CDD 3 supervisor expresses frustration with continued search for ARC alternate

Gail Lazenby

Community Development District 3 is still seeking an alternate to serve on the Architectural Review Committee – a process that has proven extremely frustrating to one supervisor.

An opening came about on March 25 when Jim Anker submitted his resignation as the alternate member of the committee. District staff has been advertising in the Daily Sun for someone to step forward but as of Friday still hadn’t had any luck in finding an applicant. So the board agreed to continue advertising until a resident with an interest in serving steps forward.

Gail Lazenby, who has served on CDD 3 for about 14 years, expressed frustration with the lack of candidates to serve as an alternate but said he fully understands why it’s so difficult to get someone who wants to be involved.

Lazenby said one issue centers around the fact that the Architectural Review Committee meets weekly. He said some residents quickly find out that they are “biting off an awful lot more than they can they can chew.”

“I come to a meeting once a month and we took less than hour and a half to do the meeting today,” he said. “These ARC members will go to a meeting every week and it’s not uncommon for those meetings to last two-and-a-half to three hours. And some of them can be fairly contentious.”

For instance, earlier this month acting ARC Chairman Don Simson had to try to calm down a large rowdy crowd that wanted to be put at the top of the agenda. He tried to explain that more than 100 applications were to be reviewed that morning and the room was full of residents and contractors who had followed the procedure and had properly been placed on the agenda. The group CARE – Citizens Against Reckless Expansion – are concerned about an oversized garage going up in the Village of Tall Trees.

Neighbors in the Village of Tall Trees are unhappy about an expansion at a home in the Village of Tall Trees.

Lazenby said ARC members and alternates soon find out that the meeting cuts up a big portion of their week that they weren’t expecting.

“This is a pretty significant commitment because it’s not just going to that meeting,” he said. “In many cases, it’s preparation for that meeting as well.”

To make matters worse, Lazenby said, alternates often put in the same amount of time as the regular members but never get to be a part of the meeting or the decisions made. Oftentimes they find that frustrating, he said.

“In many cases I’ve seen alternates who go to the meeting, sit in the audience and then they go home and feel like, ‘I didn’t get to do anything. I didn’t get to speak and I don’t get to accomplish anything,’” he said.

Lazenby said the job requires an applicant who has some knowledge and is willing to put in time for the betterment of the district.

“But they also have to realize they’re going to be the stand-in,” he said. “They’re not getting the lead role. You get the job and all of a sudden you never get an opportunity to do it and you wonder, ‘Why did I bother to do this?’”

Lazenby said he isn’t sure how to make the situation better for alternates but vowed that the board will keep looking until it finds the right person to fill the seat.