City warns Oviedo developer to answer residents' complaints

Article Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel

By Dave Weber

Published March 23, 2013

OVIEDO An Oviedo developer has been criticized by city officials for ignoring residents' complaints and has just two weeks to make homeowners happy or face city sanctions.

The City Council voted this week to shut down the model-home sales center at Oviedo Forest on April 1 if residents aren't "happy as happy can be" by then, said Mayor Dominic Persampiere.

"Every time that developer walks through the door it gives me heartburn," Persampiere said, citing persistent complaints about the upscale development off Lockwood Boulevard at County Road 426.

Kami Corbett, a Tampa attorney representing the developer, told the council she was unaware of the residents' complaints and hopes to work them out. But the council delayed acting on her request to renew the annual permit for the development's model home center.

Among the complaints against developer Estancia Orlando of Irvine, CA.: The community's gates are left open for convenience of builders, although it is a gated community pitching security and limited access.

"That struck me. The gate is open during the day. You buy in a gated community," said Council Member Steve Henken.

Other complaints include lack of security fencing on County Road 426 and public access to a community lake. Residents say strangers regularly fish in what is a designated nature preserve.

Resident Carol Ball complained to the council that the lake has become a "highly trafficked sportsman's hangout," apparently with the consent of the developer.

Bell and others also said that the homeowners' association management ignores their complaints. As is common with new developments, the developer controls the HOA until a certain number of homes are occupied.