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Draft Meeting Minutes for May 20, 2024

Heritage Palms Community Development District

The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Heritage Palms Community Development District was held on Monday, May 20, 2024 at 8 a.m. at the Heritage Palms Golf and Country Club at 10435 Washingtonia Palm Way, Fort Myers, Florida and via web conference.

Present and constituting a quorum were:

Mike Whitten – Chair
Stan Switzer – Vice Chair
Bob Breisch – Assistant Secretary

Also attending were:

Cal Teague – District Manager, Premier District Management (PDM)
Alyse Grohowski – HOA Board Member
Chuck Rawson – Resident

Attending remotely:

Sam Marshall – Engineer, Banks Engineering
Brian Anderson – Resident
Christopher Dudak – Client Services Manager, PDM

The following is a summary of the discussion and actions taken at the Heritage Palms Community Development District (CDD) Board of Supervisors Meeting.

FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS Call to Order and Roll Call

The meeting was called to order at 8:00 a.m., and District Manager Teague called the roll. Three Board members were present. Also in attendance were Cal Teague, the District Manager, Alyse Grohowski, HOA Board Member, and Chuck Rawson, Resident. Attending remotely were Sam Marshall, the Engineer, Brian Anderson, Resident, and Christopher Dudak, Client Services Manager from PDM.

SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Agenda

The Agenda was amended at the meeting to:

Add to Agenda Item 4: “… and Resignation of Dennis Kane from Seat 2″
Add to Agenda Item 5: “… and Seat 2.”
Add to Agenda Item 6: “… and Seat 2”

On MOTION by Vice Chair Switzer, seconded by Supervisor Breisch, with all in favor, the Board approved the Agenda, as amended.rn

THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Audience Comments on Agenda Items

There were no Audience comments on Agenda items.

FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Resignation of Supervisor O’Brien from Seat 1 and Resignation of Dennis Kane from Seat 2

Supervisor Al O’Brien and Supervisor Dennis Kane submitted their resignations to the Board via letters, which were included in the Agenda Packet.

On MOTION by Vice Chair Switzer, seconded by Supervisor Breisch, with all in favor, the Board accepted the resignations of Supervisor Al O’Brien and Supervisor Dennis Kane.

FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Matters Related to Filling the Vacancy in Seat 1 and Seat 2

Chuck Rawson’s letter of interest for appointment to Seat 1 was included in the packet. Also included is his note stating that he may not run for election in the fall, because he might be moving out of the District. Brian Anderson sent a letter of interest for his appointment to Seat 2 to the Board during the meeting. Chuck Rawson was appointed to the remaining term of Seat 1, and Brian Anderson was appointed to the remaining term of Seat 2.

On MOTION by Supervisor Breisch, seconded by Vice Chair Switzer, with all in favor, the Board appointed Chuck Rawson to Seat 1 of the Board of the Heritage Palms Community Development District for the remainder of the term.

On MOTION by Supervisor Breisch, seconded by Vice Chair Switzer, with all in favor, the Board appointed Brian Anderson to Seat 2 of the Board of the Heritage Palms Community Development District for the remainder of the term.

SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Appointment to Seat 1 and Seat 2 and Oath of Office

District Manager Teague administered the Oath of Office to Chuck Rawson. He also administered the Oath of Office to Brian Anderson at the end of the meeting.

SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Resolution 2024-03: Board Reorganization

The Board selected Supervisor Mike Whitten as Chair, and Supervisor Stan Switzer as Vice Chair, with the three remaining Supervisors selected as Assistant Secretaries. Chair Whitten will retrieve the Supervisor manuals from Dennis Kane and Al O’Brien. Staff will update and provide manuals to the new Supervisors, including the recently updated guardhouse post orders.

On MOTION by Supervisor Breisch, seconded by Vice Chair Switzer, with all in favor, the Board approved Resolution 2024-03, appointing Mike Whitten as Chair, Stan Switzer as Vice Chair, with the remaining Supervisors as Assistant Secretaries, and all other officers remaining the same.


A. Items to be Pulled from Consent Section for Discussion by the Board

No items were pulled.

B. Motion to Approve Consent Items

On MOTION by Vice Chair Switzer, seconded by Supervisor Rawson, with all in favor, the Board approved all items on the Consent Agenda.

