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Should the Shores' Community Pool be open to all homeowners?

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11:05 AM, Posted by Editorial Staff, No Comment

February 15, 2010

Based on recent information obtained through the St. John’s County Tax Collector’s office, Florida Case Law as well as Advisory Legal Opinions expressed by the Florida Attorney General, homeowners in the St. Augustine Shores community may be inadvertently paying property taxes for 2 parcels of land within the Shores’ community, mischaracterized on the St. John’s County tax roles.

Under Florida Statute 193.0235 Ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments for Common Elements are divided equally amongst all lot owners who enjoy the “Exclusive Benefit” of the element. In layman’s terms, in addition to paying property taxes on the parcel of land on which your home resides all homeowners also share in the prorated tax assessment of the common areas in the community, i.e. park land, walking trails, bike paths, detention or retention ponds, etc which have been designated on the original or amended plats and are for the exclusive benefit of the lot owners.

The 2 lots in question are comprised of the Riverview Club property (790 Christina Drive) as well as the area that hosts the utility buildings and boat storage facility (777 Alhambra Avenue). In at least 3 recent Legal Opinions handed down by the Florida Attorney Generals office, neither of the above mentioned parcels appear to fit the burden of proof for Common Element Tax Assessment purposes.

The concurrent language within all of the Legal Opinions referenced clearly state that in order for a property to qualify as a “common element” the parcel must “Actually and Exclusively” be used by the lot owners of the subdivision and be designated on the plat, approved site plan or otherwise as a “common element for the exclusive benefit of lot owners”.

“Before a property may be assessed on a prorated basis and that assessment imposed on all of the individual lot owners within a subdivision, it must be shown that it is used exclusively for the benefit of the lot owners within the subdivision”

is an exact quote handed down by Attorney General Bill McCollom.

Further language used within the Legal Opinions state that a facility or parcel whose use is fee based and/or open to the general public shall not be classified as a common element of a subdivision. A parcel may only be taxable to those who enjoy the exclusive use. Usage of the Riverview Club, community pool and storage compound all require additional fees to utilize and the Riverview Club rentals and community pool memberships are available to the general public, not exclusively to Shores’ residents.

In closing, it appears that Shores Homeowners may be entitled to not only a refund of the prorated tax share of the Riverview Club facilities and Storage Compound but the prorated Association fees for these non-common elements as well.

If you would like additional information on how to proceed and claim your refund, please contact us via the following link: The Shores Communicator
St. Augustine Shores Homeowner Association
St. Augustine Shores, Shores Service Corporation
St. Augustine Shores Condominium
Conquistador Condominium, Greens Condominium
Greens II Condominium, Fairview Condominium
Casa Bella Condominium, St. Augustine Shores News