DESTIN — Residents of
Shoreline Towers Condominium complex have succeeded in their
effort to remove the majority of members from the building's
homeowner's association governing board.
Six of seven members of the board of directors were successfully recalled by order of a state arbitrator.
The Shoreline Towers condominium building on Holiday Isle in Destin.
At the time the petition for recall
was presented bearing the signatures of more than 50% of
condominium owners, the board of directors voted to reject
it. Members cited discrepancies on petitions signed by
owners or representatives of 36 of the 195 condo units and
10 town houses at the complex as their rationale for denial.
Getting started: Pre-renovations begin at Destin's aging Shoreline Towers condo. What's the fate of the HOA?
The arbitrator, appointed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, ruled in December that the contested recall petition was valid and all board members for whom enough recall signatures had been received should be removed.
"The petition filed by Bernhardt Riley argued ... the assessments would cause the owners to suffer serious and irreparable harm if the board was not immediately recalled," the news release said.
Board members had until Jan. 21 to appeal the arbitrator's decision, the Bernhardt Riley news release said. They did not do so.
The news release announcing the removal of the Shoreline Towers board of directors did not address that status of the renovation project. But in early September Mike Kent, owner/manager of Progressive Management of America, the company that has overseen the planning of the building renovation, confirmed a scope of work had been approved and contracts signed.
Efforts to obtain comment on the status of the project from Bernhardt Riley were not successful. Kent did not return a phone call.
The renovation work was commissioned after a study of the building conducted by the engineering group O'Connell & Associates found it in need of a great deal of structural repair.
"It's one of the oldest condominiums in the city, in the Panhandle really," said Destin Mayor Gary Jarvis, who said he had heard nothing of the successful recall or the status of the planned renovations.
The list of work to be done was extensive. Initial plans called it to get underway in mid-September of last year and take up to 18 months to complete.
Included in the renovations were removal and repair of deteriorated or damaged concrete as well as the removal and replacement of windows and sliding glass doors.
Balcony enclosures were to be replaced and almost all existing exterior wall coatings would be removed. Cracked stucco was to be sealed and damaged stucco repaired, a scope of work said.
The scope of work also called for the painting of all ceilings and walls as well as painting building balconies, walkways, stairway interiors and parking garages. The balconies also would be waterproofed.
"All of the repairs are very essential, and if they're not done immediately there will be continued structural damage occurring at the complex," Kent said at the time the recall petition was being discussed.
Kent also said assurances had been given that none of the four buildings that comprise the high-rise Shoreline Towers condominium and town home complex was in imminent danger of structural failure.
In the aftermath of last January's collapse of the Champlain Towers East Condominium in Surfside, Destin officials decided to inspect two condominium complexes about which visitors or owners had expressed concerns to the city. One of those was Shoreline Towers.
"You all need to put the hammer down on Shoreline Towers," the message to the city said. "Same age (as Champlain Towers East) and it just got a scathing engineering report outlining very similar concerns. $10 to $20 million worth."
The City Council in January rejected a proposed ordinance that would have required periodic inspections of tall buildings in Destin, deciding instead to ask local state legislators to strengthen the state’s oversight of high-rise condominiums.
Seventy-two of 290 structures appearing on the Okaloosa County Property Appraiser's list of structures considered condominiums are over 40 years of age.