Over 180 residents turned out last night for an open discussion on the Geist Clubhouse in Admirals Bay. A regularly scheduled GHPOA board meeting was delayed over two hours as homeowners, mostly from the surrounding Admirals neighborhoods, voiced their concerns about the future of the 20-year community landmark.
“This is the most people I’ve ever seen show up for anything related to the GHPOA,” said Beth Binkley, an Admirals Pointe resident.
Being a GHPOA board member and volunteer on the subcommittee that met with Marina Limited back in May of 2007, I led the somewhat heated discussion and tried to retain order on both sides.
During the overview at the beginning, I stepped residents through the timeline of when Alan Rosenberg Sr. first contacted GHPOA back in May of 2007 until the board meeting the following month when our subcommittee recommended that the GHPOA board decline the purchase offer of the Geist Clubhouse for $690,000. The vote to decline the offer was unanimous.
There were many reasons for not pursuing the purchase, the main reason being the increase in ongoing dues to each of the 2,380 residents of Geist Harbours. Maintenance costs average $219,000 per year (gathered from Marina Limited) which would increase dues to each GHPOA resident $92 per year. That still doesn’t address how the $690,000 is raised, whether through a special assessment or commercial financing. Looking at the pool membership roles from 2007, only 4.5% of the GHPOA residents had purchased memberships, another reason to not pursue the purchase.
I then updated the residents on the current status of the Clubhouse sale. During a phone discussion with Alan Rosenberg Jr., he indicated that he was going to wait another 30 days or so before filing the permits necessary to subdivide the property and ultimately develop homes on the property.
“It takes about 90 days for that process to complete,” said Rosenberg. “It would be year end before anything would happen.”
With this information in hand, the floor was open for discussion. Residents were quick to speak up.
Most were angry that the GHPOA board made a “short-sighted decision” and “didn’t have the interests of the residents at stake when they met with the Marina Limited.” Discussions in 2007 were kept confidential at the request of the seller with concerns that clubhouse rentals or pool/tennis memberships would be adversely affected.
“With all due respect, the GHPOA board had a conflict of interest in my opinion and should have told the residents they serve what was happening with the clubhouse,” said Marie Ippolito, a Geist real estate broker and Admirals Pointe resident.
Others offered advice or posed alternative financing options.
“Can we do a special assessment to just the Admirals and have us own the pool?” said one unidentified resident standing near the doorway.
“Why can’t we just do a special assessment to everyone in GHPOA of 300 bucks and call it a day?” offered another.
Patty Summerlin, an Admirals Sound resident and long-time user of the pool, met with Alan Rosenberg Jr. and Sr. the previous week to discuss the purchase of the 13-acre complex. She was able to fill in some gaps in information since the May 2007 meetings and passed out updated financials for 2007. She was also responsible for the entryway signage announcing the meeting which was partially responsible for the large turnout.
Beam Reach and Masthead, both part of GHPOA and furthest from the Geist Clubhouse, were represented by only one homeowner.
“We didn’t have signs along Fall Creek anywhere so many of us did not know about this meeting,” said one Beam Reach resident.
Board member David Hennessy took their absense as a sign of opposition to moving forward with the purchase.
“Only 6 families were members of the clubhouse last year from Beam Reach and Masthead combined. Do you think they will be anxious to pay an additional fee annually for an amenity they don’t want to join now?”
Near the end of the discussion, Hennessy proposed that a subcommittee form with GHPOA involvement to further research the options. Sandra Willis, GHPOA’s newest board representative for Admirals Bay, and myself volunteered to be the GHPOA board laisons for the study group.
The first meeting of the subcommittee is Monday, September 22nd at 7:00 pm at the Geist Clubhouse. Every resident that is interested in researching the options to present to the residents is invited to attend and participate.