KEY LARGO -- Key Largo Trailer Village is a neighborhood feuding with itself.
Last summer, the homeowner's association board filed a lawsuit asking a judge to require all homeowners in the Key Largo Trailer Village to join the association and pay annual dues of about $200. The judge hasn't yet ruled since all homeowners had not been properly served.
The possibility of ceding some of their individual rights to an association has caused angst among many residents in the park, who met Sunday morning in an effort to oust the current board of directors. More than 100 residents stood in line to sign a notarized form expressing their desire for new leadership. Expecting contention at the meeting, the group hired an off-duty Monroe County Sheriff's deputy.
Signs announcing the Sunday meeting posted along the neighborhood's streets went missing recently, causing the group to file a police report alleging petit theft.
The 15-minute meeting was led by homeowner Glenn Maclean, who has been organizing the effort through a Yahoo group.
Maclean said the petition may not have any legal bearing, but he will present the signatures to the board and ask them to step down. Then, Maclean says, a newly-elected board could drop the lawsuit. Despite the Sunday meeting, Maclean said the board is up for reelection at the end of the year. But waiting to vote out the board could result in the association spending residents' money on the lawsuit, he said.
Resident Mike Marquez, who favors getting rid of the association's directors, contends that Key Largo Trailer Village has a park association, not a homeowner's association. He said he is willing to pay an annual fee to use the neighborhood parks, but he doesn't want his property subject to an association that could enforce deed restrictions.
"They want to be able to tell us what to do," Marquez said.
Steve Cacciatore, the association's president, did not attend the meeting and said it had no legal bearing.
"We just want this to be a nice neighborhood, and we want people to pay their dues," Cacciatore said.
He said the association has no interest in dictating how a homeowner decorates or designs their homes. A home's color or type of driveway will not concern the association, he said.
The pending lawsuit was filed by Miami attorney Rey Castellanos, who recently purchased a home in the Trailer Village.
Castellanos, who specializes in real estate law, said the purpose of the association is to limit the liability of any one homeowner and to have an even contribution to the association's insurance. If someone is injured at one of the neighborhood parks, they could sue the association. Any awarded damages would likely be split over the homeowners.