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Get Involved in Your HOA

On February 3, 2023, La Minnesota Riviera, LLC, the current owner of the Riviera Golf Course, filed a Bert Harris claim against the County. According to the claim, the owners have been burdened by the Collier County Land Development Code’s Golf Course Conversion Ordinance, which requires outreach and approval from stakeholders (property owners within 1,000 ft. of the golf course) during the design phase of the conversion project.

At the Board of County Commissioners Meeting held on April 11, 2023, several members of the Riviera Homeowners Association provided input against the conversion project and were advised to conduct mediation to try and resolve the claim before litigation. Many of the stakeholders voiced their disapproval of  a new residential development in place of  the golf course and its green space, citing flood and stormwater concerns and an increase in road traffic as the main reasons. On April 17, 2023,  mediation occurred with an executed Mediated Settlement Agreement between the owners, the county, and the stakeholders. The settlement consisted of the following:

  • The County will pay La Minnesota the sum of $5,800,000 to purchase the Riviera Golf Course.
  • The County will create an Independent Special District to reimburse the County for all the costs.
  • The Special District will assess property owners or the stakeholders to recover funds.
  • The Special District will be responsible for improving the property moving forward.
  • La Minnesota Riviera, LLC shall withdraw its Bert Harris Claim upon payment and release the County from future causes of action related to the Claim.
  • The settlement will be considered null and void if the district is not created.

Despite the peaceful mediation, many members of the Riviera HOA expressed their concerns with the settlement agreement due to the financial burdens this might cause. They are worried they won’t be able to pay the assessment amount to the County. The HOA Board unanimously agreed, but residents mentioned that they were not fully informed about the specifics of the settlement. Due to these voiced objections, the Commissioners suggested that the HOA create a poll to gauge the level of support among their members before the next hearing.

The HOA Board is elected to represent the residents. Residents should, know who is elected to the HOA Board, and what stances they will take to ensure that they are working for their best interest, creating a sustainable financial model to protect property values. Local elections often have a much bigger impact on your day-to-day life than national elections, starting with HOAs, City Council, County Commissioners, and even the Clerk of Courts. Citizen engagement is critical to good decision-making.

We have requested additional information regarding the legal authority for the County to purchase property on behalf of private homeowners or to finance a private purchase of a golf course. Public benefits are mentioned, but it is not clear that those are above the current level for the private homeowners in the private development. Using $5,800,000 of taxpayer dollars to purchase a property with no specific plans for development or identified public purpose, requires further review.  If purchased by the county, the property would not be assessed property taxes which is detrimental to the county-wide tax base.