Florida's Sun 'N Lake special improvement district seeks to take over building permitting from county

Nomad

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2023
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The Board of Supervisors in Sun 'N Lake aims to transfer building permit authority from the county to the district, led by Board President Craig Herrick. The shift is a result of the issues related to unregulated duplex construction. Previous attempts to set minimum square footage in 2017 were unsuccessful. The major challenge for this shift in permit authority would be financial implications because permits also bring revenue to the county. The proponents believe that there will be improved community standards, increased tax revenue from larger homes, and eased administrative burdens. Even though the county administration recognizes potential benefits, it is also open to ideas. Likewise, board president Herrick believes there will be expanded control over utilities for better maintenance and construction oversight.

You can read this news in depth by checking this link.
 
Location
Highlands County, Florida, United States
I'm generally supportive of communities seeking more independence/self-governance, in permitting-related matters and otherwise, but I'm having trouble empathizing with Sun N' Lake here. Sun N' Lake is apparently one of Florida's "special improvement districts" and describes itself on its website as "a master planned golf and recreation community." Sun N' Lake sounds a lot wealthier than the rest of the County and, based on @Nomad's article, seems to only want control of building permitting so they can put up rules that exclude lower income residents from becoming their neighbors.

The main issue for Sun N' Lake appears to be the County allowing tiny homes to be built within their special golf resort district, which is why they've pushed in recent years for a minimum square footage for single-family homes. This is total nonsense - tiny homes are fantastic for people and the planet and trying to actively limit them is a step backwards in my opinion. I know @Jake would agree with this, btw (check out his article on tiny home permitting if you haven't read it).

The Sun N' Lake Board President who's pushing for the permitting change really sounds like an old curmudgeonly rich guy. Here's him quoted in the article lamenting the scourge of small duplexes in his neighborhood:
“Code enforcement is going to be really busy because I will not tolerate junk sitting outside the house,” Herrick said. “We’ve got development happening all over the county, and I think it’s time to say, ‘Hey, Sun ‘N Lake is different.’”

I imagine this is the type of guy who drives around his neighborhood in his golf cart, always complaining about the riff raff and constantly checking his property value. As I said, I'm generally supportive of community self-governance but not when the purpose is to be exclusionary. If/when the County holds a public hearing on this issue, hopefully there's plenty of turnout from County residents and they're able to successfully push back on the district's proposal.
 
I'm generally supportive of communities seeking more independence/self-governance, in permitting-related matters and otherwise, but I'm having trouble empathizing with Sun N' Lake here. Sun N' Lake is apparently one of Florida's "special improvement districts" and describes itself on its website as "a master planned golf and recreation community." Sun N' Lake sounds a lot wealthier than the rest of the County and, based on @Nomad's article, seems to only want control of building permitting so they can put up rules that exclude lower income residents from becoming their neighbors.

The main issue for Sun N' Lake appears to be the County allowing tiny homes to be built within their special golf resort district, which is why they've pushed in recent years for a minimum square footage for single-family homes. This is total nonsense - tiny homes are fantastic for people and the planet and trying to actively limit them is a step backwards in my opinion. I know @Jake would agree with this, btw (check out his article on tiny home permitting if you haven't read it).

The Sun N' Lake Board President who's pushing for the permitting change really sounds like an old curmudgeonly rich guy. Here's him quoted in the article lamenting the scourge of small duplexes in his neighborhood:


I imagine this is the type of guy who drives around his neighborhood in his golf cart, always complaining about the riff raff and constantly checking his property value. As I said, I'm generally supportive of community self-governance but not when the purpose is to be exclusionary. If/when the County holds a public hearing on this issue, hopefully there's plenty of turnout from County residents and they're able to successfully push back on the district's proposal.
Yeah I'm not in agreement with what they want to do. I get why they want to do it, but limiting who can essentially live there, is not right. If this guy has his way, I can see this becoming a rich man's little community rather than a community for everyone.
 

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