Middlebrook Pines

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BUDGET MEETING NOTICE

Annual Meeting Newsletter 2024

Middlebrook Pines Homeowners,
Your Property Manager (Keith) and volunteer Board of Directors (BOD) have been
working hard on your behalf to maintain and keep the property in good shape, ensure
compliance of rules, manage community conflicts and plan projects. This update will
provide insight to the body of work that is being completed, or has been done on your
behalf.
Landscaping
Our landscape materials in many areas of the property are aging out. In late 2022 we
hired a landscape design firm to survey our property and create a landscape map and strategy for all areas of the property. The goal of this project was to get professional recommendations of types and locations of plant material that would blend and be aesthetically pleasing, but would be Florida hearty and last many years when planted in the appropriate environment. In 2023, we utilized the recommendations and completely revised the landscaping at the clubhouse and recreation areas. Plant replacement across property will be a multi-year project due to the high cost. For 2024, we are focusing on plant replacement where shrubs are dead or completely missing in areas across the property. Our landscape committee (Keith and Andrew) have surveyed the property and identified the areas with the greatest need. Work will begin in the next couple of weeks which is the planting season and continue in late fall.Balcony & Railings
Work was completed in 2023 to repair where needed and repaint all of the balcony railings. We have heard from a couple of owners that some peeling of the paint is occurring. This seems to be a very few railings of the 688 painted. If you see any issues with your balcony railings, please report this via the maintenance request form on the website. Please also remember that our balconies were treated with a 2-step waterproofing surface. Floor covering of any kind (paint, carpet, tile, etc.) is not permitted on any balcony surface.
Protecting our buildings and saving you money
The Middlebrook Pines homeowners spent $2.8 million to install stone coated metal on the exterior of the buildings. Unlike the cedar which was previously used, this material is supposed to last 40+ years and comes with a very long warranty. In order to protect this asset and ensure that the warranty remains intact, the BOD adopted a rule stating that all components of any live landscaping must be maintained a MINIMUM of 2 feet from the stone coated metal siding and under hang. We recommend pruning much farther than 2 feet or removing the landscaping that is near the building altogether to avoid the need for repeated maintenance. Additionally, nothing should ever be attached in any manner to the stone coated metal siding. Owners will be responsible for any repairs needed to preserve our warrantee. Please ensure that your units are following this rule so that you will not receive a violation notice or be required to pay for repairs. Also note that we are currently testing 3 different eco-friendly cleaning products to eliminate the darkened areas on the stone coated metal. Once we determine the best product, we will begin treating all of the buildings where it is needed.
www.MiddlebrookPines.com Website
We hope that everyone is enjoying the new look and navigation of the website. The new site provides open access to pictures of our property, request forms and email links, plus all of our rules and governing documents. This will make it easy for realtors, prospective buyers or tenants, and owners to have 24-hour access to the documents. There is also a “Portal” side of the website that limits access to owners. In this space you can self-serve all types of information related to home ownership, the community, and COA business. Every owner (that has provided an email address to us) has been given access to the website and invitations were emailed in January. If you have difficulties with your login, please use the “reset password” feature which is found on the “login screen”. If that does not work, please submit a “request access” form. Our property is a large one and our Property Manager is frequently out on the property. We recommend using the website tools as the most efficient way to obtain information, report a violation or maintenance issue, request use of the clubhouse, or send us an email. Please note that the website is still being developed, so please report anything that you find is not working as expected. Or… if you have suggestions for the website, we would love to hear them. Lastly, please be sure to add “info@middlebrookpines.com to your address books to ensure that our communications are not seen as spam.
Recreation Area
The recreation areas locks were updated with a new electronic locking system in 2022. The pool lock, which was malfunctioning with some frequency has been replaced and this seems to have solved the problems. Fobs are still available in the office
New lighting has been installed at the pool and the light in the pool (after months of waiting for a bulb) is now working again.
The tennis courts have been repaired and repainted. We also completed a survey with core sampling of the ground/land beneath the courts. It confirmed that the ground in this area is not stable or supportive enough which is what is the cause of warping and cracking of the courts. At some point in the future, the BOD and owners will need to determine a solution for what should be done.
Based on owner/resident feedback, the Board of Directors ratified a change in the hours as follows.
o Pool: 7:00 am to 10:00 pm
o Ball Courts: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm (note that ball courts do not have lighting and should not be used after sunset)
Use of Patios
As a reminder, the patios are a limited common area. While the owner has exclusive use, the Association has some say in what is, or is not permitted. In general, it is not permitted to have anything on the patio (excluding landscape) which can be seen above the roof line as it changes the outward appearance of the building. In addition to this, other items such as (but not exclusively) sports equipment, trampolines and such are not permitted for liability reasons.
Saving our Pine Trees
Our pine trees on property have been dying out at an alarming rate during the past couple of years. It was evident from holes in the bark that they are being attacked by some sort of insect. We enlisted the help of an expert that has identified the problem as being a beetle and that we can save our remaining trees with a treatment which injects a liquid into the tree that is poisonous to the beetles. This liquid is not toxic to any other wildlife and the treatment will need to occur 3 times per year going forward. The BOD has approved this cost and the first treatment of our 106 Pine trees will begin in the coming weeks. This will become another budget line item for us each year.
Short Term or Vacation Rentals – NOT PERMITTED
We continue to receive notifications and complaints that units are being used for short term or vacation rentals. This is expressly forbidden by our governing documents. This is for the benefit and safety of all owners and residents of Middlebrook Pines. Offering all or part of your unit as a short term or vacation rental is strictly prohibited and will be dealt with swiftly by the Association. Those with tenants are responsible to ensure that your unit is not in violation of this or any other rules.
Responsible Leasing
For the many owners which are not residing in the unit but are using it as a rental property. Please help us to ensure that Middlebrook Pines continues to be a safe and comfortable place to live and that our Property values are being protected. Middlebrook Pines units in general are sought after and very quickly filled with tenants. So, there is an opportunity to be a bit selective to ensure that this property suits their needs. This includes having only 2 cars in residency, will not be parking a commercial vehicle on the property, has maximum four-person occupancy, and that they have read our rules and agree to abide by them, PRIOR TO SIGNING A LEASE. So many new tenants have moved in, have immediately had rule violations, and when approached tell us that they were not aware of the rules. This is a terrible situation to have put them in. Please do your best to prepare them for life at Middlebrook Pines. Our wish is for everyone living here to have stress-free living.
Fences
As you know, we have been delaying the project to replace fences due to the extremely high cost and limited availability of wood products. The good news is, availability is much greater and the costs have come down somewhat, but not nearly to pre-covid levels. The fence replacement project is scheduled in Reserves as a 20-year asset with replacement to occur over a 4-year period. Fences were last replaced in a single year following the 2004 hurricanes which devastated much of Florida. Quality product and labor were in great demand and difficult to hire and retain, which explains the condition of existing fences. We know that we cannot do this as a 4-year project, plus there are volume discounts to be gained if we complete the entire project at one time. We have spent nearly 2 years gathering information from a multitude of companies and industry experts to help guide our decisions of wood species, design, fasteners, latches, and cost vs. value of sealing, staining, or painting of the wood. All of this acquired information has allowed us to obtain bids for the work based on identical specifications.
Our focus now will be to select the best vendor and figure out funding for the project. Due to the substantial increases in wood and labor, there is a fund shortfall in our fence reserve account and we cannot wait another year or two to complete this. As we have watched the market, this seems to be a good time to proceed and it is prudent to lock it in prior to the next hurricane season. Additionally, we are spending quite a bit of money currently on the repair of these fences. Funding this will require a special assessment to be paid by each unit. We will keep it as low as possible and will provide a reasonable period of time for the collection period. More and specific information will be coming very soon on the subject and a special owners meeting will be held to ratify the special assessment. At this time, the goal is to be transparent that this is coming.
Lastly, several units have trees/landscape inside their patio which will need to be removed because, either is currently damaging the fence and/or surrounding areas, or will interfere with the new fence. Some patios have really large trees with root systems which are raising the ground level outside the patio and in some cases affecting walkways. Keith and Andrew have walked the property to identify the work that needs to be done and impacted owners will be notified of what is required. Remediation will have to occur prior to the fence being installed.
We realize that this is a lot of information and this is just a snippet of what your volunteer Board of Directors is engaged with on your behalf. We appreciate your time and attention, and support both now and in the future as we work together to keep Middlebrook Pines a great place to live and own!
Sincerely,
Middlebrook Pines Board of Directors
www.MiddlebrookPines.com

