There are a few more things I wanted to talk about but let me apologize first for speaking in generalities and perhaps sounding like I am “preaching to the choir”. This neighborhood has about ten new homeowners and perhaps twenty new residents. The distinction being that not all residents are homeowners. I cannot assume that everyone knows the rules or has even been told the rules. The renters are at a serious disadvantage, so I am asking the absentee homeowners to please pass this information along or send me your tenants email address so they, too can be kept informed.
This is what I have learned about trees from Hurricane Sally.
1. There are specific laws on the books of the state of Florida that govern who is financially responsible for the damage caused to fences and homes by falling trees. You can find that information at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FE/FE96200.pdf. These rules, and there are quite few nuances, affect all of us as property owners, as well as the Association.
2. Dying and diseased trees are dangerous in storms. We need to pursue the removal of these trees more rigorously. It is less expensive to remove and replace them than to buy new roofs and fences.
The trees currently being addressed are common area trees only. Each homeowner is advised to look at the trees on their property to assess whether they need to take some kind of action. The ARC must be consulted if removal is what you think must happen. We have some terrific vendors who know the neighborhood well and are sensitive to our desire to keep our forest beautiful. If we see a dead tree on your property that could encroach on the common area or damage common area property, you will receive a notice to remove or trim it. If there is a common area tree giving you cause for concern and you haven’t already told me about it, now is the time. We would like to get as many addressed as possible during the time we have with Tri-State.
I noticed a resident last week sweeping up her leaves and stuffing them into the drainage ditches. I have got to assume this person is simply unaware of the problems that causes. The drainage system in Herons Forest is designed to move water quickly to lower lying catch ponds to prevent the flooding of our homes. It costs us $3,000/ year and $3,650 / emergency clean up to keep the drains clear and water moving as it should. Please, bag all leaves swept up into piles and refrain from stuffing them in the drains.
The vast majority of folks have done a spectacular job cleaning up after Sally. Some however have turned a blind eye to their little piles of leaves. During storm season, it is just as bad to ignore those leaves in the gutters as it is to stuff the leaves in the drains. If you are an absentee homeowner, please check with your tenants to see if you have any little piles (and I know some of you do….). We would all appreciate it if you made whatever arrangements you need to have them bagged up. If you are physically unable to bag them up yourself, please let me know and I will see if we can get volunteers to assist you. Or you can ask a landscaper to take the leaves away.
I cannot begin to tell you how many thoughtful and generous people live in this neighborhood. We have saved tens of thousands of dollars and who knows how many man hours of labor, due repeated efforts of neighbor helping neighbor. The help is freely given out of kindness, but I would like to express my sincerest thanks. I also received the following message:
Secret Helper –
I want to thank the “Secret Helper” who bags the leaves I have raked into piles one day and sets them out by the road for pick-up the next What a great and neighborly thing to do. I thank you for help. It meant a lot to me.
I am proud to live in Heron’s Forest!
Susan M. Arnett, Herons Forest Property Owners Association, President