Article Courtesy of The
By Reggie Connell
Published August 1, 2021
had all the signs of a deal gone wrong, but out of the ashes, a phoenix in the
form of Rock Springs Ridge Homeowners Association President Gary McSweeney arose
with the good news of an agreement pulled out of the jaws of disappointment.
McSweeney spoke before
the Apopka City Council at their Wednesday meeting.
“We had a meeting today with the Golf Group developer and
owner of the golf course lands,” said McSweeney. “The HOA
and that group put together a declaration of intent. It’s a
7-point document that outlines our understanding of what our
agreement is. Based upon your [City Council] review, we will
react to that and to give you confidence in the majority
agreement of the residents… we’re prepared to rent out the
Amphitheater, and in one evening have you [Mayor Bryan
Nelson] speak, and have tables to sign up. It will be a hub
“You won’t have to rent it,” said Nelson. “During the week,
we’re fine. You tell me when. The sooner the better.”
“I think the residents will be very favorable to this agreement,” said
McSweeney. “It is what it is. If there are any changes, we’re all here to
work together. And I have to say that this has been a long-time issue with
RSR and the City, and even with the developer. It’s a three-way partnership
to make it work. And much of it, if not all of it, has to do with the mayor.
He gave us an opportunity to voice ourselves… to voice even our opposition
to what is being proposed in an effort to get to the bottom of every major
aspect of this so that we are comfortable and the Golf Group is comfortable.
And that’s a hard thing to do. It’s a real tribute to Apopka… to the
leadership to let that happen.”
But Commissioner Diane Velazquez, a resident of Rock Springs, wanted to make
certain a majority of the residents were in agreement.
“Were the residents sent a letter asking if they were interested in the
purchase of the golf course?” Velazquez asked McSweeney.
“I’m not sure what you mean,” McSweeney replied.
“I know that was asked a few times in HOA meetings,” said Velazquez. “And I
know what you’re saying, but I get contacted behind the scenes all the time
by residents who are not on board. I’m assuring them that at some point the
HOA is going to send this survey to each household to see if they are
interested in purchasing this defunct golf course.”
“We will be doing that in the next two weeks,” said McSweeney. “We are
hopeful to have our meeting at the Amphitheater two weeks from Tuesday
(August 3rd). Putting out information on our collective thoughts of what we
are doing. We hope to get the rates from your agency. We just put the
package together today so we are in more of a fixed mode… so we will make
everyone aware of what this agreement is.”
“I know what you’re saying,” said Velazquez. “But before you present that to
the households, will you ask them if they are interested? Because what
you’re saying is you’re going to send them this package as if we are moving
“We can certainly do that,” said McSweeney. “Our intention was to have a
vote of RSR residents in two weeks. It shows their affirmation before you
[City Council] would even vote on it.”
“So in two weeks you’re going to have this event and all the residents who
want to do it are going to come out, and the ones that don’t aren’t going to
Nelson also wanted to make it clear what was being voted on at the City
“I think we need to distinguish between what’s best for the City and what’s
best for the RSR people,” he said. “I think our decision will be to let RSR
have the ability to do what they want to do. I’m not here to mandate what
RSR does – period. That’s for the RSR residents to do. I want to give RSR
the opportunity to buy the golf course, and that’s all I want to give them.”
McSweeney remained confident in the RSR consensus for moving forward based
on the previous meeting at the Amphitheater.
“I think this whole process when the mayor made his presentation and you
were all [City Council] on stage, there was a significant 500, 600, 700
But Commissioner Kyle Becker wanted to make certain the RSR residents were
fully educated on what they would be voting on.
“That should not be indicative of people that were in dissent,” said Becker.
“To Commissioner Velazquez’s point, whenever you survey your neighborhood,
it’s not a binary yes or no, but a binary yes or no with facts to support
it. If I’m voting yes I need to know some financial facts to support it.
This is the obligation I’m going to have as a resident of RSR. If that
doesn’t go out, that’s a miss, because I don’t want to get up on any stage
in the future if people in RSR have not been educated on that topic.”