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Second petition aims for vote on land deal

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Opponents of the deal have raised objections, strongly suggesting the prospective concessions could prove to be harmful losses to residents in the long run.

By MELODY JAMESON

SUN CITY CENTER – Residents here who continue to question a proposed land swap have submitted a second signature petition seeking a community membership vote.

David Floyd, a SCC Community Association director and board secretary, said Monday he received that morning a petition of about 40 pages containing more than 400 signatures calling for a vote by CA members demonstrating either approval for or rejection of the proposal to trade a few concessions for a few acres of the idle North Lakes Golf Course. 

The proposal was outlined in a Letter of Intent dated December 30, 2011, and involves turn -over to the association of five to six acres on the course’s ninth hole by ClubLink Enterprises, owner of the community’s golf courses, in exchange for several concessions related to aspects of the 1984 Agreement which could be helpful to the Canada-based golf resort operator.  The exchange would not be a purchase transaction. 

The CA has proposed using the added acreage adjacent to the Atrium complex for needed additional parking.

Opponents of the deal have raised objections, strongly suggesting the prospective concessions could prove to be harmful losses to residents in the long run.

This second petition follows closely a first such effort in early March seeking a similar vote which was submitted to the CA board but rejected for multiple reasons, including lack of conformance with established CA policy.   The first petition challenged the CA board’s authority to act in certain situations as well as its interpretations of its governing documents.  Board members  also faulted the petition language as misrepresentations of the facts.  

The current petition actually contains a total of 463 signatures, 369 of them by residents living north of S.R. 674, 94 of them affixed by South side residents, said Lynn Mooney, one of the opponents.   Their objective is a vote in support of or rejecting the December Letter of Intent, she added. 

Mooney, a Realtor, local business woman and longtime community resident, noted that she and members of the opposition group, spent eight hours a day for five days or about 40 hours during one week in the Atrium  explaining their positions and seeking petition signatures.  Those conversations disclosed the points in the December letter which most worry SCC citizens, she said.

The number one sticking point is the concession that would give ClubLink golfing members from outside the area free use of SCC amenities for a full week when visiting the ClubLink courses in the community.   Residents feel that arrangement in effect deprives them of their own recreational facilities, Mooney added.

The second major concern of residents is perceived forfeiture of any influence over ClubLink’s use of the idle North Course acreage if the CA agrees to take no position on any ClubLink proposals for it, she said.  

In addition, Mooney pointed to a statement in the Letter of Intent which calls for agreement as shown by signatures no later than December 31, 2011.  “If there was no extension,” she added, “the letter has expired.” 

She also called attention to a LOI statement which requires settlement of any arising issues by February 10, 2012, if no adjustments between the parties to the potential agreement are undertaken.  This aspect, too, would seem to invalidate the LOI at this point, she suggested.

Asked about the two latter points, Ed Barnes, the CA board’s current president who drafted the LOI in December, replied that neither concern is rooted in fact.  The LOI was signed by representatives of both ClubLink and the CA by December 31, 2011, just as the document calls for, he asserted.

What’s more, he added, there have been adjustments, including moving the property lines pertaining to the parcel to be turned over to the CA, which have been undertaken several times as issues have arisen and which therefore have obviated the February deadline.

Barnes also emphasized that the LOI is an understanding accepted by  lawfully chosen representatives of the two organizations – the CA and ClubLink -  which has been committed to paper for working purposes.  However, he said, it does not constitute a contract.    

Additionally, the CA president reiterated responses he has made before to the matters of ClubLink visiting members getting free use of SCC amenities and of  a CA position on any plans for the north course that the golf resort owner might entertain. 

Allowing visitors use of community amenities is a developer’s right long codified in the ’84 Agreement, he said, and transferring it to ClubLink with the restriction that those accommodated visitors be from distances greater than 50 miles is expected to help ultimately with the sale of SCC homes.                                                                                                               

 As for future uses of the north course, Barnes again said that if development of the acreage for housing purposes is the worry, such activity could not be undertaken without the community’s knowledge, would require major changes to the community’s master site plan at the county level and could not be pushed through without the community’s agreement as well as support. 

The second petition will be checked over to ensure it conforms to pertinent CA policies, Floyd said, and at least 100 of its signatures validated as those of current CA members.  The accepted petition request could be considered at the next CA board meeting on Wednesday, April 11, he added.

Mooney said this timeframe also is her expectation. Asked if there could be a third petition drive, she replied that may depend on outcomes of the second petition.

Copyright 2012 Melody Jameson

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