Contact Us

For issues concerning the community, please contact Sarah Roeberg at Sentry Management. She may be reached at 727-942-1906 x 213.

Sentry Management's fax number is 727-942-2136 (ARC applications, etc).

For policy issues you wish directed to the board, please contact the HOA President,. Tom Matter at ...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Communicating Better

As you are no doubt aware, this is the first newsletter in awhile. There is no excuse for that, but we would like to get some input on ways we can communicate better. In this mailing, you will find a form that allows you to receive the newsletter via e-mail. You also have the option to be notified of official events such as board meetings via email. We hope many residents opt for the emailed version as we save printing and mailing costs. You also get to see the nice color newsletter as intended, not the black and white version you are reading now.
While email is certainly not new, we have been thinking about other ways we can communicate with the residents. We would like to setup a web site with a simple blog such that you can find up-to-date information about things happening in Oak Trail that may concern you. Note that this is not meant to be an open forum (like a chat room) but a place for official, board-approved communication. We would also offer links to documents, and an email form for sending questions or concerns to the board. We are interested in any feedback you may have.
Please note this is not meant to be an alternative for issues that require immediate attention. Please continue to use Sentry Management Company to report any issues you may have.

Architectural Review Process

Just a reminder to all that any changes made to your home including, but not limited to, exterior paining, new roof, major landscaping, etc. must be approved by the Architectural Review Committee (ARC). The ARC is tasked with ensuring changes made to homes are reviewed for how they fit into the community. While we all own our homes and enjoy a certain amount of sovereignty, as part of living in a deed-restricted community, we all agree to honor the rules of the association. One of those rules is that we will allow the ARC to review exterior projects. Please submit for approval any projects that affect the exterior appearance of your home before work starts ARC forms are available from Sentry Management.
Since we mentioned roofs, we should point out a recent mailing you may have received. As you may know, there are two roofs in the subdivision that were grandfathered to allow shingle roofs. Please note their existence does not mean that any other roof in Oak Trail can have a shingle roof. All roofs are required to be cement tile or reasonable facsimile as approved by the ARC (metal roofs that look like cement tile, for example). The easiest way to make sure there are no compliance issues is to submit your change paperwork to the ARC before your contractor starts work.

Signs of the Times

During the last election cycle in the Fall, you may have noticed a large number of signs supporting various candidates. While we applaud the civic-mindedness of our neighbors, we feel it important to point out that we are not actually allowed to post signs on our property save for a few exceptions: for Sale/Rent signs, security signs (within 10 feet of your door), or lawn treatment signs.

In Florida, the state legislature has never seen fit to give residents even under restrictive covenants (the legal name for deed restrictions) an exemption to display political signs. While there are differing opinions of what we should allow, as it stands now, political signs are not allowed. An interesting sideline of our investigation into this issue highlighted that the signs for various contractors placed on your property such as pool contractors, sprinkler companies and roofing contractors are not allowed either. If you are having work done, please ask the contractor to not place a sign on your lawn. The Board is charged with enforcing the rules as written so we would ask your cooperation. If a resident thinks we should have some exception for political signs (or contractor signs) one could certainly make that request of the board—realizing that changing the deed restrictions requires the approval of the majority of the homeowners in the association.

Another offshoot of this investigation led us to flags. The logic at a recent board meeting was that if signs were not allowed then why would flags be allowed (e.g., FSU, Gators, Rays, etc.). The State of Florida already has an exemption for certain flags (see below, right)
The question then arose if a sign was not allowed, then why could flags that are not covered in the below statute be allowed. At the request of the board (and some residents at the meeting), the association attorney clarified this for us. Paraphrasing, since we specifically disallow the signs but are silent on the flag, then the flag is allowed. As with most contracts, only things specifically mentioned are prohibited. One cannot infer other items are prohibited simply because they might be, in our mind, similar. While this may seem esoteric, it does illustrate a point with the deed restrictions. We have heard many cases where people do not think the association has a right to “tell someone what they can do with their property”. While we understand the sentiment, the fact is that we do not tell anyone they cannot do anything. It is the deed restrictions that every owner willfully signed upon purchase of their property. Those restrictions protect your rights to not have the proverbial car on blocks in your neighbor’s front yard. It also ensures our neighborhood is maintained in a way the entire community wishes. As mentioned above, the community can vote to change anything they wish, but please consider the ramifications of this as 100 political signs for 8 months could be considered blight.

(2)(a) Any homeowner may display one portable, removable United States flag or official flag of the State of Florida in a respectful manner, and one portable, removable official flag, in a respectful manner, not larger than 41/2 feet by 6 feet, which represents the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, or a POW-MIA flag, regardless of any covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements of the association.

Changes to Community Property

Please note that regarding the pond water level, we did have a resident try to put a board into the drain and artificially raise the level. Unfortunately, this caused the sheriff to be called. As a community association, no single resident is allowed to change community property. Please forward any issues to Sentry Management rather take matters into your own hands.

Community Garage Sale - Spring 2013

The Oak Trail Community Garage Sale will be held on March 16th, 2013. The garage sale goes from 8:00AM until 1:00 PM. There will be traffic cones on the street directing traffic around the circle in one way. We ask that residents help out by moving any cars off the street to ensure we have a good flow of traffic—as well as to ensure any emergency vehicles can get around the circle. If you would like to help out and get the signs and cones placed around the community, please let us know.