Landscape Updates

  • Plant replacement for Middle Court totaling $9928 has been approved and the work should begin in the next couple of weeks.
  • Plant replacement for Brook Court totaling $12052 has been approved and the work should begin in the next couple of weeks.
  • We are currently working on a landscape replacement strategy for the pool area.

Property Improvements – Miscellaneous Maintenance

  • New pool furniture is arriving for the summerJ! Our new furniture should arrive in the next 2 to 3 weeks… just in time for the hot summer season.
  • A new cleaner and more contemporary sign package has been ordered and received for our recreation areas. Installation of the new signs should be completed in the next couple of weeks.
  • The metal pool umbrellas have received a new coat of paint in a color that will blend well with the new pool furniture that is arriving soon.
  • A new supplier has been found for the wheel stops that we use on the property. As soon as they are delivered, wheel stops which are currently broken or have rebar showing will be replaced.
  • We are happy to report that following much time spent researching options that the Board of Directors has approved the replacement of our house number signs which are mounted on the gate. We are certain that you will like the replacement signs and hope to have them delivered and fully installed within the next 6 weeks.

Rules and Regulations

  • Tennis Courts – The tennis courts were just repainted at a cost of $7100.00 and we are finding residents that are using them for skateboarding or other types of wheeled recreation. Nothing but athletic shoes and tennis balls should ever touch the surface of the court.  Please ensure that you or those in your household are not abusing the courts and if you see anyone doing this, please ask them to leave the courts.  Your help with this is appreciated.
  • Several units have installed plant material and/or trees which are at risk of, or have already, damaged fences, shingles, or concrete. Additionally, some units have very large trees which pose a safety or property damage risk of falling branches or palm fronds, or the actual tree is dead or dying.  As a reminder, all vegetation which is planted inside of the fence is your responsibility to maintain and should it cause any damage, the cost to remove the problem and repair/replace any damage caused by your unit will be assessed and will need to be paid by the homeowner of that unit.  We strongly encourage all owners to review your patios and resolve any issues that may exist prior to the Association becoming involved.  The alternative is that following our process of violation notification, the Association will hire a company to complete the work on your behalf and bill you, the owner, for all costs.

 

2017 Fiscal Year Budget

The new fiscal year for Middlebrook Pines Condominium Association Inc. begins on July 1, 2016.  Currently the Board of Directors and Property Manager are assessing next year’s vendor contracts, other anticipated landscape and maintenance expenses, as well as property improvement planning to develop an accurate budget proposal for our 2017 fiscal year.  Expect to receive information about the annual budget meeting and proposed budget by mail in the next few weeks.

Words to Live by

The only disability in life is a bad attitude

Author Unknown