Welcome To The December Edition Of "The Green Marble" Newsletter

The December Issue Includes:

The Final Push! FLCAJ Readers' Choice Award
- "Shady Situations: Who Has Responsibility For Maintenance And Replacement Of Trees?"
- Upcoming Seminars/Events/Meetings
- What Is A Registered Agent Service
- We Moved Our Melbourne Office!
- Now Accepting 1st Quarter 2017 Most Awesome Nominations
- 4th Quarter Most Awesome Manager Winner
- 4th Quarter Most Awesome Board Member Winner
- Holiday Decoration Dilemmas
- Our Abandoned And Abused Pets Need You!
- Quote Of The Month

The Final Push!
Clayton & McCulloh is honored to be nominated for the 3rd year in a row for the Florida Community Association Journal's Readers' Choice Award in the law firm category. Voting for the Award ends December 31, 2016. In the last few weeks of the competition all of us at Clayton & McCulloh would very much appreciate your vote by using the link in the logo below:
Vote for Clayton & McCulloh . . . the law firm that Embraces Community !

"Shady Situations: Who Has Responsibility For 
Maintenance And Replacement Of Trees?"
By: Brian Hess,  Partner

As a number of communities that we represent have aged, an increasing number have come to us with questions to who has responsibility for maintenance and replacement of trees.  As many of you know, especially for communities built in the 1990s, many local governments required new developments to plant a number of trees, especially oak trees, adjoining paved portions of streets.  Over time, these trees have grown, sometimes causing damage to roadways and structures.  Some associations may believe that the location of such trees is within the yards of the homes adjacent to the street trees, and as such, the homeowner would have responsibility for the trees.  While this may be the case for some homes, we have discovered that, especially for communities with private streets owned by the association, the trees may actually be located within the area designed on the plat as a common area roadway right-of-way tract. In other words, while it may appear that a tree may be within an owner's yard, the tree may actually be placed within the common area roadway tract.

Upcoming Seminars/Events/Meetings

Get your education here! Here are our upcoming seminars and events:
Introducing Our 2017 Community Connect Chat Seminars

Community Connect Chats are a new and improved spin on our popular Fireside Chats which originated in 2010! Community Connect Chats are small, educational, sometimes entertaining classes covering a wide variety of subjects both for Community Associations and a series on issues that affect you and your family. Each month, we will be featuring various small group one-hour classes presented by our legal team complete with refreshments, ample time for questions and answers, a copy of the PowerPoint presentation, and a certificate suitable for framing. These classes will be hosted at our Maitland and Melbourne offices featuring free parking and are available for 1 or 2 CEUs for managers.  Check out our website for information on specific classes click  here.  Classes begin in January, so register now!

Tuesday, January 17 - Hosted by Clayton & McCulloh
Maitland Office.  Registration at 6:30 p.m. Partner, Paul West, will be presenting "You Can't Take It With You!" A  complimentary class with refreshments including a complimentary glass of wine. For more information  please click  here.

Thursday, January 19 - Hosted by Clayton & McCulloh
Melbourne Office.  Registration at 6:00 p.m. Partner, Brian Hess, and Partner, Joe Stayanoff, will be presenting "The Legislature Did What? 2017 Legal Update."  A complimentary class with refreshments including a complimentary glass of wine. For more information click  here.

Tuesday, January 24 - Hosted by Clayton & McCulloh
Melbourne Office.  Registration at 6:30 p.m. Partner, Paul West, will be presenting "You Can't Take It With You!"  A complimentary class with refreshments including a complimentary glass of wine. For more information click  here .

Thursday, January 26 - Hosted by Clayton & McCulloh
Melbourne Office.  Registration at 6:00 p.m. Partner, Brian Hess, and Partner, Joe Stayanoff, will be presenting "The Legislature Did What? 2017 Legal Update."  A complimentary class with refreshments including a complimentary glass of wine. For more information click  here .

What Is A Registered Agent Service?

