HOA Presidents moves forward with road project despite community outcry

Residents forced to park more than a mile away

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Despite dozens of complaints from residents at Sabalwood at River Ridge in New Port Richey, residents say the HOA President Brian Tortarelli will move forward with a road resealing project.

“There is no reason to postpone this,” Tortarelli said. “The only thing that changes is the price, or the weather there are no other options.”

The resealing project has been in the works for several weeks. Tortarelli said the community has been saving for it for more than a decade. Not a single resident ABC Action News spoke to is against the project.

“We want to do it but more thinking needs to be involved it needs to be postponed,” Ashley Zenick said. 

Once the resealing project begins Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. no vehicles, except for law enforcement and emergency personnel will be allowed in our out. There are several options for residents to park. A CVS and River Ridge Country Club agreed to let a limited number of vehicles us their parking spots. Both options are a mile away from peoples homes in the Sabalwood neighborhood.

Tortarelli said he offered residents the option to stay at a hotel during the resealing project.

“They can email me, because again we want a paper trail, we will reimburse you $150 for a hotel night if they want to go tonight and tomorrow that is fine, tomorrow, that is fine,” Tortarelli said.

People we spoke to said they were never offered hotel rooms during the project.

When we pressed Tortarelli to show us the e-mail showing the hotel offer he pointed to the fine print in one of his e-mails that said, “any resident that may need help with parking ideas or may need reasonable assistant during this time is encouraged to contact our management company.”

ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska asked where the hotel offer was. Tortarelli replied that the sentence that mentioned “reasonable assistance” was the offer for residents.

Residents said that is why they have “no clue” what is going on.

“There are 60 available parking spaces for 129 families,” Mary Paul said. “So, when I come home tomorrow I have no idea where I'm going to be able to park my car and how far I am going to walk when I get home. People that come home late are going to have to walk alone late at night.”

Tortarelli said the two golf carts will shuttle people back and forth to their cars from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wed. and from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Thursday.

The HOA tried to get permits from Pasco County to allow residents to park on Town Center Road. Tortarelli showed us where the permits were purchased and the county approved. But, early this morning the county contacted Tortarelli to let him know the permits had to be revoked because they were made in error. The county tells ABC Action News that even though the permits were revoked, the County will not be enforcing the revocation. Pasco County wants neighbors to use caution parking along the road because it is a high traffic area. 

“You have a lot of senior citizens in here that aren't able to walk long distances,” Paul said. “There are a lot of issues involved…the HOA decided to just close out the whole neighborhood at one time.”

Tortarelli said residents will have to deal with it.

“It’s like ripping off a band-aid,” he said. “I challenge you are anyone to come up with a better plan we've exhausted all of our options.”

Late Tuesday, County Commissioner Mike Wells, who stressed this was a civil matter and he was not involved politically, told us that he did have a conversation with the school board and that if the project was delayed 6 weeks when school let out people could park their cars there to ease the inconvenience caused by the project.

We asked Tortarelli about that option and are waiting to hear back.

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