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Restrain festive lights

© St. Petersburg Times
published November 29, 2002

SLACKERS, BEWARE: Those of us who left holiday lights up all year should think long and hard before buying a house in a deed-restricted community.

Many of them don't like too much holiday cheer.

Westchase limits seasonal lights from Thanksgiving through Jan. 10. After that, violators get a letter from the homeowners' association.

Michelle Kitts, community manager at Tampa Palms, says she doesn't believe her community has strict guidelines about holiday decorations, but if they stay up too long, a resident could be notified under the "unkempt appearance" clause.

"If there is someone who still has decorations up in the middle of January, then we will contact the resident to ask them to remove them," says Kitts, who has worked in the community for more than two years. "As long as I have been here that has not happened."

Arbor Greene takes a similar approach.

"If it's a Christmas-related thing and it's up in July, we'll probably notice somebody," says John Blakely, a board member of the Arbor Greene Homeowners Association. "Anything that goes up technically has to be approved by the association."

* * *

HERE THEY GROW: South Tampa-based Smith & Associates Realtors Inc. has acquired Apex Real Estate Inc., a brokerage firm that represents $18-million in new development in the Tampa area.

Before the deal, Smith had more than 75 properties under construction and several additional projects ready to go, says president Bob Glaser.

Some of them include the Park on Bayshore, a gated enclave of semi-attached homes; the Citilofts in Ybor City; town homes and condominiums at One Bayshore; the Ponce townhomes in Hyde Park; Lagomar, a gated waterfront community in Apollo Beach; Villas Delfin, a South Tampa gated community of custom homes by Dolphin Homes; and Joshua's Bend, 14 homes in Forest Hills.

* * *

OUTDOING THEMSELVES: Hannah-Bartoletta Homes is breaking its records in Tampa Palms. In the past 18 months, the company has sold 68 new homes worth nearly $43-million in Whitehall and Lancaster, says Charley Hannah, the company's co-founder.

In Lancaster alone, the company sold 31 new residences worth $15.3-million. That tops the Tampa Palms village of Windsor, which had been the fastest-selling community in the history of the company.

-- Write to Janet Zink in care of the St. Petersburg Times at 1000 N. Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602; or by e-mail, .

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