort for the 2016 Oktoberfest; however, she needs upwards of 20-25 volunteers. Please volunteer your time to make this become a reality in 2016. Contact Julie at 525-0477.
2016 Annual Meeting – a summary of the materials presented follows:
SPPD Chief of Police Tony Holloway and SPPD Community Officer Brandon Bill provided an update on trends in St. Pete and in VI (see below for more info);
Election of VIHA Officers/Members – President – Rich Scanlon; Vice President – Drew Rosen; Treasurer – Lisa Schwartz; Secretary – Linda Testa; At large members – John Bodimer; Chris Ewing; Bob Johnson; Mark Brenman; Glen Gomer and Tom Testa. Subsequent to the annual meeting, Terry Hedden and Laura Simkin were elected to the Board. Brief bio’s for each of the above are on www.ourvi.org;
VIHA Committee Reports – 2016 budget overview; DR 54 final comments; VI seawalls; and 2016 Oktoberfest;
2016 Directory of Homeowners – has been printed and delivered to VIHA members. Please let me know if you did not yet receive your copy; and,
DR 54 – a Deed Restriction limiting short-term rentals in VI to that allowed under the City code will be balloted in mid-2016.
Crime and Community Security:
Vehicle Thefts - Chief Holloway and Officer Bill stressed the need to remove valuables from your car and to lock the doors. If you don’t lock your car doors you can assume that someone will be opening the door and looking through for items of value. If you leave valuables in your car you can assume that at some point those items will be taken;
Security Cameras – I had been a big advocate of security cameras throughout VI as a means of reducing crime. However, a committee studied the issue and found this concept was not feasible. If you have security cameras on your property please consider registering with the SPPD through their “Eagle Eye” program. Information can be found on www.ourvi.org under the “Community Resources” tab; and,
Crime Prevention Officer – Officer Reggie Mitchell has been named as the new Crime Prevention Officer for VI. Hopefully you will get a chance to meet him at one of our upcoming neighborhood meetings. The SPPD will provide a home security assessment upon request. Officer Mitchell can be reached at Reginald.email@example.com.
Seawalls - Undoubtedly, you’ve noticed the barricades and tape on some of the seawalls on Grand Canal. These have been in a state of disrepair for quite some time and some are becoming quite hazardous. On March 7, City Representatives spoke to a group of residents about a report on the state of our seawalls that had been commissioned by Reuben Clarsen, a noted expert [See the VI Newsletter from December 2013, available on the website, for an article on seawalls in VI]. All of the VI seawalls are in need of some form of repair; however, the availability of City funding is always the issue. The City receives $400,000 annually from Penny for Pinellas to repair City owned seawalls. VI will receive $200,000 from this years’ allocation, but this will be a multi-year program. Additional information will be posted to the website as it becomes known; and,
Overlook Bridge Beautification – VIHA recently received City funds in the amount of $19,500 which will be used for landscaping and the purchase of 11 Royal Palms to complete the Overlook Bridge replacement project.
VI Monuments - The next project in our Master Plan is the replacement of monuments to the entrances of VI. Funds that VIHA raised to match City dollars, when available, came from the fees paid by advertisers in the 2016 Directory of Homeowners. This project will substantially improve the “eye appeal” of VI at one of our primary access points. Needless to say, this would not have been possible without the support of our advertisers. Please support these organizations that you will find in the 2016 Directory.
Upcoming Board Meetings – The VIHA Board generally meets the first Monday of each month (other than in July and August). Meetings are scheduled for April 4, May 2 and June 6. Meetings are open to all members of VIHA. Please feel free to attend and discuss any of your neighborhood concerns in front of the Board. Check the website to make sue a meeting has not been rescheduled or postponed. Meeting start at 7:00pm at the LCC Day School.
Architectural Review Committee (“ARC”) – before you make any improvements to the exterior of your home, please check the “Architectural Review” tab on the website so you have a better understanding of what will need to be submitted for ARC approval BEFORE commencing construction. Contact information for the ARC members is listed as well should you have any questions about your project or the process for approvals.
Have a great spring and I look forward to seeing you out and about in VI!!!!!
Dear VI Residents, Thanks to the efforts of a committed group of volunteers and nearly 300 VI property owners who signed a Consent Form, we are nearing the end of the first phase of the Deed Restriction Revitalization process. Here is what we expect will happen over the next few months: First week of May -- all the signed Consent Forms were delivered to our attorney who will review the Consent Forms for “completeness” and prepare the Revitalization Package for submission to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (“DEO”). Mid to late May -- the Revitalization Package will be sent to DEO for their review. The DEO must complete its review no later than 60 days after receipt, by law. Mid to late July -- upon approval from DEO, our attorney will record the Deed Restrictions (“DRs”) that were in place prior to the Revitalization with the County. Late July to early August -- once the DRs have been recorded they will be enforceable within VI. Remember, none of the DRs that were in place prior to the Revitalization have been changed. However, the VIHA Board and Deed Restriction Revision Committee (“DRRC”) understand that the community expects the DRs to be “overhauled” – which includes the deletion and modification of existing DRs and the possible addition of others. This process cannot occur without YOU as we need the approval of 66.67% of all property owners subject to the DRs to make ANY changes. The process that the VIHA Board will utilize to accomplish this DR overhaul will include:
Surveying residents to prioritize the DRs that need to be addressed;
Communicating the DR Survey results with Town Hall meetings for further discussion;
Drafting (based upon the survey results and town hall meetings) a set of proposed DR modifications to be discussed at another Town Hall meeting;
Proposed language must be reviewed and approved by VI’s legal counsel
Balloting of proposed DR modifications;
Recording any changes approved by 66.67% of residents with the County.
As a result of talking and listening to residents during this Revitalization process, we have learned that the vast majority of VI residents want DRs and an even greater number want the DRs modified. The VIHA Board has heard your message and we look forward to starting the DR revision process as soon as the Revitalization is complete. I welcome your continued input and thank you for your support of the Revitalization effort. Rich Scanlon VIHA President firstname.lastname@example.org