- August 3, 2021
Although Stoneybrook West residents recently shot down a proposal necessary to allow the homeowners association to purchase Stoneybrook West Golf & Country Club, another vote is on the horizon.
During a special meeting Tuesday, Feb. 16, residents were asked to answer two questions on the ballot. The first requested approval of changes to the HOA’s governing documents, while the second asked for permission to move forward with purchasing the property.
To amend the governing documents, they needed a supermajority — or two-thirds — of the votes cast, HOA President Dennis Armstrong said. For proceeding with the purchase, only a majority was necessary.
Armstrong said there were 532 votes cast. Although the second question passed with no issues, the request to amend the governing documents fell 15 votes short. Because the vote was so close, the HOA is opting to hold a second.
“We’ve addressed a lot of the residents’ concerns — the ones that weren’t willing to support the first go around,” he said. “We tried to listen, and we tried to come up with some changes that we feel reflects what people had to say.”
The HOA vote took place 15 days after Fisher Auction Company announced it was appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to manage the auction of the golf course and club. The auction is scheduled for Friday, March 12.
However, Winter Garden city officials asked the bankruptcy trustee what it would take for the city — in partnership with the HOA — to buy the property before the auction. The answer: $2 million.
“After we found out that it went to auction, I asked the attorney, ‘Do we want to go and try to purchase it?’” City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said.
Two things are necessary for that to happen. First, residents need to approve both questions on the ballot the second time. The city then would submit the contract for purchase to the bankruptcy trustee, who would submit it to the judge for approval.
Although it seems there’s a good possibility that could work, there is a chance a judge could reject the offer and move forward with the auction process, Bollhoefer said.
“That was really a big change for us, because probably the biggest unknown that we heard from the residents was, ‘Well, what’s the purchase price really going to be? How much is it really going to cost us? Do we really have to go through the whole auction scenario?’” Armstrong said. “This, of course, addressed all three of those questions.”
Meanwhile, the HOA is hoping to hold the second vote in early March — before the auction.
“We’ve seen a number of positive comments on social media and all … that after the discussion and proposed language changes, a number of the residents that voted no were now comfortable in voting yes,” Armstrong said. “Plus, we’re doing the second vote electronically so it’ll be easier for people to vote, and hopefully we’ll get more voters.
“That was very fortuitous that we have the opportunity to go back again and ask the residents, ‘Hey, we heard what you had to say, we’re trying to make this as palatable to everyone as it can be. Here’s another crack at it,’” he said. “All things combined, we believe we’re on the right track.”