By Sallie James
Chaotic. Loud. Enlightening. All are accurate ways to describe the lively weekend community meeting at Shaker Village to discuss the pending sale of The Common, an abandoned skeleton of a building that has recently become a coveted city acquisition.
Residents who attended a neighborhood meeting on Saturday had lots of questions. Many voiced concern about Shaker Village’s staggering debt and wondered aloud if a sale would provide needed relief. Others said they were confused by the legal ramifications, and some opposed a sale.
“This is a way we get our house in order. This is an absolute embarrassment to the city. We have to own it,” said one resident who would identify himself only as Carl. “You don’t kick a gift horse in the mouth.”
Tamarac Commissioners recently voted 3-2 to buy the 2.4-acre clubhouse property for nearly $2 million and replace the destroyed clubhouse with a city-owned community center that the Shaker Village HOA could also use on a limited basis. The gutted building has been uninhabitable since 2017, when a storm destroyed it.
The residential community on the north side of Commercial Boulevard west of Florida’s turnpike consists of 361 townhomes built in the early 1970s. HOA board members said the community was mismanaged for years and is drowning in debt with a laundry list of needed repairs. Major drainage improvements, new roofs, and repaved streets are among the most pressing.
Tamarac commissioners will consider a shared use agreement at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13, at City Hall located at 7525 NW 88 Ave. The meeting is expected to be full, with protesters against the arrangement picketing with signs and those in favor also turning out in force.
Many city residents are furious about the pending sale, claiming it is not their place to absorb the debts of another HOA. The deal has also sparked controversy because Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton lives in the community and rents a townhouse owned by the church where he is pastor.
Bolton, also the district commissioner for that community, did not attend the neighborhood meeting.
The shared agreement up for consideration on Wednesday would provide the Shaker Village HOA with limited use of the (not yet built) city-owned community center as follows.
- Use of a conference or meeting room annually on the third Friday in February from 7-9 p.m. so the HOA can conduct its annual election
- Use of a conference room or meeting room on the last Thursday of every month from 7-9 p.m. for purposes of conducting its monthly Board of Directors meeting.
- Exclusive use of dedicated office space with a minimum size of 10 feet by 15 feet by the HOA’s property manager
The shared agreement also requires Shaker Village to pay their share of electricity for the office space and to name the city as an additional insured on their insurance, with an indemnification provision.
City records show that Tamarac has budgeted $1.9 million in fiscal year 2023 to acquire the property, $300,000 in fiscal year 2024 for early pre-construction costs, and $7.6 million in fiscal year 2025 for the construction of the community center.
Shaker Village board members arranged the weekend meeting to dispel rumors about the controversial sale. Board members also tried providing answers to residents worried about rising HOA fees and the spiraling $3 million+ in code enforcement fines accumulating on the destroyed clubhouse. About 55 residents were in attendance.
The meeting, at times, was punctuated by shouting and anger as residents tried to understand how the pending sale might help or harm their community.
Resident Tonya Nesbitt said she filed an injunction blocking the sale and warned her neighbors that a sale to the city would not guarantee that their HOA assessments would not increase.
“Everything is increasing. If you sell that clubhouse, that is it; you can’t control who comes in and goes out,” Nesbitt said. “So, who is going to pay the taxes? Once you sell it, what is happening after that?”
- Sallie James is a veteran reporter/blogger/copywriter who spent most of her writing career in South Florida, including 22 years at the Sun Sentinel. She has also freelanced for The Coastal Star, South Florida Gay News & Florida Weekly. Sallie is the mother of grown boy/girl twins, a Guardian ad Litem, an animal rescuer, and a longtime Tamarac resident. She earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Indiana University.
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