C. Consent Items

i. Draft Regular Meeting Minutes for March 25, 2024

ii. Financial Reports for March and April 2024

District Manager Teague stated, that year-to-date, the District is $31,000 under budget. $235,000 is a rough projection of the overage at end of year, with $200,000 set aside for roads and contingency.

iii. FEMA Eligibility Memo Sample (1 of 7)

Included in the packet was a sample of one of the seven denial memos received. Some of the reasons the applications are being denied:

  • A facility is behind gates or not open to the general public outside of the residents.
  • Contracts for debris removal were not submitted for bid.
  • Contracts were not monitored for performance.
  • Fence and landscaping are categorically ineligible, etc.

Staff believes that the appeals will unlikely overcome all of the objections. FEMA appears to be enforcing all of its regulations more rigorously than after Hurricane Irma. Staff spoke to a disaster specialist attorney from Tallahassee, and he stated that the only CDDs receiving some reimbursement are for site-by-site documented cases of debris blockage on roadways or blocking access to private homes to egress by emergency vehicles: Heritage Palms has no such documented cases. If Staff files an appeal, one is due on May 21st and six are due on June 10th. The rough estimated total cost of just the appeals is an additional $2,500.  The Board decided to proceed with the 7 appeals, and PDM has agreed to cap the CDD expense at $1,500 and split the cost of the appeals 50/50 with the District.

iv. Supervisor Election Candidate Qualifying Information

Information was emailed to the Board members whose seats are up for election, those being Seats 1, 2, and 3.  Staff has advertised the Qualifying Dates, as required by law. This information will be forwarded to the new Supervisors after the meeting, along with the new instructions for electronic filing of Form 1, which must be done before Candidate Qualifying.

v. Annual District Registered Voter Count (1393)

This must be read into the Minutes each year, per Florida Statutes.

D. Consideration of Items Pulled for Discussion


A. Halperin Fence Repair Legal Pursuit

District Manager Teague reported that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office was unable to serve the Halperin’s, and affidavits to this effect were in the packet.  Attorney Urbancic believes the next step is to hire a private investigator, but the estimated cost is open ended, because it all depends on the length of time needed to locate the Halperin’s in a public space. It was noted that, because of the type of damages sought, filing notice by publication in a newspaper is not acceptable to the courts. The Board approved hiring a private investigator with the lowest fees.

On MOTIOIN by Supervisor Breisch, seconded by Vice Chair Switzer, with all in favor, the Board authorized the Attorney to hire a private investigator for the Halperin issue at the lowest possible rate.

B. CS/CS/HB 7013 – Goals, Objectives, and Measures Annual Reporting

Attorney Urbancic reported that a new Florida law went into effect on October 1, 2024 requiring the Board to publish a District goals, objectives, and measures document that includes how goals are tracked and evaluated for each project it tracks. This goals document is to be published on the District’s website.  By December 1, 2025, and annually thereafter, it must publish a report on its progress in reaching these goals.

Chair Whitten introduced Alyse Grohowski from the HOA Board, who discussed the public ownership of Heritage Palms roads, who asked about the possibility of designating all the roads in Heritage Palms private. District Manager Teague explained that the roads were built with public bonds and could only be transferred to another public entity, such as the county or city, but they cannot be transferred to a private entity. 

Supervisor Rawson asked if city police could enter the community if the roads were private.  Chair Whitten noted that, if that were the case, Heritage Palms could increase the class of contracted security agents to those who could conduct more law enforcement. District Manager Teague explained that the benefit of sovereign immunity of the District would be lost, if the roads were designated private.

After a discussion on traffic cameras, Supervisor Anderson asked how non-residents are allowed access through the gates. Chair Whitten explained the history of the issue and the recent clarifications to the post orders, which prohibit denial of entry to the public on the publicly owned roads.


A. Paving Needs on Wine Palm

i. Materials Samples

Chair Whitten explained that the Board is hoping to replace the asphalt on the road inside the gate where the larger trucks are destroying the asphalt. Engineer Marshall noted that they are considering the possibility of various concrete materials for color, texture, and stamping patterns, such as cobblestone. He hopes to obtain samples of heavy duty materials from contractors. He does not believe there will be much cost difference between the different types of material. The repair plan is to wait until after the Lodge construction is complete, which will be later in the year, or at the beginning of next year. There was also discussion on waiting until next spring after the snowbirds have left, which is approximately in April 2025.

