KEY LARGO -- A local circuit judge last week voided the election of a trailer park's new board of directors and ordered a new special meeting during an emergency hearing.
In July, a group of Key Largo Trailer Village residents who were upset they were being required to join a homeowner's association met and voted to oust the park's board of directors and elect new ones.
Having a homeowner's association, the residents feared, would open them up to potential liabilities, such as liens against their properties for failing to follow association rules.
Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ruled last week the residents of the mile marker 102, bayside, trailer park need to call for another vote, this time organized by the previous board of directors.
According to Michael Healy, the attorney who represents the upset residents, Garcia said a majority of homeowners in the park must vote to eliminate the board of directors, even though the park's bylaws only call for majority of the members present at a meeting. Healy said Garcia, citing Florida statutes, has raised the bar.
The upset residents must now convince their neighbors inside the 300-plus parcel park to vote out the board. Healy the magic number for his clients is around 180. But even without those numbers, their effort could still be successful, he said.
"[Garcia] can see there are people in the neighborhood that don't want a homeowner's association," Healy said. "He can see the staunch opposition from the residents."
This could help when Garcia rules on a pending lawsuit filed by the board requiring residents to join the homeowner's association.
Healy said his clients' goal was to gain control of the board and drop the lawsuit.
"We need a list of residents," Healy said. "We believe more than half of the residents want the lawsuit dismissed."
Healy acknowledged that getting a majority vote at a meeting could be difficult as many of the park's residents live on the mainland and treat their lot as a vacation or weekend home.
The Free Press was unable to speak with the board's attorney, Rey Castellanos, who is also a park resident. Previously, Castellanos has contended the homeowner's association would provide added protection for members of the community and will not require them to paint their homes a certain color or build a certain way.
A meeting for the new vote has not been scheduled yet, but is expected before Thanksgiving.