Palm Beach Polo homeowners win control of community


Article Courtesy of The Palm Beach Post

By Mitra Malek

Published December 12, 2012


WELLINGTON -- After decades of developer control and years of litigation, hundreds of Palm Beach Polo homeowners finally control their property owners association.

At least for now.

But developer Glen Straub plans to appeal Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Timothy McCarthy’s recent ruling, which said the hand off should have happened in 2005.

The threshold for turnover according to the community’s bylaws has not been met, Straub claims. “The judge calculated it completely wrong.”

Residents claim the turnover threshold of 95 percent refers to owned lots. Palm Beach Polo Holdings, which Straub owns, claims it’s 95 percent of lots available for construction, and perhaps 60 percent have been constructed, Straub said.

Still, he doesn’t mind if owners handle the association, he said.

“We have wanted the homeowners to take over for years,” Straub said. “We’d love to get out from underneath.”

That’s not how homeowners have felt.

“We should have had it turned over to us in 2005,” board member Bob Bushey said. “We had to go to court.”

The association controls landscaping, guard gates and roads in the upscale community along South Shore Boulevard’s eastern edge. The controversial Equestrian Village project is at the northeast corner of South Shore Boulevard and Pierson Road.

“We’d just like to control our own destiny,” Bushey said. “We are not trying to stop him from building what he is entitled to. We just want to control our roads and our gates and our budget.”

Also: selection of an accountant, management company and lawyer. The association has about a $2 million budget.

About 1,200 homes are developed in Palm Beach Polo. About 700 homeowners filed the suit as part of 19 smaller condominium and homeowners associations in the community.

Bushey declined to discuss problems that had arisen under Straub’s control because a January trial is expected related to those matters.