POINCIANA – The homeowners association for Poinciana has taken the first step that could allow one of the largest developments in this community, Solivita, to stop having a representative on the board of directors for the Association of Poinciana Villages.
“They’ve always had their own homeowners association at Solivita, but they were the 10th village here and were attached to APV,” said Jeanette Coughenour, the manager of the association, which oversees Poinciana’s 10 villages. “They would still have their own homeowners association. It’s not them opting out. It’s kind of agreed upon.”
Solivita, billed as an active adult development, is on the Polk County side of Poinciana, and makes up the community’s Village 10. On Oct. 11, the APV’s board of directors voted to take the first step in setting up an executive committee to negotiate the separation between Solivita and the APV.
“It’s just kind of a mutual thing that works to both sides,” Coughenour said. “It’s good for everybody. It’s a positive. At Solivita they have their own amenities, and their do their thing, and the community has things they’re trying to work to achieve and improve upon. So it’s a good thing.”
Not necessarily, said Darhlene Zeanwick, a member of the Poinciana Economic Development Council, which is working to bring more jobs to the community hard hit by the housing market crash. She said this change, if given final approval, would permanently cut off Village 10 from the rest of the community.
“I want to clarify this, they keep saying ‘Solivita, Solivita, Solvitia,’ “ she said. “It is not Solivita. It is Village 10, one of the ten villages in Poinciana, and if they’re talking about Solivita segregating itself, it is Village 10 pulling out of Poinciana. I’m looking at it in the long term. In the next year, it’s not going to amount to a hill of beans, but if Poinciana decides it wants to incorporate, Village 10 is going to be a brick in the wall.”
That was one of the issues that Solivita raises in the move to stop having representation on the APV board of directors. Several years ago, the APV paid the University of Central Florida to do a study on the cost of having Poinciana – which is divided between Osceola and Polk counties – become its own city. Many of the residents of Solivita strongly opposed the plan, and ultimately area lawmakers who represent Poinciana decided not to take the issue to the full Legislature for consideration.
Coughenour said the APV board voted last week to authorize an executive committee to “work through the documentation necessary to make that endeavor happen.”
It would apply to Solivita West and Solivita Grand, the proposed expansion of the development that is going to be built north of Cypress Parkway.
There were several components of these discussions, she said, including that “Solivita would be removed from the association, and Village 10 wouldn’t have any representation on the board of directors when that’s been accomplished,” Coughenour said.
The ten member APV board of directors would then have nine members, representing the remaining nine villages in Poinciana.
Under the proposal, Coughenour said, Solivita “would continue, as they have been in the past, to pay for the cost of landscaping and maintenance on Cypress Parkway, but instead of that landscaping cost being paid to APV, they would pay it to their own homeowners association,” she said. “Not much change there.”
But the negotiations also call on Solivita to be free of any future incorporation discussions, Coughenour said.
“The APV board of directors would agree that if any future incorporation of Poinciana was implemented, the board would not include Solivita in that incorporation,” Coughenour said. “The board wouldn’t support them being included in it.”
That, Zeanwick said, would likely kill any future effort to make Poinciana – a community that now has more than 84,000 residents – its own city.
“This is not good for Poinciana,” she said. “It may be good for Solivita, but it’s not good for Poinciana. It pulls Village 10 right out of Poinciana. If they’re successful in doing this, it will create an enclave where Poinciana will never be able to incorporate, because according to Florida law, you can’t have an enclave in an incorporated area.”
Zeanwick said she hopes the APV board ultimately rejects the idea, which Coughenour said could be implemented by the end of the year.
“I seem to be the only one in Poinciana who has a different point of view on this,” Zeanwick said. “My belief is that the majority of Solivitans like Poinciana residents, they like this community around them. You see a lot of Solivita residents coming out into the community and working on improvement to the area. But there seems to be a minority voice in Solvitia that’s quite loud about this.”
Keith Laytham is a Solivita resident and the president of Poinciana Residents for Smart Change, which is working to improve the community. He said this change has been talked about for several years.
“Ever since the discussions that we had a couple of years ago about incorporation, there has been discussion within Solivita, whether Solivita should or should not be a village of APV,” Laytham said. “They don’t feel they get that much from APV, and life for them would be equal if not better by not being a part of APV. There’s a vocal contingent of people within Solivita that have felt that Solivita is a different community than the rest of the APV villages.”
A lot of that, he said, is because so many Solivita residents are retirees, with a different perspective than communities with younger working families.
“There’s a lot of people in Solivita who are transplantred people from the north,” he said. “The interests of the retirement community are different in nature than the family oriented community.”
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