Lakewood Ranch Herald

Lakewood Ranch Country Club development districts on path for road privatization

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Efforts are moving forward to privatize roads and gatehouses at the entrances to the Lakewood Ranch Country Club communities controlled by community development districts 2, 5 and 6.

A resolution seeking to amend transportation legislation passed in 2002 specifically targeting these publicly dedicated roads was approved by the CDDs during a joint board meeting last week.

Approval of a bill amending Chapter 190, community development districts, would permit conveyance of publicly dedicated roads and rights of way within a CDD to a homeowners association, in the same manner as publicly dedicated county roads are now transferred to a petitioning HOA.

The goal is to restrict public access and make them private, gated communities. At the time the legislation was

passed, no consideration to CDDs was given.

The amendment would transfer operations and maintenance of the Balmoral and Country Club gates to their respective HOAs.

The Country Club CDDs, which include Country Club West and Country Club/ Edgewater Village, also agreed Country Club West Board Chairman Richard Williams will present the amendment request to the Manatee County legislative delegation Nov. 14 during a workshop for the 2015 legislative session at the Selby Auditorium at the University of South Florida Sarasota.

In addition to the support from Country Club district supervisors, the resolution was also supported by the Country Club/Edgewater Village Association and the Country Club West Community Association, managed by Advanced Management Inc. of Southwest Florida.

Williams said support has also been received from the boards of CDD 1 and 4, Summerfield and Greenbrook Village, respectively, which don't have gatehouse access.

"I appreciate the support shown by the Lakewood Ranch CDDs and HOAs and expect broader support from other CDDs around the state," Williams said in a prepared statement.

Williams said he plans to speak to the legislative delegation and address the need to have a level playing field for HOAs in CDDs so they are awarded the same rights and privileges as homeowner associations in unincorporated areas throughout Florida.

"I've been in contact with all the other CDDs in Manatee County and each of them are taking it to their highest level. Hopefully, we'll have letters of support from them by the time I present this to our legislative delegation, which is comprised of House and Senate members," he said.

Williams said passing the amendment would not mean the gates would be closed to public traffic.

"This legislative change is only step one, and approval of step one does not indicate support for, or no support for LWR CDDs privatizing roads and gates now or in the future," he said.

When asked by other supervisors about possible gate access restrictions, Williams said anyone who isn't a resident would have to go through a different protocol and the HOAs could set their own rules and policies.

Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.