Neighborhood Profile: Lake Jovita, Dade City

DADE CITY

The houses sit on rolling hills that envelop two golf courses.

In the Lake Jovita gated community in Dade City, that's exactly what you'll find — one of the rare places in the Tampa Bay area where the land isn't as flat as a pancake. And the people who live there love it.

"It has some of the highest elevations in Florida," said Donna Clark, director of sales and marketing for the community.

While the area isn't Pikes Peak, the elevations reach 230 feet and give some lucky homeowners expansive views of the 165-acre lake for which the community is named.

"It's like being in north Georgia," Clark said. "You can see for miles from some of the homes."

Most of the homes range in price from $200,000 to $400,000, with the most expensive on 5 to 7 acres, Clark said. There are 630 completed homes, and about 150 lots are still available.

The development, which sits next to and wraps behind Saint Leo University, a Catholic liberal arts college with about 2,000 students on campus, was a perfect fit for Dade City residents and lifetime educators Tom and Jean Weightman, who moved there in 2005.

Tom Weightman, who was superintendent of Pasco County schools from 1974 to 1996, loves the place because he's a golfer. The houses were designed around the two courses, not the other way around, he said.

And they are hilly. The par-5 11th hole has a 94-foot drop from tee to green, the largest natural elevation change of any course in the state, Lake Jovita brochures boast.

And the courses, which are open to the public, aren't just about golfing.

"I meet a lot of people through the men's golf association. If you moved here and didn't know anybody, you can go golfing," he said.

Women get to know each other on the golf course, too. Jean, a former teacher and member of the Pasco County School Board, said the women's clubs do a lot of charitable work, raising money for families in need, veterans and soldiers.

If you're not into golf, there are also tennis courts and a swimming pool available to members of the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club, who pay monthly dues — anywhere from $40 to a few hundred dollars, depending on options — to join.

When Lake Jovita was first being developed in 1999, the Weightmans had their eye on it.

"It's like moving to a new place … but I can still be with my friends and family. I feel really blessed," Jean said.

Most of the residents are between the ages of 55 and 70, according to Clark. Many are empty nesters; some are retired from up North. But that doesn't mean there aren't any children around.

"A lot of retired people live here, but it's not a retirement community," Tom said. "As I get old, I don't want to just see old people. I want to see kids."

Patti Ewald can be reached at pewald@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8746.

This article has been revised to reflect the following clarification: Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club monthly memberships range from $40 (single social) to $420 (family golf). There is also a $100 minimum monthly — $1,400 annual — food expenditure required. Initiation fees range from $100 (single social) to $5,000 (golf).

Jean and Tom Weightman

Their home: 3,700 square feet, four bedrooms (one used as a library) and three baths

When they bought: 2005

Current value (from

Zillow.com): $480,645

Why they love it: The home is filled with customized touches, such as nooks that are the perfect size for the art objects they contain. The Weightmans worked closely with the builder, Mark Alexander of Tarpon Springs.

Unusual features: The tray ceiling in the master bedroom is painted with clouds. Look closely and you can see a heart in a corner of the overhead mural.

They had an extra sink put into the guest bedroom, which is directly off the pool. It's reminiscent of the old dry sinks, but this one has running water. (There is also a guest bath attached.) The full-wall fireplace is anchored by bookcases, and customized windows at the top allow light while maintaining privacy.

The spacious pool area looks out over the south golf course.

Many corners inside the house, including the intersection of two walls near the shower in the master bath, have small shelves carved out of them, providing nooks for beautiful art objects.

Neighborhood Profile: Lake Jovita, Dade City 01/19/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 24, 2013 4:35pm]

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