June 15, 2010
After a four (4) month investigation, the St. John’s County Property Appraiser has provided the homeowners of the St. Augustine Shores some great news.
On June 7, 2010, the office of the St. John’s County Property Appraiser ruled that the property located at 790 Christina Drive, including the Riverview Club and Pool, is a common element for the purpose of property taxation and common element assessment.
As a common element, the Riverview Club and Pool are to be treated as all other common elements of the St. Augustine Shores subdivision. The Corporation does not receive a property tax bill because it is prorated among all of the individual lots within the Shores. In other words, your annual property tax bill includes property taxes for your lot as well as a prorated share of the tax bill for the “areas in common” which is divided evenly among all lot owners.
What does this mean to me as a Shores’ Homeowner?
The ruling means that the Riverview Club and Pool shall be treated as all common elements within the subdivision. Various Florida Statutes and numerous Attorney General Opinions clearly state that all common elements shall be open to all homeowners within the subdivision and for their exclusive benefit.
Furthermore, all common elements within the subdivision and their use are subject to the governing documents of the St. Augustine Shores Service Corporation. The Deed Restrictions specifically state how much money can be collected for the maintenance and operations of common elements. There is nothing contained anywhere within the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws or Deed Restrictions of the St. Augustine Shores that allows for the collection of use fees for common elements.
"You have a legal right to access the Riverview Club and Pool without incurring any additional fees."
My guess is that the Service Corporation Board of Directors will attempt to challenge the County’s decision by preventing homeowners from accessing the pool without paying additional fees. How you choose to handle that is your decision. The only thing that I can recommend is that you show up at the pool in your swim trunks and state, “My Association Fees pay for this pool and I’m going swimming”. That’s what my neighbors and family intend to do!
Written by: Keith Goldstein, Contributing Writer