Friday, September 22, 2017

Venice: Concert in the Park with Rick Andre

Concert tonight at Centennial Park on the Island of Venice. 7p-9p

Bring a chair or blanket and enjoy the performance at the Gazebo in Centennial Park, Downtown Venice.

Check it out!
Ali





Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate
REALTOR®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
19503 S West Villages Pkwy
Stes A2 & A11 (by Appt)
Venice, Florida 34293
Office: 941-460-3179


Thursday, September 21, 2017

West Villages: New Homes Fared Better During Irma

Wall Street Journal Article About Hurricanes and New Building Codes


Homes Built to Stricter Standards Fared Better in Storm
Florida owners benefit from homes built to more-stringent codes: ‘Tree branches bounced off of our roof. But the house is fine.’
By Laura Kusisto and  Arian Campo-Flores

When Hurricane Wilma pummeled Florida in 2005, it nearly ripped the roof from Stephany and Michael Carr’s house in Naples, which was built before a 2002 building code took effect statewide.

After the storm, the couple retrofitted their house to comply with the new code. They added a standing seam metal roof with continuous panels connected by strong fasteners. And they invested in hurricane impact-resistant windows and doors.

The upgraded home withstood Hurricane Irma without issue.
“It looks like a bomb destroyed our trees and yard,” said Ms. Carr, a 58-year-old lawyer. “Tree branches bounced off of our roof. But the house is fine.”

Ms. Carr credits the more-stringent building code with saving her home and their lives. “For anyone who doubts these codes, I invite them to sit in a pre-code structure in a Category 3 storm or higher,” she said.

As homeowners in Florida begin to take stock of the damage from Irma, one pattern is beginning to emerge: homes that were built to the stricter building codes seem to have fared better.
“The feedback we’re hearing is positive,” said Rusty Payton, chief executive of the Florida Home Builders Association. “We’re all interested and there will be a deep dive. It appears that it did its job.”

Bill Wheat, executive vice president and chief financial officer at home-building giant D.R. Horton Inc., said his company’s early assessments “indicate that the more recent building standards post-Andrew over the last 20 years have held up relatively well.”

The evidence so far is preliminary. Insurance companies, home builders, city and county officials and local resiliency experts say they are still conducting assessments of how homes and commercial buildings built to different standards held up during Irma. Homes in the Florida Keys, for example, tend to be older and were the most badly damaged areas from the storm, but until a few days ago the Keys were inaccessible to researchers.

Julie Rochman, chief executive of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, a research organization backed by insurers, said it is too early to say definitively what role the building code played in minimizing destruction during Irma. But she said early feedback from a research team that put in place instrumentation throughout southern Florida during the storm is encouraging.
One of the team’s meteorologists who toured some of the affected areas was “very pleasantly surprised,” Ms. Rochman said. “It looks like the building codes have proved themselves, that the new construction has done well.”

Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president and chief executive of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, said she has noticed the roofs of older homes look like checkerboards with shingles missing. Flying shingles are a larger concern because they can hit people and property and cause additional damage.

Research led by Kevin Simmons, a professor at Austin College, looking at insured-loss data from 2001 to 2010 found that the building code reduced windstorm losses by up to 72% and that there were $6 in losses saved for every $1 of additional construction costs. The paper is expected to be published shortly in the Land Economics journal.


Tom Lykos, a local builder in the Naples area, said his two-story house, which was finished in 2003 and meets the new more stringent standards, came away with nary a scratch from Irma.

Mr. Lykos, who is about 5 miles from the water, said at one point the wind was enough to topple a large oak tree outside his door.

“I know stuff was bouncing off the house and my house suffered no damage whatsoever. The newer construction really stood up to the winds,” he said.

Others were less lucky, he said. A client of Mr. Lykos whose home was built in the 1990s to less stringent standards sustained severe damage both from wind and flooding, though Mr. Lykos said the home is also closer to the ocean. He said many older homes took on several inches of water but newer homes, which are built further above sea level, didn’t.

Florida has one of the strongest building codes in the country. Passed statewide in 2002 after Miami-Dade County beefed up regulations in the wake of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the new rules required newly built homes to have stronger fasteners that prevent their roofs from blowing off, nails instead of staples and impact-resistant windows in certain areas, which manufacturers sometimes check by firing pieces of plywood out of cannons at them.

Philippe Houdard, a resident of Miami’s Brickell financial district who rode out Irma in his 16th-floor condo in a tower built after the new code took effect, said he felt secure throughout the storm.

“At no point were the windows rattling,” he said. “I didn’t feel vulnerable.”

The downside to the new code is cost. Builders estimate that regulatory compliance can add as much as 45% to the price of a home in some parts of Florida, compared with about 25% nationally.

Florida passed a bill this spring that gives the Florida Building Commission flexibility to evaluate whether or not to make code changes to keep up with technological advancement and removed a requirement that it adopt International Code Council standards every three years.

