A History of the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions
Back in 1997, the VGHA Board of Directors set out to revise the existing 10 sets of Deed Restrictions for the 575 single family homes as they were about to expire by State law. There was more than one developer in Village Green and each developer had different Covenants and Deed Restrictions, but most were fairly identical. This revision was an attempt to consolidate the ten sections into one master agreement before they expired. One instrument that would be consistent with the current HOA laws at that time and would address the desires of the homeowners to maintain an upscale subdivision. The Board consolidated the language of the separate Covenants and Deed Restrictions into one uniform document. They incorporated a list of items that they thought would enhance the integrity and maintain the beauty of the subdivision. Lastly, they sought legal counsel to comply with the current Covenant reinstatement process and make sure they could enforce the covenants set forth.
 
The Deed Restrictions and Homeowner Joinders were approved and recorded with the Manatee County Clerk. After several years, questions arose about the validity of the Covenants and Restrictions. The Board during Steve Mapes presidency (2013) decided to conduct a broad historical review of the Deed Restrictions the 1997 Board compiled and filed with the County Clerk’s office. The Mapes Board did not find discrepancies within the Deed Restriction documents. The main discrepancy that ultimately lead to our revising the 1998 documents this year was that the documents were improperly witnessed and notarized and in effect, expired.
 
The 1997 Board developed a Joinder for each resident within each section. Volunteers visited each home asking the residents if they wanted to join Village Green Homeowner’s Association.  Those who wished to join signed a Joinder becoming a VGHA member and agreeing to follow the Deed Restrictions which follows the land, ie. each new owner is required to comply with the Covenants and Restrictions agreed to by the previous Homeowner. The volunteers compiled all the gathered signatures by neighborhood section. Here is where the 1999 Board appeared to have the misfortune of incorrect legal guidance about normal witnessing and notary procedures. The volunteers collected the signatures from the sufficient number of Homeowners. The volunteers presented the signed Joinders to a notary and certified they had witnessed each person's signature. The 1999 Board volunteers that gathered the signed Joinders inadvertently had their own signature witnessed and notarized and not the individual resident’s signatures.
 
A Joinder to a HOA Covenant Reinstatement requires two witnesses of each owner’s signing the Joinder and a Notary verifying the owners signing in their presence. A notary may not notarize a signature on a document if the person whose signature is being notarized is not in the presence of the notary public at the time the signature is signed.
 
The Mapes Board sought the advice of legal counsel to clarify the correct procedures for witnessing and notarizing Joinder documents and we now embark on a 2019 campaign to Reinstate Village Green Covenants and Deed Restrictions to maintain the quality and value of our subdivision.  
 
In essence, the Covenants and Deed Restrictions actually expired by State law circa 2000 since the reinstatement effort was accomplish incorrectly. Hence this coming years effort to Reinstate the New Covenants and Deed Restrictions.
 
The Reinstatement process will entail sending out the New Covenant/Restrictions to each single family Homeowner for their review and consideration of agreeing to them. The signing of the Joinder requires two witnesses and notarization at the time of signing. If there are multiple owners, all have to sign the Joiner in order to have it correctly recorded. If the home is owned in a Trust, the Trustee of the Trust must be the person signing the Joinder.
 
Ref: Florida Notary             Florida Statue 117.107  (9)