HERITAGE HARBOUR -- In a split vote, the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District ended a long-simmering dispute Tuesday night over landscape and irrigation issues.
District supervisors voted 3-2 to take over landscape responsibilities for property it owns, replacing a landscape committee that has handled the chore since 2008.
Chair Joyce Sandy noted the controversy and disagreement over the district's role in landscape maintenance, and said mutual respect between the two groups is needed.
"That's what landowners do, control their land," Sandy said in making the motion to assume landscape responsibility and invite bid proposals.
Landscape maintenance should be the responsibility of the owner, she said.
Supervisor Michelle Patterson seconded the motion.
"I would like to think both groups want peace in the community. If we do this for peace, I am all for it," Patterson said.
Voting for the change: Sandy, Patterson and Joseph Jaudon. Voting against: Supervisors Richard Lane and W. Lee Bettes.
The changeover is effective Jan. 1, 2015.
Earlier in the meeting, residents Larry Eickert and Tom Bakalar spoke against the change.
Essentially, Eickert asked why change something already functioning well?
"This committee has functioned quite well and receives cooperation from the homeowners association, the management company, the developer and TruScapes, the landscaping contractor," Eickert said.
The district has a public relations and credibility problem, Eickert said, asking whether it would be better for the district to leave landscape responsibilities where they are.
Bakalar also urged keeping landscape responsibility with the committee to allow the district to focus on other problems such as lake, drainage and sidewalk issues.
"Together we can make this an example of government working together for the community instead of getting in the way," Balalar said.
In other business, district engineer Rick Schappacher said radar guns set up on Heritage Isles Way and Montauk Point showed the extent of speeding in Heritage Harbour.
The statistics show there is too much speeding although most drivers exceed the speed limit by only a few miles per hour, said district manager Greg Cox.
Some drivers are going a lot faster, including one who drove 64 mph in a 25 mph zone, Schappacher said.
Supervisors agreed to talk about what they should do about the speeding problem at the April 1 meeting.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter:@jajones1.