Critics say it will gradually weaken the standards that just helped protect swaths of the state from a hurricane.

Mr. Payton of the Florida Home Builders Association said the change would simplify bureaucracy and help save home buyers money, but added that, “We don’t want to build houses that blow down.”

The change was opposed by Craig Fugate, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the Obama administration, who said that 25 years after Hurricane Andrew, the state had forgotten lessons learned and was once again letting building-code standards lapse.
“The longer you go between hurricanes the more people forget how bad it was and start thinking maybe it was an off year and we can start saving a lot of money if we don’t build to these codes,” he said.


Appeared in the September 18, 2017, WSJ print edition as 'Newer Homes Hold Up After Irma.'


On a personal note, my family and I weathered the storm in our new home in West Villages without incident. My parents and neighbors sought refuge with us as well. Then with our one year anniversary of moving in coming up, we had a full home inspection done on Wednesday (9/20). It passed with flying colors, and the inspector said there wasn't even a single cracked roof tile.  That is a lot of peace of mind right there!

Thanks for reading!
Ali


Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate
REALTOR®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
19503 S West Villages Pkwy
Stes A2 & A11 (by Appt)
Venice, Florida 34293
Office: 941-460-3179

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

West Villages: Braves Complex Gets Final Approval




The Atlanta Business Chronicle and other news sources are now reporting confirmation that the "Atlanta Braves have received final approval for their planned new spring training complex near Sarasota, Fla.

The North Port Commission voted Tuesday to approve the complex, now estimated to cost $100 million.

The Braves expect to begin play there in 2019. The team extended its 20-year lease in Orlando by a year to include spring training in 2018.

The Braves wanted a new spring training facility because so many of the other teams that play in Florida’s Grapefruit League have moved to either the east or west coast of Florida. Only the Detroit Tigers, who play in Lakeland, remained in Central Florida. That meant long bus rides for spring road games, as well as during the season for minor league players.

The stadium will hold up to 8,000 people and will include luxury suites, six full and two half practice fields, batting cages and pitching mounds. The Braves will operate the facility year-round, for spring training and for a club baseball academy.

The state of Florida will contribute $20 million in funding for the project. Sarasota County will pay $21 million from its tourist development tax.

The Braves will make annual payments toward stadium maintenance of $5.625 million."

From https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2017/09/20/braves-get-final-ok-for-new-spring-training.html







Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate
REALTOR®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
19503 S West Villages Pkwy
Stes A2 & A11 (by Appt)
Venice, Florida 34293
Office: 941-460-3179
Our Sarasota National Website

Thanks for reading!
Ali






Sunday, September 3, 2017

West Villages Florida Area News: Labor Day Chicken BBQ Bash in Venice

A Labor Day Chicken BBQ Bash to be held on Monday, September 4th, 2p - 4p at the American Legion, located at 1770 E Venice Avenue. The event is sponsored by the Sons of the American Legion, and local favorite band Bandana will play from 4p - 7p. Entry into the event is $12 for food and music, and $5 for music only. 

My whole family LOVES Bandana, particularly my special needs sister (who thinks she is part of the band - lol). They are lots of fun, great musicians, and nice people. They have been especially kind to my sister at past events. Cannot say enough good things about them.


Seriously, no better way to check them out than with some fantastic BBQ!!!Ali :)






Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate
REALTOR®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
19503 S West Villages Pkwy
Stes A2 & A11 (by Appt)
Venice, Florida 34293
Office: 941-460-3179
Our Sarasota National Website

Thanks for reading and hope to see you there!
Ali

Saturday, September 2, 2017

WEST VILLAGES IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT NOTICE OF SPECIAL BOARD MEETING

Sarasota Herald-Tribune
9/1/2017
Miscellaneous Notices

WEST VILLAGES
IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
NOTICE OF SPECIAL BOARD MEETING

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Board of Supervisors of the West Villages Improvement District will hold a Special Board Meeting on September 12, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. in Room 244 of the City of North Port located at 4970 City Hall Boulevard, North Port, Florida 34286.

The purpose of the Special Board Meeting is to discuss matters relating to the Spring Training Baseball Facilities Complex and to conduct any business properly coming before the Board. The meeting is open to the public and will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Florida law. A copy of the Agenda for this meeting may be obtained from the District's website or by contacting the District Manager at
(561) 630-4922 and/or
toll-free at 1-877-737-4922.

From time to time one or more Supervisors may participate by telephone; therefore, a speaker telephone will be present at the meeting location so that Supervisors may be fully informed of the discussions taking place. The Special Board Meeting may be continued as found necessary to a time and date specified on the record.

If any person decides to appeal any decision made with respect to any matter considered at this Special Board Meeting, such person will need a record of the proceedings and such person may need to insure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made at his or her own expense and which record includes the testimony and evidence on which the appeal is based.

In accordance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations or an interpreter to participate at this meeting should contact the District Manager at (561) 630-4922 and/or toll free 1-877-737-4922 at least seven (7) days prior to the date of the meeting.

