Article Courtesy of The
By Ken Jackson
Published July 9, 2017
Days after a state arbitrator sided with a Poinciana resident who disputed how
the subdivision counted developer votes in the February election of six of
villages, the homeowners association filed a response and a motion for a new
The Florida Department of Business and
Professional Regulations, which oversees the voting rights
and regulations of HOA elections, last week determined
Avatar, also known as AV Homes, was allowed to cast more
votes than permitted in the Feb. 14 election because it
counted, without proof, how many homes could be built on a
still undeveloped parcel of land. Because of that, election
results in Villages One, Two, Three, Five, Seven and Eight
were thrown out, and the DBPR mandated that the Association
of Poinciana Villages (APV) hold a new election by Aug. 1.
Voting results from those villages showed a column for
resident votes, and another column for developer votes —
hundreds or thousands of them depending on the village,
representing Avatar’s lots and a vote per potential house
that could be built.
Arbitrator Terrie Lee Jones established in the DBPR summary order that Avatar
had yet to provide proof that under state and Osceola and Polk County standards
all those lots would even be buildable. The original complaint, filed by Village
Seven resident (and February election candidate) Martin Negron noted that roads,
wetlands or retention ponds were not taken into account in the developer’s claim
of potential houses.
“As the association allowed Avatar to vote more than one vote per parcel without
definitive proof of how many homes it could actually build … the Association has
improperly diluted the votes of other members of all the association,” the order
Among the conditions of any new elections established by the order, holders of
undeveloped and unplatted parcels — mostly Avatar — must, prior to the election,
provide proof, that complies with local government standards, of how many homes
can be built on them.
APV counsel Tom Slaten filed a motion for a rehearing with the DBPR, saying in
the motion its findings were flawed.
“It appears the arbitrator overlooked, miscalculated and/or made a mistake
regarding whether the disallowed developer votes actually affected the outcome
of the Village Two, Five and Eight Elections as well as overlooked the
arbitrator’s jurisdiction to determine the existence of Home development in
determining voting rights,” Slaten wrote.
He noted the Village Five results would have been unaffected by the developer
votes, and provided a previous case that questioned the arbitrator’s
jurisdiction in determining the existence and voting interest of un-platted lots
and unbuilt homes. He also discussed the cost of a new election.
“The Summary Final Order requires a new election by Aug. 1, which will result in
approximately $22,034.17 in mailing costs alone to notify 26,202 homeowners …
the total cost is likely to be approximate (sic) $21,148.98 based on the
February election,” Slaten wrote.
Ahead of an anticipated new election, Poinciana will hold a candidates forum
July 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at New Dimensions High School, according to a
community Facebook page.