Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Idyllic Twin Lakes neighborhood copes with questions

VALRICO — The residents of Twin Lakes enjoy a 15-acre park, fish-stocked lakes, private tennis courts and a community swimming pool.

Driveways with basketball hoops separate manicured lawns. Drivers slow down for morning joggers, kids riding their bikes and ducks waddling about in packs. Mothers bring their toddlers to Zeina Park, near the entrance and shaded by giant trees.

The idyllic subdivision existed largely in suburban anonymity until a Sept. 26 shooting shattered the peace, leaving veteran David James dead, neighbor Trevor Dooley facing a manslaughter charge and a community reeling with questions about Twin Lakes.

Here are some answers:

What was the dispute that led to David James' shooting?

David James was playing basketball with his 8-year-old daughter when a skateboarder showed up and asked whether he could share the court. James said yes, but Trevor Dooley, who lived across the street, came outside and told the skateboarder he had to leave.

Dooley pointed out a sign at the edge of the court that says trespassers, including skateboarders, are prohibited. James questioned Dooley about a gun he had in his pants, and the two got into a physical confrontation. The gun fired, killing James and leaving the neighborhood in shock.

Why do the kids skateboard on the basketball court if it's not allowed?

Twin Lakes kids who regularly skateboard in the community say there's nowhere else for them to go. One of the skaters, 16-year-old Bill Myers, has been working on a petition to build a skate park at Twin Lakes since before James died. Although some neighbors have voiced support, they said the community's homeowners association board hasn't embraced the idea.

Board president David Campbell noted in an e-mail that the board has not been presented with an official petition.

"We run very open meetings and welcome all our residents to participate," Campbell wrote. "I personally do not feel there are any tensions between the HOA and the residents on this matter and as a community we are moving on."

What's the purpose of an HOA?

Homeowners associations maintain and improve the appearance of common areas in subdivisions and enforce rules residents agree to abide by when moving into the subdivision. Twin Lakes has 45 rules, including keeping homes a neutral color and no parking on the grass.

What are typical problems associated with an HOA?

Residents know when they move into an HOA-run community that someone else will make decisions about their own home. They agree to sacrifice a few freedoms in exchange for a nice place to live. Wanda Sloan, Hillsborough County's neighborhood relations coordinator, said most people don't have time to be involved in their HOA. This lack of broad involvement can often result in board members with personal agendas and rebel residents, Sloan said.

Campbell, who is serving his fifth term as Twin Lakes' HOA president, said he's disappointed that more people don't come to the meetings with concerns.

How can an HOA-run community overcome disagreements?

Sloan said her office works directly with HOAs to provide improvement project grants, resolve disputes and offer training to help select board members. Sloan has seen ugly disagreements turn around when neighbors work collectively on something.

"When neighbors get together for something like a tree-planting project, and they really get to know each other, they can see one another's point of view, and at least agree to disagree," she said.

Campbell highlighted the HOA's accomplishments, including improvements to Zeina Park and playground areas.

Sarah Whitman can be reached at (813) 661-2439 or swhitman@sptimes.com. Kim Wilmath can be reached at (813) 661-2446. Times staff writer Nandini Jayakrishna contributed to this story.

Idyllic Twin Lakes neighborhood copes with questions 11/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 18, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Forecast: Rain, heat prevails for Tampa Bay through weekend as tropics gear up

    Weather

    The summertime pattern of mid- to late-day showers and scorching temperatures will persist across Tampa Bay on Friday and throughout the weekend.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Is Bucs kicker Nick Folk a significant upgrade over Roberto Aguayo?

    Bucs

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter made it clear.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk is entering his 11th NFL season. He spent three seasons with the Cowboys and seven with the Jets. [LOREN ELLIOTT  |  Times]
  3. Florida education news: Student discipline, online learning, solar eclipse glasses and more

    Blogs

    STUDENT DISCIPLINE: Everyone wants their child to behave in school. But sometimes defining what that means causes dissention. That was the case this week at a Pasco County elementary school, which A Pasco County elementary school has adopted a new behavior model that encourages cooperation and responsibility. Some parents are upset that it also seems to support giving in to peer pressure.

  4. Pinellas wants to see impact of tourism bucks spent on big events

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– Pinellas County relies on more than just beaches to attract visitors. County government also spends millions to help sponsor big-name events to draw even more tourists.

    The Pinellas County Tourist Development Council awareded up to $250,000 to help sponsor the 2018 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Zephyrhills begins residential lien forgiveness program

    Local Government

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A new program is under way to forgive liens on certain residential properties in the city to combat blight, encourage improvements to properties and spur home ownership.

    City Manager Steve Spina said after the council’s unanimous vote, the new lien forgiveness program is up and running.