Meetings may be cancelled from time to time without advertised notice.

WEST VILLAGES IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
www.westvillagesid.org
PUBLISH: SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE 09/01/17




Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate
REALTOR®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
19503 S West Villages Pkwy
Stes A2 & A11 (by Appt)
Venice, Florida 34293
Office: 941-460-3179
Our Sarasota National Website

Thanks for reading and hope to see you there!
Ali


West Villages News: State Approves Funding for Braves Spring Training Complex September 1st, 2017

From Sarasota County News Page on 9/1/17

SARASOTA COUNTY - The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on Thursday conditionally approved $20 million in funding for the new Atlanta Braves spring training complex being developed in West Villages in North Port. Earlier this summer, The West Villages Improvement District, along with Sarasota County, the City of North Port and the Atlanta Braves, filed the grant application seeking funding to help with facility construction costs. This is the final piece of funding necessary to move the project forward. "We are pleased to have the state join the partnership of the city, county, West Villages Improvement District, Mattamy Homes and the Atlanta Braves to make this a reality," said West Villages Improvement District Chairman Martin Black, AICP, ICMA-CM. "We are excited to be building a state-of-the-art spring training facility in this beautiful community," said John Schuerholz, Atlanta Braves Vice Chairman. "We have truly found some incredible partners in Sarasota County, West Villages and the City of North Port, and we look forward to training and playing there for many years to come."

The city and county commissions and West Villages Improvement District will have final reviews scheduled for their respective meetings on Sept. 12. If all of these elected boards approve the final agreements on that date, the project's full funding will be committed and construction can start to meet the 2019 spring training season. "We are thankful for the state's positive response to the Braves spring training project and its benefits to our region," said Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer. "This is an important milestone that will allow the construction to move forward with the support of the elective bodies. We will continue to work with the team, West Villages, the City of North Port, state officials and the rest of the community as we prepare the necessary agreements to bring the Braves to Sarasota County."

MEDIA CONTACTS: Sarasota County Media Relations news@scgov.net, 941-861-NEWS (6397)
(Sarasota County prohibits discrimination in all services, programs or activities. View the complete policy at www.scgov.net/ADA/Pages/default.aspx.)

Again, from Sarasota County News Page on 9/1/17


Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate
REALTOR®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
19503 S West Villages Pkwy
Stes A2 & A11 (by Appt)
Venice, Florida 34293
Office: 941-460-3179
Our Sarasota National Website

Thanks for reading!
Ali

Thursday, August 31, 2017

West Villages: Getting Anxious for Braves Stadium to Break Ground

From https://tomahawktake.com/2017/08/26/atlanta-braves-still-not-started-construction-florida/

Atlanta Braves still have not started construction in Florida

by Alan Carpenter

Posted 8/26/2017

There is still time, but it’s getting tight.  Still two more hurdles to leap before the new Spring training digs can start being… dug.

At least the Atlanta Braves know where they will be Wintering come February:  the facilities at the Walt Disney World/ESPN Sports Complex.  It’s where they’ve been for 20 years.

That lease has been extended by one year through the 2018 season, so at least there’s no angst about what happens then.
It’s the 2019 season that is getting more interesting (probably for some on-field reasons, too, but that’s another story entirely).

In short, the city of North Port, the Braves, and the developers are in a holding pattern.  They are waiting for the bureaucratic wheels to turn with the State of Florida:

For the complex to open in February 2019, however, design and construction work will need to commence shortly. And while there’s no deadline for the state to respond to the West Villages application for $20 million in funding, officials usually respond in a timely manner.
It was three months ago when we reported that the parties were “two to three weeks” away from submitting their grant funding application to the State.  2 to 3 weeks after that, we got wind of the economic impact study that was to be submitted as part of that application.

Since then… nothing.


Recent History


It was on November 9, 2015 that the Nationals and Astros held a ground-breaking ceremony for their joint Spring Training complex in West Palm Beach.  Despite the size of this facility and the extra cost ($144 million) involved, they opened on time – barely – on February 28, 2017.

Even so, there were still several ‘finishing touches’ that didn’t quite get done in time.

So if that date represents a time bogey of sorts, the Braves now have about 11 weeks before the construction needs to begin.

Once the State does it’s part, there’s still one more approval needed… but from 3 different local governing bodies:  the city of North Port, the West Villages development board, and Sarasota County.

While all parties are primed to do so, it will still take time to get those boards together to do the public’s business.

But the clock is ticking.

Article copied from /https://tomahawktake.com/2017/08/26/atlanta-braves-still-not-started-construction-florida/. Check out the website for more Atlanta Braves commentary and stats.

Posted by Ali Johnston of West Villages Realty. Check out area homes at http://www.westvillageshome.com/




Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate
REALTOR®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
19503 S West Villages Pkwy
Stes A2 & A11 (by Appt)
Venice, Florida 34293
Office: 941-460-3179


Thanks for reading!
Ali