MINUTES OF MEETING
regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Coral Springs Improvement
District was held on
Present and constituting a quorum were:
Robert D. Fennell President
William Eissler Vice President
Glen Hanks Secretary
Also present were:
Gary L. Moyer Superintendent
Ed Goscicki Vice
Dennis Lyles Attorney
John McKune Engineer
Roger Moore Engineer
Dan Daly Staff
Rich Hans Staff
Bill Joyce Staff
Donna Holiday Staff
Stella Loftus Staff
Steve Weinberg Frank, Weinberg & Black, P.L.
Mr. Fennell called the meeting to order, and Mr. Moyer called the roll.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Minutes of the January 12, 2004 Meeting
Mr. Fennell stated that each Board
member had received a copy of the minutes of the
There not being any,
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Award of Contract for Wells 4 & 5 Modification
Mr. McKune stated I would like to table this item until March. We will be taking bids this Thursday.
ORDER OF BUSINESS Status of
Proposed Maintenance Agreement Concerning
Mr. Weinberg joined the meeting at this time.
Mr. Fennell stated there is a
difference. This is the Coral Springs
Improvement District, which was separately funded and set up by the state for a
couple of purposes. One was for the
water and sewer. You and I paid money
into this place, and we own this facility.
The second item is the water drainage and maintenance. You and I also pay for those. The City is a separate organization. There are certain common rules that exist
within that City, but they never paid any money into the District, and they
have never helped us in many ways.
However, there has been a great deal of cooperation between the City and
us, but we are set up financially different.
We are also elected by members within the District, and we all live
within the District. Our goal is to
serve the people of the south part of
Mr. Lyles stated let us remind
ourselves how we got to this point. It
started with some applications for dock permits, which came before the
Board. One of the docks was on
Mr. McKune responded we have a flowage easement.
Mr. Hanks joined the meeting at this time.
Mr. Lyles stated we have a flowage
easement so that the water that is part of the entire surface water management
system can go through there. Our rights
are limited to flowage. With this having
come to light, the Association was notified that we have no say in the
construction of a dock. It is up to the
Mr. Weinberg stated I agree with Mr.
Lyles in his characterization of how we got here. A unit owner requested to install a dock and
when it came before the Association, we took a long, hard look at all the
documentation and the fact that there were many other docks on the lake. Here is where I disagree with Mr. Lyles: I
think that the CSID has the right to object to the installation of the dock if
it affects flowage. Unless you can demonstrate
that it affects the flowage, you have no approval rights in that area. What came out of the last meeting with the
engineers was that the six pylons that would hold up the dock would not
effectively affect flowage. The other
concern the District had was that the docks could
create and impede the flow of the water through the system if pieces of the
dock became loose and dislodged and ended up in the catch basins. There was a fair understanding that trees,
lawn furniture and other moveable objects would make it into the lake long
before pieces of the dock. The lake was
designed as part of the system of the District and while the District does not
own the lake, it does not own many of the lakes that it takes care of. It operates through easements and in this
case, a flowage easement. It is an
easement in my perspective but called something different. It is a use right of the property. From the standpoint of approval or denial,
clearly it appears from the documentation that if a dock affects flowage, the
District could object to it. Lastly, the
people in the
Mr. Fennell asked what is our current policy for docks?
Mr. Lyles responded we are not here
today about docks. It is not a matter
that affects this issue one way or the other.
In other areas of CSID where we own the waterway, docks require a permit
from the District, and the District’s policy has typically been not to permit
these things. In response, it was
pointed out that we do not have any permitting authority because we do not own
the property, and we ultimately agreed with that position. We are past the dock issue. However, to be fair, it has been demonstrated
by engineers and by others on behalf of the applicants that the docks are built
in a manner that is eminently safe and meets every applicable
engineering and permitting standard that District staff is aware
of. Therefore, it is solely a matter for
the City of
Mr. Fennell asked who owns the lake?
Mr. Weinberg responded Lake Coral Springs Community Association.
Mr. Fennell asked is it one Association or are there a number of them?
Mr. Weinberg responded one master Association, and there are approximately eight or nine neighborhoods that comprise the master around the lake.
Mr. Fennell asked what kind of status do you have?
Mr. Weinberg responded we are a
not-for-profit corporation recognized by the State of
Mr. Fennell asked do you have certain kinds of legal responsibilities and duties?
Mr. Weinberg responded we have a legal responsibility as a not-for-profit entity to have a Board election under the declaration of covenants and restrictions, which ties the entire parcel together. Anyone who lives in that community has the responsibility to pay for their share of assessments regarding common area maintenance.