A Registered Agent is a designated person or entity who is legally responsible under Florida law to be available at a designated address Monday through Friday during normal business hours, to accept legal  service  of process  (such as lawsuits) on behalf of a corporation or in this case, an Association.   The designation and acceptance of the position and responsibility of a Registered Agent is a legal requirement for all corporations in  the State of Florida.  Clayton & McCulloh does not normally recommend that an Association officer or director be designated the Registered Agent for the Association in part because there is turnover of volunteers serving in  these positions. Rather, due to its legal significance, we suggest that you appoint a professional to serve in this position, such as your management company, an accountant, or your attorney.   Clayton & McCulloh is, in most cases, available to serve as the Registered Agent for  our Association clients.  A benefit of having us serve as your Association's Registered Agent is that as your attorney we will be aware that lawsuit papers have been served on the Association.  This allows more time for us to review the issues of the case and advise the Association how it should respond. The fixed fee for this service includes preparation and filing of papers with the State accepting our designation as your Association's Registered Agent.  The fee also includes paying us at the conclusion of our service to prepare and file the appropriate papers to resign our designation as your Registered Agent.  This fixed fee includes all fees and costs, including the filing fees with the Secretary of State.

We Moved Our Melbourne Office!

Our Melbourne Office Has Moved Four Buildings To The East.

Our Community Connect Chats (f/k/a Fireside Chats) were so successful that we decided we needed a new office with a larger conference room to accommodate these growing popular mini-seminars.  So - we moved!  Our Melbourne office is now just four buildings to the east of our former location.  Our new address is Baytree Corporate Park, 1301 Bedford Drive, Suite 101, Melbourne, FL 32940. All phone numbers and email addresses will remain the same at our new office.

Now Accepting 1st Quarter 2017 Most Awesome Nominations

The Most Awesome Award ran throughout the year and was a huge success with numerous winners truly deserving of the title Most Awesome Manager or Board Member. We are excited to say that based on the success of this year, we are going to continue into next year with Most Awesome First Quarter Nominations opening now. Nominations for the 2017 First Quarter Most Awesome Manager and Board Member will close on January 5, 2017. 

Use the buttons bellow to nominate a Manager or Board Member you know that has truly gone above and beyond the call of duty for your Association. Be sure to elaborate  and make sure we know why your nominee is the greatest!

The 4th Quarter Most Awesome Manager Winner:

Joe Frasca of Preferred Property Management

Raisa Negron, Secretary of Seasons of Mt. Greenwood Homeowners Association took the time to nominate their manager Joe Frasca saying: "Joe Frasca has been our manager since before I became a member of The Seasons HOA. I've been on the board for over seven years and Joe has always shown exemplary professionalism not only with the board, but with the residents."

(Raisa Negron, Joe Frasca, and Arlene Ring)
The 4th Quarter Most Awesome Board Member Winner:

Joe Gerich of Overlooks at Parkside Condo Association

Joe was nominated by the manager of Overlooks at Parkside Condo Association, Leigh Quinn of Sentry Management. Leigh had this to say of Joe Gerich: "Joe puts endless hours into his community.  Joe walks the property almost every day and picks up trash and reports any violations. Joe checks all of the gates to make sure they are all working daily." 

Continue Reading ...

(Joe Gerich)
Holiday Decoration Dilemmas
     By: Clayton & McCulloh

The holiday season is once again upon us, and for many of us, no holiday season is complete without decorating our homes to show our festive spirit and our diverse beliefs and faiths.  However, we each have our opinion as to what is tasteful and appropriate holiday decoration, especially when it comes to outdoor displays.  While some believe that a simple wreath on the door is sufficient, others put great effort into decking their halls, as well as their yards, trees, shrubs, fences, and mailboxes.  Elaborate outdoor holiday decorations may be a welcome sight for some, but others may consider over-done displays an eye-sore.  On occasion, traffic problems may occur when holiday sight-seers come from miles around to view particularly elaborate holiday decorations.  There are also those homeowners who enjoy their holiday decorations so much they keep them around through Easter, much to their neighbors' dismay.
To combat the problems caused by the overzealous decorator or the owner who can't find the time to take down his or her holiday decorations, many community associations have implemented rules regulating or even prohibiting outdoor decorations.  While community associations have the authority to implement reasonable rules regulating outdoor holiday displays, the enforcement of these rules may often be controversial and could chip away at the community's bonds.  Before taking extreme measures to enforce regulations on holiday decorations, Association Boards should consider the effect on the community as a whole.  Are a few plastic reindeer really worth an expensive courtroom battle?  Should the spirit of community, a commodity hard to find these days, be put at risk over a couple of strings of colored flashing lights?  Most would agree, probably not.
Yet, if an Association Board feels that restrictions on holiday decorations are required, then reasonable rules can be adopted.  On the far extreme, an all-out ban of holiday decoration stands a high risk of being deemed unreasonable by a Court if challenged.  On the other hand, a rule establishing a certain time period in which holiday decorations may be displayed might be less  resistant to challenge.  Other sensible rules include requiring "outdoor-use ratings" for lights and requiring that lights be turned off by a certain hour, such as 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. 
If an Association chooses to implement rules restricting or banning holiday decoration, and should such rules be challenged by an Owner, the Association must establish that the rules meet the criteria of reasonableness set forth in Hidden Harbor Estates, Inc. v. Norman, 309 So. 2d 180 (Fla. 4th DCA 1975).  Specifically, the Association must show that the rules are not arbitrary or capricious but bear some relationship to the health, happiness and enjoyment of life to the residents of the community.  If the Association cannot show that the rules further this purpose, then there is a risk that a Court might find the rules unreasonable, and thus, unenforceable.