Supervisor Breisch expressed concern about the grade around the manhole covers when the surfacing is completed, and he would like it ensured that driving surfaces are even. Engineer Marshall was confident that this can be accomplished.

B. Are Blue, Red, and Yellow Roadway Reflectors Optional or Required?

Engineer Marshall stated that the red and yellow reflectors are optional, but preferred. Blue reflectors indicate the placement of fire hydrants, and they are strongly recommended by the Fire Department. District Manager Teague stated that the Development Order of the community requires the placement of blue reflectors.

C. Lee County MS4 Audit of Stormwater Program

Engineer Marshall is coordinating with the Florida DEP, and he stated that June 4th and 5th are the likely dates for the field visits from Lee County personnel. He expects it to be a 2-hour drive through the entire community, and he will confirm this and schedule it with Field Manager Pepin. The inspectors will primarily be concerned with the control structures and outfalls and will review our internal inspection process. Engineer Marshall is very confident about the outcome, because Heritage Palms is in excellent condition.  He suggested that the CDD notify the Club facilities staff to ensure that all construction areas are clean and orderly, that silt fencing is in place and debris is stored neatly. The whole community will be inspected, even though their primary interest is in the CDD’s process for detecting issues and how they are addressed.

Chair Whitten noted that silt fencing is not used as well as it should be at some of the golf course construction areas. He mentioned that blocking the drains at the grate is not as fully effective as a fence would be.  It should be noted that, without a fence, silt is washed into the gutters and into the lakes eventually. Engineer Marshall will reach out to Kevin Ammon, HPGCC Facilities Director, because the work is near the CDD outfall structure. He will also reach out to Wes Anderson from the City.


A. Cane Toad Preventive Program Update

Supervisor Breisch explained the history of this program. He stated that Traci Bichalski of the HOA continues to oppose HOA involvement in the program, and views it as the responsibility of the CDD. He stated that, during his inspection in the community, he realized that access to the property near the waterways is needed to effectively combat the Cane Toad problem. District Manager Teague stated that there are 15 to 20 ft. CDD easements around the lakes and canals, but CDD access is limited to that area. The HOA is granted more access to property in the community than the CDD, so Supervisor Breisch believes they should take ownership of the Cane Toad issue. He stated that the CDD can administer the removal of tadpoles, but the HOA and the CDD need to work cooperatively in Cane Toad removal.

After much discussion, it was agreed that Chair Whitten will contact Carol Jablonski, the HOA President, to start a dialogue.  District Manager Teague will ask Field Manager Pepin to breakout a proposal for only Cane Toad tadpole removal and present it to the Board at the next meeting.


A. Veranda I at Fairway Isles 8083 Queen Palm Drainage Proposal

District Manager Teague stated that this is a request from the condo HOA, who is asking the CDD to allow them to install a new drainpipe system for their downspouts for drainage into the lake. Chair Whitten approved this project before the meeting, and the Board voted to ratify this proposal.

On MOTION by Vice Chair Switzer, seconded by Chair Whitten, with all in favor, the Board ratified the proposal allowing Veranda I at Fairway Isles 8083 Queen Palm to install a new drainpipe system for their downspouts for drainage into the lake.

B. Lake 2 Shoreline Repairs along Rip Rap Proposal

Included in the packet was a proposal from Copeland Enterprises to restore multiple washouts forming between the large rip rap and sod behind the condo buildings at 8083 & 8107 Queen Palm Lane. The total estimated cost is $28,375.  Chair Whitten expressed concern with Copeland, because of some work they had done for a resident a few years ago on Wine Palm causing a discharge across the sidewalk, and the proposal is also more expensive than he expected. He is not sure the repairs are necessary.

After discussion, it was decided that staff will obtain an estimate from Gonzalo Ayres at Pristine Lakes and Wetlands. District Manager Teague noted that Gonzalo’s proposal will be the same work presented in the Copeland proposal. District Manager Teague will also ask Engineer Marshall to inspect the area and determine if the area can be filled with dirt around the existing fabric.

C. Lake 8 Clubhouse Fountain Pump and Motor Proposal

Included in the packet was a proposal from Premier Lakes to replace the burned-out pump and motor for $5,350. The motor and pump were damaged when the circuit lost its phase 3 power from FPL in April, which also damaged pool motors at the Club. The Board decided not to repair it until a better surge and power loss protection options can be procured.