Mr. Lyles stated I am sure that one of the enumerated powers of this Association is the ability to own and maintain property and to assess the residents within the communities for the ownership and maintenance expenses that occur as a result of that ownership.
Mr. Fennell asked do we have any other cases like this within the District?
Mr. Lyles responded no.
Mr. Weinberg stated there is a perception that the District has control over “the waterways” within the confines of the District that it uses to flow its water through the system. This relationship with the District was in place long before any houses were built.
Mr. Fennell asked was the lake taken out for the purposes of the drainage of the system?
Mr. Moyer responded no. The lake was excavated for the purpose of
generating fill for the development of
Mr. Weinberg stated my investigation deals with the applications made to the South Florida Water Management District and to the Army Corp of Engineers and the design of the District that the calculations included the water retention in that lake.
Mr. Moyer stated that is true for the surface water management permit.
Mr. Weinberg stated they use that lake as part of your application.
Mr. Fennell asked did the taxpayers of this area pay for building that lake?
Mr. Moyer responded no.
Mr. Weinberg stated for the development of a section of homes under the concurrency laws, developers dredged the canals then dedicated them through easements or ownership to the District. Although this is a different scenario, the way it came to be is no different than any other canal or lake in the District. Here it was retained by WCI then given a flowage easement whereas in other areas, a whole easement was dedicated to the District. The essence is the same in my opinion.
Mr. Moyer stated the issue of storage and calculations is true. The lake area is included in the stormwater management permit for retention and detention to meet South Florida Water Management District criteria, but the beneficiaries of that are the people of the residential and commercial properties around this area. There is nothing unusual about that water body being included as storage. In fact, if it were not included as storage, they would have to reproduce that amount of storage for the residential and commercial properties in the area. Just because we used it in our calculations, I am not sure whether that is significant or not.
Mr. Weinberg stated I do not think that number of homes would have required that much storage. I am making an observation based on visualization. It is a large lake. I have seen communities that have the same number of homes with less storage.
Mr. Moyer stated Mr.
Mr. Weinberg stated it is used for the public because everybody benefits from the use of the water flowage. If you are going to talk about the surface rights as Mr. Moyer talks about, that is one issue—surface rights meaning boats. If you are talking about all the way to the bottom of the lake and the capacity that the lake holds and where the water goes, it seems like it was integral to the water management system of the CSID so I think it has public benefit. I do not see the difference, and this is the problem. No one can come up with an answer. I do not understand why we have to pay for it. The biggest problem I have is the concept that the CSID was there long before any homes were there so every resident who bought into the community does not have a line item on the Lake Coral Springs budget for lake maintenance because it has always been part of the CSID. If I start adding a line item, it will be a nightmare for us. What are our constituents going to say? Why are we paying for lake maintenance? We should not be paying for CSID taxes then.
Mr. Fennell stated if you did not want to pay those taxes, then you would have your own drainage canal.
Mr. Weinberg stated the homeowners’ point is that they moved into a community and paid a premium to have visualization of the lake. They got what they paid for. The lake was part of the District.
Mr. Fennell stated they did not pay
the people of
Mr. Weinberg stated I am not
suggesting they did. I am simply
suggesting what their perception is.
Peoples’ perception goes a long way.
Their perception is they have been paying taxes on it for over ten years
through the District as a non ad valorem assessment. It is our fiduciary obligation. Mr.
Mr. Moyer stated this is the issue. These gentlemen sit here as a fiduciary for the rest of the residents who paid these assessments for CSID. It almost comes down to a legal issue of whether we can spend monies that we raise in the form of non ad valorem assessments on private property.
Mr. Hanks asked on the assessments to the residents of the CSID, is there a premium paid by those who are on the water?
Mr. Moyer responded no.
Mr. Hanks stated many people in the District pay the same amount and do not get any benefit other than the same flood protection from the lakes and canals, nor do they get a visual benefit.
Mr. Weinberg stated most people understand that a house on a canal has more value. You are always paying a premium for the visualization of living on water.
Mr. Fennell stated you were the one who suggested we had no control over those docks and should let it go. You said there was the possibility of that and that we should not even be here.
Mr. Weinberg stated the record will reflect that you have no control over the docks’ approval.
Mr. Fennell stated I believe you were the one who brought up the issue that we have no control over that waterway.
Mr. Weinberg stated I do not know if I would say that. I think you have control to the extent it effects flowage. We would not have the right to block the flowage through the culverts.
Mr. Fennell stated if a dock had the potential of blocking flowage, would we have the right to deny that dock space?
Mr. Weinberg responded if the engineers can come up with a reasonable justification.
Mr. Fennell stated deciding ownership is the key issue. Can the Board spend money on maintenance or beautification?