Like most other sensitive issues, the bottom line is that Associations should consider the desires of its residents in regulating holiday decorations.  While regulations on holiday decorations may serve a valuable purpose in some Associations, in other Associations, similar regulations may seem overbearing and simply serve to widen the gap between the residents and the Association administration.  Timely and tasteful holiday decorations will certainly bring joy to young and old, alike, and help strengthen the spirit of community.


Our Abandoned And Abused Pets Need  You!
I magine sleeping on a cold, hard concrete floor.  Imagine your pet in a shelter - all alone, scared without any warmth.  Well, this isn't going to happen if Clayton & McCulloh has anything to say about it.  We are taking on a new charity!  The Pet Alliance (the Greater Orlando Humane Society), and the Humane Society of South Brevard is in need of your donations for the coming winter months.

If you have any old towels, blankets, and/or new pet food please consider donating them to this worthy cause.  We will b e collecting donations at both our Maitland and Melbourne Offices. We will then take these donations to their respective local Humane Society. Our first collection period will end on December 16, just in time for the little critters to snuggle up as the cold weather hits.  Please find it in your heart to help these poor, scared, unloved pets. Donate your old towels, blankets, or new pet food, and if at all possible - adopt a new member for your family from one of these amazing organizations. 
We are now accepting your donations. If you have any questions, please contact our Public Relations Department here. 

Quote Of The Month

Get The Latest Trending News!
Like us on Facebook and you will receive:
  • Late breaking news on topics affecting Community Associations;
  • Seminar invitations;
  • Legal Updates;
  • Human Interest Stories; and
  • Much more!
This isn't your parents' law firm Facebook Page. Like Us on Facebook !

Join Us In Celebrating These November Birthdays!

Renee Johnson - Accounting Assistant,  Clayton & McCulloh - December 4
Paul West - Partner, Clayton & McCulloh - December 10 
Gina Holbrook - President, Premier Association Management of Central Florida - December 10
David Forthuber - Manager, Sentry Management's Longwood Office - December 19
Linda Arahill - Manager, LKA Properties, - December 21
Joanna Hart - Vice President, Sentry Management's Longwood Office - December 25

Like us on Facebook Like us on Facebook     Connect on LinkedIn View our profile on LinkedIn
Orlando Office: Maitland
The Clayton & McCulloh Building
1065 Maitland Center Commons Blvd.
Maitland, FL  32751
Phone: (407) 875-2655
Fax: (407) 875-3363 
Melbourne Office: Suntree/Viera
Baytree Corporate Park
1301 Bedford Drive, Suite 101
Melbourne, FL 32940
Phone: (321) 751-3449
Fax: (321) 751-3450 
Toll Free: (888) 793-1486
After Hours / 24/7: (407) 808-2553
You are receiving this e-mail as you fall into one of the following categories:

* You are currently a client or client's manager; and/or
* You have requested to be on our mailing list.

If you elect to be removed from this e-mail service, we will no longer be able to send you seminar invitations, information on changes in the law concerning Community Associations, newsletters, or any other information regarding the Community Association industry.  You will not receive solicitation for business unless you have requested that information.  We sincerely hope we can continue to assist you with the challenges that face Community Associations today through this service.