FLORIDA – Poinciana residents challenge developer in election dispute

CCFJ.NET:  Poinciana residents challenge developer in election dispute

Article Courtesy of The  Orlando Sentinel

By Ryan Gillespie and Beth Kassab

Published June 23, 2017

POINCIANA — A dispute over who should control Poinciana, which says it has the largest homeowners association in Florida, could hinge on a strip of pine woods dotted with soggy marshland on the eastern shore of Lake Marion.

At stake is control over a 44-year-old community with more than 50,000 residents, about the size of Apopka.

A homeowner is challenging whether Avatar, the developer of the community of 26,000 homes, can cast thousands of votes in the HOA elections based on its ownership of hundreds of parcels of land. Much of it is undeveloped and, in some cases such as the property along Lake Marion, marshy and potentially off-limits for new construction.

Avatar contends it can cast one vote for every developed lot it owns and additional votes for homes the company says it could eventually build.

Martin Negron, who ran for the HOA board during the annual election in February, said he lost because Avatar improperly used such pieces of land to cast more votes and elect the company’s favored candidates. He said Avatar, also known as AV Homes, wants to maintain its hold over the massive community that straddles Polk and Osceola counties between Haines City and Kissimmee.

“The reason to get on the board is so we can vote on behalf of the residents, not the developer,” said Negron, a retired warehouse worker from New York who has lived in Poinciana for about 10 years. “They don’t want anyone that is going to ruffle their feathers.”

The association maintains his complaint “is based on a fundamental misunderstanding [of] Poinciana’s governing documents,” said Orlando attorney Tom Slaten, who represents the HOA.  Read more:

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