Mr. Lyles responded if the District owns the canal or the lake, it has the right and duty to maintain it. If the District possesses nothing more than a mere flowage easement over a lake so that the water goes through it, then it has the right to insist upon its flowage not being obstructed and the only “right” that can be enforced is going to court for an injunction or complaining to City Hall about the issuance of a permit that would adversely impact flowage. However, the Board cannot deny a permit for the construction of docks.
Mr. Eissler asked do we have the right to continue spending money on a private lake if we do not own it?
Mr. Moyer responded your area is a high maintenance item for us. I agree that we need to make sure that that area does not flood, but what level do we go in and maintain algae, coconuts and other things that do not have any affect on the flowage of that lake?
Mr. Moyer stated ultimately, it ends up getting into our system and at that point, we would have to maintain it but to spend time and effort going into the lake area proper to maintain aesthetic issues is what we are struggling with. Do we have the right to spend people’s money on this? If you build a condominium under the South Florida Water Management District criteria, they dig retention ponds that are privately owned. The District does not spend your money on that private property to maintain those retention ponds; the condominium Association maintains them.
Mr. Hanks asked if we saw the need to go in and do something to maintain the flowage, does that easement give us the right to do so?
Mr. Moyer responded I think it does. If the lake was full of weeds, we would treat it because that is going to be a flowage issue at some point. Mr. Fennell asked what about liability?
Mr. Lyles responded it is not a problem for the District in this instance because unlike your other water bodies, if an injury occurs to someone or their property as a result of negligent maintenance, it is a liability exposure in other parts of the community. You are not the owner of this particular lake. The only thing that is giving us exposure is our voluntary undertaking of maintenance activities.
Mr. Moyer asked do you have an opinion on what they can or cannot do?
Mr. Lyles responded to be consistent with your previous policies and the adoption of budgets over numerous years and the purposes to which you expended the funds that you raise through this assessment process, you have only knowingly expended those funds on water bodies and canals that the District owns. You have unknowingly undertaken to provide this level of maintenance on a water body that is privately owned. With this having come to light, I do not see how you can continue maintenance at this level. You have an obligation to ensure that the District’s flowage rights are not impeded. You are in a difficult position to knowingly continue to provide that level of service on privately owned property. You need to reduce dramatically what it is you are doing so that it only is an activity that you and staff are comfortable relates to the flowage that you have the right to expect over this body of water or you need to have some sort of funding mechanism with the private property owner.
Mr. Hanks asked how frequently do we apply herbicides to the regular canals?
Mr. Joyce responded approximately three to four times a year for aquatics. We spent a great deal of time picking up coconuts and debris and rescuing boats.
Mr. Eissler asked do you receive these complaints from people who live on the canals?
Mr. Joyce responded we have received complaints in the past.
Mr. Hanks asked is three to four times a year consistent throughout the District?
Mr. Joyce responded yes.
Mr. Weinberg stated l would like to cite the actual easement document. Please confirm that ownership does not have to be simple. It can be a use right. This is a matter of law. It can be an easement. Ownership does take the form of easements many times.
Mr. Lyles stated many of the easements are canal easements.
Mr. Weinberg stated one easement
states, “The Grantor hereby grants unto the Grantee and successors and their
assigns an easement for the construction and maintenance of a canal for the
water drainage and flowage over, upon, and under that certain land”. The other side goes on to say (this is where
Florida National Properties (WCI) granted to the CSID in 1990), “The Grantor is
the owner of the land (FNP), the Grantee (CSID) acknowledges that the property
is an integral part of the water management design of the west basin of the
CSID”. Back in 1990 when the property
was dedicated under this “Grant of Easement” (title of document), it is part of the integral part of the system. I do not believe that you have to own fee
simple in order to have the rights to maintain or the obligation to maintain or
the ability to maintain. I think an
easement is an ownership right in
Mr. Moyer stated it is a legal issue more than it is a policy issue of the Board.
Mr. Weinberg stated the District did sign off on easements as an acceptance.
Mr. Hanks stated I agree that that lake is an integral part of the CSID.
Mr. Weinberg stated paragraph seven of the easement goes on to say, “the Grantee by acceptance of this easement hereby agrees for itself its successors or assigns to maintain the property”.
Mr. Moyer stated then you misled this Board when you came before us for the docks. If maintenance is applied, then you would be subject to the standard operating policies of this District.
Mr. Weinberg stated I forwarded every document to Mr. Lyles, and I said to the Board every step of the way that unless the docks affect the flowage aspect we own the property. I do not believe the approval or denial rights are held with the District.