A. Current Field Management Report

Field Manager Pepin’s report was summarized and the following was discussed:

District Manager Teague noted that there were a few Category 1 poor lakes ratings, but Field Manager Pepin reported that Gonzalo Ayres is addressing the issues. He stated that Mr. Ayers has been very responsive.

Chair Whitten was concerned about vegetation growing underwater in several locations, including Canal 30.  Field Manager Pepin has identified it Red Ludwigia, and District Manager Teague will ask him to address it in the canal where it is the most prolific.

The Field Report stated that Lakes 8 and L-4 need new sod.  The Board approved this for a not to exceed amount of $2,000.

The Board requested that tree trimming proposals for 7942 Tiger Palm and 7418 Heritage Palms Estates Drive.

B. Follow Up Items

i. Preserve Edge Grate Replacement by Cart Path

As of the May, Field Manager Pepin stated that the grate cannot be inspected, because it is still a few inches underwater.

ii. Roadway Reflector Replacements

Field Manager Pepin reported that, as of May 14th, D&G needs to return to finish this portion of the project.

iii. Potholes Repairs

Repairs were completed on May 7th and 8th.

iv. Field Camera Alarm Options

There was discussion concerning the people who are fishing on Lake L-6, and Chair Whitten stated that he had spoken to the Fort Myers Police Department. They advised him that there is a “No Trespassing” signage package that can be installed near the L-6 Outfall where trespassing is still occurring. Field Manager Pepin has not found any cameras that emit alarms. There was discussion on keeping the currently approved system where a cell number is pinged by the field camera when it detects motion, and how it would be monitored. Chair Whitten has agreed to monitor it and call Fort Myers police when he is notified by it of active trespassing. Field Manager Pepin will install it and arrange for the notification service.

v. Lake 22 Electrical Panel Replacement

This project is complete.

vi. Gutter Pan Pooling Investigation

Sidewalk panels can be raised using the foam application, as long as there are no tree roots causing the problem. Field Manager Pepin could not been able to obtain any estimates for this process. Identifying all areas would also be a challenge, because they must be located after it rains or after the area has been irrigated. This project was tabled.


A. Fiscal Year 2025 Proposed Budget

District Manager Teague noted that this Budget has $50,000 in road reserves, $50,000 in bulkhead reserves, and $104,000 for operating roads.

Vice Chair Switzer asked how much there is in road repair reserves. District Manager Teague stated that, as of April, $475,000 was in road repair reserves. 98.24% of assessments has been collected as of now. Chair Whitten noted there is a resident who has not paid the assessment or $40,000 in HOA fees.

i. Resolution 2024-04: Approving Proposed FY 2025 Budget and Setting
Public Hearing Date

The Board approved the resolution, approving the Proposed Budget and setting the Hearing Date for August 26, 2024.  The Budget will be sent to the City and the County and posted on the District website, as required by Florida Statutes.

On MOTION by Supervisor Breisch, seconded by Supervisor Anderson, with all in favor, the Board approved Resolution 2024-04, approving the Proposed Budget, and setting the Public Hearing for August 26, 2024.


There was no HOA report.

SIXTEENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor Reports, Requests, and Comments

Supervisor Rawson stated that he will not be available during the summer but will be back in August. Supervisor Anderson stated that he will be available in August.

Supervisor Brian Anderson read his Oath of Office into the record.

Chair Whitten provided history on a new bulkhead issue, which is at the residence of Warren and Penni Berrie at 7908 Go Canes Way adjacent to Canal 7. There is a grassy area sinking beside the bulkhead. The Chair noted that when the Berries bought the house, there was no bulkhead, but in 2002 developer US Homes notified them of the new bulkhead installation. Mrs. Berrie does not believe that it is their property or responsibility. There is a quit claim deed attached to the property, but she stated that it was initially attached to their neighbor’s property. Apparently the house numbers were changed at one point, and her address was her neighbor’s address at the time. Chair Whitten advised her to research it and determine if they own it.


There were no Audience comments.


On MOTION by Vice Chair Switzer, seconded by Supervisor Breisch, with all in favor, the Board agreed to adjourn at 11:04 a.m.

The Next Regular Meeting is scheduled for June 24, 2024 at 8:00 a.m.

Secretary/Assistant Secretary
Chair/Vice Chair