VECDD sets new public hearing on $11 million bond for golf course, park improvements
A pending lawsuit against the Viera East Community Development District has forced its Board of Supervisors to schedule a second public hearing on its plan to purchase an $11.2 million bond for golf course and park improvements.
The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Faith Lutheran Church, 5550 Faith Drive in Viera.
At the hearing, the five-member Board of Supervisors will hear and consider testimony from any interested Viera East property owner as to the propriety and advisability of carrying out the 2019 Project.
Despite a majority of residents that voiced their opposition during the first public hearing July 25 in the multi-purpose room of the Faith Lutheran Church, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the 20-year bond that will see more than $11 million put toward improvements at the Viera East Golf Club and golf course.
These enhancements include:
* Clubhouse renovations, including a banquet facility at a cost of $2.9 million.
* A new irrigation system for $2 million.
* Bunker renovations for $1.1 million.
In addition to the $9 million in expenses, homeowners also will pay nearly $5 million more in interest.
In order to pay off the $11 million bond, Viera East homeowners will have to foot the bill. The assessment will take effect after the VECDD’s water management assessment bond is paid off in 2023.
Homeowners in Six Mile Creek, Crane Creek, Cross Creek and some homeowners in the south section of the Indian River Colony Club are not affected by the bond. There are more than 4,200 households in the VECDD. Of that total, 791 houses are on the golf course.
Viera East Golf Club includes the communities of Aberdeen, Addington, Ashton, Blackheath, Brightwood, Canterbury, Collingtree, Durban Park, Oaklefe, Parkstone, Stratford Place and Woodhall.
In an Oct. 22 letter to Viera East residents affected by the proposed bond, Jason M. Showe, VECDD’s district manager, wrote that the new hearing was being held “because of certain claims asserted in litigation filed against the district” following the July 25 public hearing.
Showe said there are new assessment proceedings that afford the board an opportunity to consider additional and supplemental information on the record with respect to the proposed benefit special assessments and bond issuance.
“It is the district’s intent that these new assessment proceedings will supersede the prior assessment proceedings on this subject matter,” Showe wrote. “However, please note that the estimated amounts of the benefit special assessments to be considered at the board meeting and public hearing scheduled for Nov. 21 have not changed from those estimated amounts considered at the meeting and public hearing held on July 25.”
Four Viera East homeowners and commercial property owners -- Robert Dale, Paul F. Daley, Steven Colasinski and Trisha Smith – filed a lawsuit seeking an emergency temporary or permanent injunction restraining the VECDD from purchasing the $11.2 million bond.
On Aug. 30, 18th Judicial Circuit Court Judge George Paulk denied the homeowners’ motion for a temporary or emergency injunction against the VECDD. A Jan. 7 hearing is set before Judge Paulk to hear the permanent injunction lawsuit.
Showe also wrote in his letter to Viera East property owners that the purpose of such benefit special assessments is to secure the bonds to be issued to fund the 2019 Project.
“The benefit special assessments associated with the 2019 Project are not expected to result in an increase above the scheduled annual assessment amount currently being levied against your property,” Showe said.
In addition, Showe wrote that the assessments will appear on the homeowner’s regular annual real property tax bill issued by the Brevard County Tax collector.
“As provided in the (VECDD’s) Assessment Report, the assessments will constitute a lien against your property to be paid in no more than 20 annual installments. It is expected that annual assessments for the 2019 Project will first be levied on the annual tax bill . . . on or about October or November 2022. The failure to pay any assessments collected on the tax bill will cause a tax certificate to be issued against your property within the district, which results in a loss of title,” Showe said.
The total projected gross annual assessment that the district will levy and collect against the Viera East property owner is anticipated to be $241.15,” Showe wrote.
Dale, who lives in the Osprey development, and is the designated spokesman for the business community for the Corporate Park in Viera, said he’s not attending the Nov. 21 public hearing.
“I’m boycotting it,” he said. “It’s a waste of time. The board already has made up its mind as to what it is going to do. They have no intention of listening to what the majority of the Viera East residents want. I just find it interesting that they are holding this new public hearing in response to our lawsuit.”
Viera East Golf Club is an 18-hole course that opened in 1994, and the club projects 54,000 rounds will be played there for the fiscal year ending in September.
Created in 1991, the VECDD is accountable for the development, operation, and upkeep of infrastructure corresponding to the golfing direction, an 85-lake stormwater gadget, conservation spaces, paved trails and sidewalks, and Woodside Park.
The VECDD is a local government entity authorized by Chapter 190 of the Florida Statutes as amended, and created by ordinance of Brevard County as an alternative method of planning, acquiring, operating and maintaining community-wide improvements in planned communities. A CDD provides the “solution” to Florida’s need to provide valuable community infrastructure generated by growth, ultimately without overburdening other governments and their taxpaying residents.
Community development districts represent a major advancement in Florida’s effort to manage its growth effectively and efficiently. This allows a developer to establish higher construction standards, meanwhile providing a long-term solution to the operation and maintenance of the community’s facilities.
The VECDD is organized similar to other local governments in Florida, in that the legislative body is composed of a five-member board known as the Board of Supervisors. The board establishes the policy of the district in accordance with Florida law.
The district encompasses 2,825 acres east of Interstate 95 from Wickham Highway northward into Rockledge.