Ron Tagliabue (NEW)

I hope you all have a happy and safe new year.

With the influx of many new residents in The Farm, I thought it was a good idea to fill you all in on how it all began.

The Farm construction started in 2003. My wife and I purchased in 2005.

At this time, there were about 200 homes in the entire community. The large pool was just being readied to open. Carolina Farms Boulevard stopped at Wheatfield Drive, and Carolina Farms Boulevard and International Drive were both still dirt roads.

Ours was one of five homes that were the first to close on Corn Planters Lane.

The HOA was totally controlled by the builder, DR Horton.

A resident started a newsletter from her home which was hand-delivered to the residents. I had been thinking about starting a Neighborhood Watch and asked the writer of the newsletter to put a call out to see if anyone was interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch. I received responses from Scott Kavana, Summer Davis, and Chris Bellomo. This was the start of the first fully-homeowner committee in The Farm. The four of us started asking friends and neighbors to join, and eventually we made it to over 20 residents.

Scott and I took the lead and held monthly meetings, which turned into more of a sounding board for homeowners’ problems.

Scott and I would take the problems to the management company, mostly to no avail.

At the second annual homeowners meeting, Horton representative Pat Walsh stated they would be forming committees made up of homeowners.

Horton area vice president Doug Brown met with homeowners in the amenity center. Homeowners on hand were the Schwalds, Marquettes, Tagliabues, Connellys, Kavanas, Muzzrols, Kearsleys, Beaudrys, Brittons, Ryans, Fortmeiers, Grahams, Casterlines and Spizaks. If I forgot anyone, I’m sorry.

At this time, an advisory board, finance, grounds and communications committees were formed.

Most of the homeowners assembled at this meeting were on one or more committees at this time. These committees discovered problems that needed addressing, mostly pertaining to the reserve fund.

On April 7, 2009, a seven-page letter was composed by the advisory committee consisting of Lowell Marquette, Hope Sachwald, and Joe Barberino. Joe no longer lives in The Farm.

The letter was sent to Horton's main office in Fort Worth, Texas. The letter listed all the problems the committees found, financially and otherwise. Too many. I would have to print the entire seven pages to explain everything.

This was the start of us getting more say in our affairs. A debt of gratitude is deserved to Lowell Marquette and Hope Sachwald for getting the ball rolling.

Sometime afterward, Horton representative Doug Brown decided to put two homeowners on the HOA board. Doug held interviews and Lowell Marquette and I were appointed to the board.

This was at the time when home sales were on a downward spiral. Horton had stopped buying more property to complete The Farm. At this time no one knew for sure if The Farm would ever be completed.

Lowell and I had been asking Doug Brown to turn the board over to the homeowners. Eventually he agreed, but said Horton would still retain their rights as declarant.

At this time, Scott Kavana, Citi Ault, and Bob Canestra were added to the board.

The power the board was given was primarily the everyday running of the community. We could not change anything in the CC&Rs.

Our committees started to look through all our contracts and decided to put them out for bid. This was the start of a massive attempt to get our funds up to par.

It took a few years, but with new contracts being signed and our grounds committee starting to do some of the work we had always hired contractors to do, we were able to get back on track with our finances.

To this day we have been able to keep The Farm in excellent shape financially.

I plan to continue this series of information on how our community has progressed over the years.

In the weeks to come, I will explain how the Brookberry section of The Farm came into existence and why they have access to the beach club.

I am always looking for items of interest. Email to ronaldtagliabue@gmail.com.

Till next time.

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