Mr. Lyles asked does that easement say we are responsible for maintenance?
Mr. Weinberg responded yes. It says, “By acceptance of this easement, the Grantee (District) agrees to maintain the property”. However, at what level do you maintain?
Mr. Joyce stated we did an inspection of the lakes today. There are no aquatic weeds in the lake at this time, nor does it require a treatment. There are several hundred coconuts in the lake. In the past, we have removed the coconuts because that is what we would do because we were under the assumption that it was ours to maintain.
Mr. Fennell stated your lake does not flood because we have two pump stations, which drains everything.
Mr. Weinberg stated one of the things we spoke about at the last meeting was having those docks inspected every other year after the first five years. A nominal fee of $100 or $150 to pay an inspection fee is reasonable. These are the things we can put into place, which could create revenue for the District and give a level of assurance that the docks are being maintained properly; otherwise, we will take the responsibility in the agreement to enforce the unit owner to remove the dock.
Mr. Fennell stated I redirect staff to come back and see what would have to happen in order for us to legally be able to do this.
Mr. Lyles stated you have heard reference to the master declaration and its master Association. There is a set of homeowners documents, dated 1992, and Section 5.3 maintenance says, “The corporation (the Association) shall maintain the lake and the cost and expense of such maintenance, including the cost of the expense of aeration and applications of herbicides for aquatic weed control shall be an operating expense of the Association”. With this reference to the Association acknowledging its responsibility to maintain this lake and this expense, we can take your direction to staff and revisit this.
Mr. Fennell stated what is the Board’s sense? My sense is that we cannot spend money on private property.
Mr. Hanks stated retrieving coconuts should not be the District’s responsibility. However, I feel better knowing that the District is controlling the application of pesticides and herbicides to the lake and controlling how often and which kinds of chemicals end up in our water supply system. Although there have been restrictions for DRIs, etc., I have seen abuses on the amount of pesticide applications. I do not want that to happen in this case. I think we should keep control over the application of herbicides but cut back on surface cleanups.
Mr. Eissler stated if Mr. Lyles can
assure the Board that legally we can pay for the aquatic weed control of
Mr. Fennell stated we need to see what can be done understanding that they are part of the District. We would like to do whatever we can to work with the Association to meet a common ground as much as we can legally do.
Mr. Weinberg stated I will make an effort to do some research and pass it on to Mr. Lyles for his consideration.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Permit Requests
A. Wendy’s at
B. Best Buy at Atlantic Crossings
This item was deferred until the March meeting.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Request of Staff to Implement Late Fees and Other Charges for the Utility System
Mr. Moyer stated we are distributing
a request to advertise a public hearing.
Currently, the District does not have any penalties or late fees, and
there are a group of people in the District who play games in terms of letting
their accounts become delinquent until we show up to turn the water off, and it
is a recurring problem. We think we can
address this by instituting a late fee.
Currently we do not charge for estoppel letters, which staff takes the
time to prepare. Most places charge for the
estoppel letters. I suggest charging for
this service. The City charges $30; we
recommend $25. We also recommend making
our return check fee policy consistent with the City of
Mr. Hanks asked is there a way of setting up for direct deposit?
Mr. Daly responded it is advertised on the back of your monthly bill. In addition, we should have credit card payments set up in approximately 40 days.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of a Request to Participate in the Annual Waterway Cleanup
Mr. Moyer stated we have a request to participate in the Annual Waterway Cleanup. We customarily contribute $2,500.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Staff Reports
Mr. Lyles stated I have an update on
the codification bill in
I have nothing further from Representative Ritter’s staff or office regarding supplying a letter.
1. Monthly Water & Sewer Charts
Mr. Moore stated Mr. Gonzalez, chief operator who worked for this District for 29 years and handled the charts, has passed away. He was a dedicated employee.
Mr. Fennell stated we thank him and his family for his years of dedication to the people of CSID, and we are sorry to hear about his passing.
2. Update on Construction
The Board scheduled a walk-thru at on
Moyer introduced Mr. Goscicki to the Board and stated Mr. Goscicki was head of
Mr. Fennell stated next month, I would like to review in general, staffing both from Severn Trent and our own internal staffing. We should be doing this regularly anyway.
Mr. Joyce stated we have not received any complaints for the last two months.
NINTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisors Requests and Audience Comments
Mr. Hanks asked what is the update on the lightning protection?
Mr. McKune responded we approved the project but are holding off on starting construction until we do the walk-through to make sure that these portions of the project will not interfere with each other. We had a brief construction meeting with the lighting protection contractor, and he has agreed to delay bringing his men and materials on site.
There being nothing further,
Glen Hanks Robert D. Fennell