Landscape or lawsuit? Citrus County gives HOA an ultimatum

citrus 98 median
'What is your integrity worth?'

A homeowners group finds itself having to pay to maintain the landscaped median of U.S. 98 or risk being sued by Citrus County Commissioners.

The County Commission voted 5-0 Tuesday to force the Oak Village Homeowners Association to begin maintaining about a mile of landscaping in the median because of a 2019 agreement that involved the county, Oak Village and the Florida Department of Transportation.

Under a prior HOA leadership, Oak Village, a Sugarmill Woods community bordering Hernando County, sought the agreement with the county and FDOT to plant landscaping in the median as a way to attract motorists coming off the Suncoast Parkway heading west past the community entrances.

The county agreed to seek the $350,411 grant from FDOT, and Oak Village agreed to take over maintenance a year after installation. The landscaping took place, but Oak Village’s 3,200 property owners later balked at the estimated $37,000 annual maintenance estimate.

David Quinn became involved after residents complained. A former HOA president, Quinn said residents asked him to take the lead again when the president who negotiated the landscaping arrangement resigned.

Quinn in July asked commissioners to have the landscaping removed and median resodded. Commissioners declined, saying it would reflect poorly on the county with FDOT.

On Tuesday, commissioners made it even clearer that they expect Oak Village to hold up its end of the bargain.

“We didn’t force this on them,” Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. said.

Quinn said he was “mortified” at the prospect of Oak Village assuming maintenance of landscaping that’s in poor shape. He said many of the plants are dead or overgrown with weeds.

Commissioner Holly Davis noted that the maintenance estimate will cost Oak Village property owners less than a dollar a month.

“What is your integrity worth?” she asked. “I’m getting less sympathetic the more I think of this.”

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.


One comment

  • Ray Morris

    October 13, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    Take a look at this thing. It is a safety hazard. Moving out on to 19 from Oak Village Blvd before the growth was dangerous enough – with several accidents at the location. Now the so called beautification project has blocked the view of vehicles coming over the hill on 19 even more. Get rid of the mess ! People do not want it. We did not get a chance to vote on it. It was something done by the former board.

    Reply

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