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‘Yea’ or ‘Nay’ membership vote to decide fate of SCC parking lot

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image The Sun City Center Community Association office and Library have been repainted in the new colors that will eventually be used for all the central campus buildings. Photo Penny Fletcher

Association members will vote on two things: to approve or not to approve the board spending $882,000 for central campus parking lot improvements and whether they want food service in a café area yet to be constructed.

BY PENNY FLETCHER

Sun City Center’s Community Association Bylaws give the association’s board many powers and responsibilities, but some things can’t be done without a resident vote.

May 21 and May 22 association members will vote on two things: to approve or not to approve the board spending $882,000 for central campus parking lot improvements and whether they want food service in a café area yet to be constructed.

With so many expansion plans having been recently announced, some board members wonder if the residents know just what they’ll be voting for as the first round of a $5.7 mil expansion project begins.

“The first phase begins with the improvements to the parking lot and the construction of a café or other type of social meeting area,” said David Floyd, secretary of the SCC Board of Directors who has taken responsibility of chairing the committee in charge of the expansion. “The initial phase will also include building the new Information Center.”

Painting of the Community Association and Security Patrol offices has already been done in the new color scheme that will be used for new structures, and eventually for repainting old ones as well. The Library is next to be painted, and eventually the colors of all the existing common buildings in the central campus located at North Pebble Beach and Cherry Hills boulevards will be changed. The slightly varying two shades are referred to as “coffee,” “cappuccino” and “latte.”

“No one is quite sure what to call it,” Floyd said laughing. “But it definitely looks like coffee to me.”

The Information Center, its history, purpose and plans for the future, will be covered in a separate news story.

Meanwhile, the board would like members to be aware of what will be on next week’s ballot. Directors also want membership to understand why some things must be approved by 51% of Community Association members and other expenses may be decided by the board alone.

Financial arrangements for the expansion were explained as follows.

Spending for the Café or social meeting area — and the Information Center — was approved in a vote of membership in 2004 but there was no money to implement the plans at that time. Since then the new board has put aside money from the $1,500 fee for each home resold within the community.

“People who buy new homes pay this fee through their developer,” Floyd said. This fee is charged as an impact fee on new people moving into a community that will impact roads and facilities there. Several years ago, it was voted that resales pay this fee also.” This is so that the Capital Fund will be large enough to build facilities that will accommodate a larger population as time goes on, he explained.

According to the association Bylaws, the board can only spend 15% of the operating budget without membership voting.

The budget is now around $430,000 and the parking lot will cost $882,000. Even though the money is already saved, the 51% of membership voting rule applies because this is more than 15% of the total budget.

“The reason we feel we need to do the whole parking lot before we begin anything else is because that way we will have all the underground utilities located and in the proper place, and also not disrupt common areas piece-meal.”

Floyd said this is what is recommended by all the contractors and county officials contacted but still must be approved by membership.

“It just doesn’t make sense to do the parking lot, lighting and mandated landscaping a little at a time,” he said. “We need to start and finish that and then begin the other projects.”

If the new parking area plan is approved by the community, 150 spaces will be added at the atrium area for cars and there will also be 40 more places to park golf carts. Parking will be “straight” instead of angle.

So the top of the ballot will be a simple “yes” or “no” to the parking lot expenditure: the $882,000 done as one complete project.

The second thing on the ballot is whether to have food service at the café area or not.

This is not a binding vote, it is an opinion poll.

This is because the expenditure for building the café was already approved by membership but this board wants to know which type of café is the choice of the most members.

“Food service will cost each member about $4 to $6 a year in dues,” Floyd said. Depending on food sold and salaries paid, it could cost more. This does not include anything concerning the sale of liquor.

The board talked with other places about the expenses associated with their cafes.

“The situation is different in Kings Point,” Floyd said. “Kings Point has two clubhouses and the sale of liquor in one offsets the loss on food in the other.”

Liquor licenses in Florida carry with them the elimination of any bring your own bottle activities. Once a liquor license is obtained for a property, all alcoholic beverages must be bought by the established owner of the license; none from home or any other place.

“We know this would disrupt many of our activities and regular events,” Floyd said. Once the community heard this and reacted at a recent meeting, liquor license consideration was no longer even in question.

If a “social meeting area without food” is approved instead of a café with food, Floyd said it may be cheaper and more efficient to build an area different from “café style” where people could feel free to bring their own food and beverage if they wanted.

“We just want to get an idea of what the majority wants,” he said.

Plans for the entire expansion are available in the Community Association office.

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