Developer Hoping To Keep Board Seat
Article Courtesy of The Tampa Tribune
By Laura Kinsler
Published March 15, 2008

LIVE OAK PRESERVE - Homeowners in the Live Oak I Community Development District will gain majority control of its board of supervisors after November's election, but Engle Homes executives want to keep at least one seat on the board.

The board for the community's first phase has three seats up for election in November. Board members appointed homeowner Mike Ceparano to fill one vacancy and considered appointing another resident to fill the remaining open seat. But that would leave the developer with no representation on the board after the election.

"I'm wondering if there's value to the residents in keeping a developer representative on the board, just for continuity," chairman Jeffrey Bloch said.

Board attorney Tracy Robin suggested the transition would go more smoothly if someone from Engle remained on the board for a few more years. He suggested allowing Engle employee Rick Feather, whose seat will be up for election, to resign from his current seat so the board could appoint him to the open seat, which doesn't expire until 2010.

Bloch also announced this week he would be resigning from three CDD boards - Live Oak I, Live Oak II and The Hammocks - because he is leaving Engle to take a position with Cooper Industries.

The Florida Legislature has made it easier for district residents to run for seats on their boards. For the first time, candidates who don't plan to raise or spend money are not required to open bank accounts or file financial reports with the Hillsborough County supervisor of elections.

In addition, the qualifying fee was cut to $25. Candidates also may qualify by getting 25 registered voters in the district to sign a petition, which must be submitted to the elections office by May 19.

In Live Oak I, two of the three seats will be filled by general election. The third is a "landowner" seat, which means it could be filled by a nonresident who owns commercial or residential property in the district.

"The landowner election is very similar to a homeowners association election," district manager Andy Mendenhall said. "We'll have the vote during our November CDD meeting and people can come with proxies or they can vote in person."

Engle representatives will continue to hold all of the CDD seats for Live Oak II and for The Hammocks.