Gateway Sun

The emergency meeting called by the Silverlakes HOA board for July 31 at 2:30pm to adopt a new fishing rule for the community has changed dates and times.

The fishing rule topic will now be addressed at the HOA’s regular board meeting on August 16 at 6:00pm at the community’s clubhouse. After which, the “regular Board of Directors meeting will follow.”

According to an email sent out by the HOA earlier this week: “The Association is having a special meeting for adopting a new fishing rule, which could lead to imposing fines on violators. Trespassing on private property is a serious matter and presents liability and security issues for our community and we expect all residents to respect the property rights of their neighbors.”

Residents of Silverlakes and other nearby communities angrily criticized the Silverlakes HOA board on social media for suggesting that people should call 911 in the event somebody was fishing somewhere they shouldn’t be.

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The Silverlakes HOA board is right. Trespassing is indeed a serious matter.

So serious that there’s a law against it.

Florida Statute 810.08(1) states: Whoever, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters or remains in any structure or conveyance, or, having been authorized, licensed, or invited, is warned by the owner or lessee of the premises, or by a person authorized by the owner or lessee, to depart and refuses to do so, commits the offense of trespass in a structure or conveyance.

It’s a second degree misdemeanor.

So the Silverlakes HOA board is going to do what, exactly?

Is the HOA going to take action and enforce Florida law by “imposing fines on violators”?

The way I interpreted the email they sent out, they seem to think they’re allowed to do that.

It’s also important to note that the ponds in Silverlakes don’t even belong to the HOA. They belong to the Gateway Services Community Development District.

And even if the person who is fishing is standing in someone’s back yard while they fish, the back yard is private property that belongs to the homeowner — not the HOA.

Wouldn’t the homeowner or current resident have to be the one to press charges for trespassing? Or is the HOA wanting to give themselves the authority to press charges on your behalf? Or do they want to be able to enforce the Florida statute by fining trespassers themselves?

The HOA board’s intentions need to be clarified here.

And more importantly, the HOA board needs to contact a lawyer and find out what their options are before they go trying to create any “fishing rules”. Because in my opinion they don’t understand what they’re getting themselves in to.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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