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March madness comes early to Gleneagles

LAKEWOOD RANCH — The jump shots that 12-year-old Ethan Robertson and his 10-year-old brother, Gabriel, took recently made history.

They were the first baskets ever shot at a legal hoop in Gleneagles.

But all Ethan and Gabriel knew was that they were having a lot of fun.

The sons of Shawn and Tracey Robertson made a little bit of history because the Country Club/Edgewater Village Homeowner’s Association recently approved a variance allowing Gleneagles, one of Country Club’s 14 maintenance-free neighborhoods, to erect a basketball hoop in the parking area of the community pool.

Among those who wrote a letter in support of the hoops is Bob Delaney, an official with the National Basketball Association who lives in the neighborhood.

A previous hoop that was up for about seven years and was torn down about a year ago was erected without authorization, community officials said.

A possible battle over whether the variance might set a precedent, allowing the other maintenance-free neighborhoods to erect a hoop, apparently never materialized.

“I was very happy that it went smoothly,” Shawn Robertson said after the homeowner’s association approved the hoop with no dissent during a homeowner’s meeting at Town Hall. “I was going there expecting to have to make a presentation and give more facts. But it turns out they were all in favor of it.”

When the old illegal hoop finally wore out, Gleneagles officials didn’t intend to replace it. But the Robertsons protested, saying they wanted one for their boys.

They were told Gleneagles and the 13 other maintenance-free neighborhoods don’t allow hoops because there isn’t the space, said Jack Kerber, president of the Country Club/Edgewater Village Homeowner’s Association.

Robertson went through a process in order to get the hoop to a variance vote. He had to petition all of Gleneagles’ homeowners to see if a majority approved of the hoop. A majority did. Then, Kerber asked the neighborhood leaders to see if any of their constituents had any opposition. That went smoothly also.

“We think we reached the right decision,” Kerber said Monday.

Kerber said the homeowner’s association isn’t concerned about a spate of hoops being requested for Gleneagles neighbors.

“We don’t think there is a similar situation because none of the other community pools have that large a parking area,” Kerber said. “As for the boys, they have logged countless hours since the hoop was ready for use. It’s a Spaulding hoop, which cost about $1,000 including installation in concrete. Roughly $500 was donated toward the hoop and the Robertsons have paid for the rest.

“As soon as they got home the other night, they played till dark,” Robertson said.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 708-7917.