President’s Corner – October 2023 – Viera Governance

This month’s President’s Corner was inspired by some comments and questions I have heard over the last few weeks relating to how Viera is governed. I do spend quite a bit of time on this subject in my Viera Resident Orientation class because it can be confusing to know who does what. So, let’s see if I can’t unravel some of the mystery. Here is a quick summary version of what everyone who lives in Viera needs to know about how Viera is governed:

Brevard County
Viera is not incorporated. We are NOT a city or a town. We are a DRI or Development of Regional Impact and we do have a boundary (map below). Therefore, Brevard County is our “government”. They provide general services government services such as maintenance of public roadways, solid waste collection, public health and safety, etc. They also own and operate Viera Regional Park and the Viera Wetlands.

Master HOAs
There are two Master Homeowners’ Associations in Viera. Viera East Community Association, Inc. (VECA) and Central Viera Community Association, Inc. (CVCA). As you might guess, VECA is the master HOA for the east side of I95 and CVCA is the master HOA for everything west of I95. These master HOAs do many of the things that you might think a city/town would do. They both own, manage, and maintain regional parks, they do the right-of-way and median landscaping and irrigation maintenance on the collector and arterial roadways throughout Viera, they perform the architectural review and approval process for most of the neighborhoods under their purview and have common areas to maintain. For CVCA, they also have some stormwater management duties (mostly north of Wickham Road).

Viera has two Community Development Districts within its boundary. CDDs are NOT homeowners’ associations. They are governmental entities – political subdivisions of the State of Florida, created by the Florida Legislature (Florida Statute, Chapter 190), for a specific purpose in a specific area. We have the Viera East Community Development District and the Heritage Isle Community Development District here in Viera. CDDs allow for a more focused and elevated level of service in its area and is a perpetual entity to operate and maintain infrastructure. However, because it is a governmental entity, it is also subject to the same rules/laws as cities and counties are such as Florida’s open meeting and public records laws and financial disclosure laws, etc. CDDs basically operate like a small city/town/village. They are also tax exempt so they can save on the purchase of goods and services and pass those savings on to its residents.

Stewardship District
We also have the Viera Stewardship District (VSD), which is another kind of special district. The legislative authority for this kind of district falls under Chapter 189, Florida Statutes as well as the Special Act of the Florida Legislature that created it. Because it is a special district, the VSD is still a governmental entity similar to a CDD, but with some differences in what it does and its size. CDDs are statutorily limited in size and population whereas Stewardship Districts can be larger. The VSD is 13,442 acres and is largely an environmental management district, especially within Addison Village. So, it does stormwater management, aquatic maintenance, street lighting, Preferred Cover Type (PCT) management (that is our required tree canopy), environmental conservation, it manages the Viera Wilderness Park, and is responsible for the compliance and monitoring of the Habitat Management Plan. For Village 2 areas, the VSD’s responsibility has expanded and now it is responsible for building certain roads and infrastructure.

District/Neighborhood HOAs
This is the most common type of governing body in Viera. Everyone in Viera lives in at least two HOAs. There could be more in your particular neighborhood, but, everyone belongs to at least two – a master HOA and their district/neighborhood HOA. Just a point of trivia information, if you live in the Central Viera PUD (Planned Unit Development) you live in a District Association. If you live in the West Viera PUD/VSD area, then you live in a Neighborhood Association. So, the terminology is a bit different between the two PUDs but they are the same thing.

An HOA is a private, not-for-profit corporation created by a real estate developer. Generally, this will mostly be The Viera Company (never Viera Builders). If you live in a community with a third-party developer like Lennar or Pulte, they are your real estate developer. But, again, mostly throughout Viera it is The Viera Company. An HOA could be composed of one or more neighborhood (examples of this are the Solerno District Association, Inc. and the Tavistock District Association, Inc.) or it could be just a single neighborhood, which is the most common kind of HOA. Your HOA is responsible for the enforcement of your Declaration of Covenants and governing documents and the maintenance and operations of their common areas. Common areas could include roads, parks, pools, ponds, landscaping, trails, mail kiosks, etc. – anything the HOA owns or is responsible for.  There is quite a bit I can talk about when it comes to HOAs in Viera and how they operate, but, I think I will leave that for a future President’s Corner post.

Development of Regional Impact
While this is not a form of government, it is what we are and therefore we have very distinct boundaries for our DRI, which means Viera as a community has very distinct boundaries. Nothing drives me more crazy than when people argue with me that Costco is not in Viera. Yes it most certainly is. Below is a map of the Viera DRI. The west side of Viera is outlined in red and the east side is outlined in green. BTW, there is no legal entity called “Viera West”. It is a geographic description of the area west of I95, but Viera West is not a real entity from a governance standpoint. The only governance body that encompasses that area is CVCA.  The boundaries of the DRI are the 20,646 acres that make up Viera.  We will never get any smaller or any bigger.  We will ALWAYS be 20,646 acres.

I hope these summaries have been helpful. If you ever have any desire to dig deeper, you can always attend my orientation as we do get into quite a but more detail. So, until next time, please remember … “Government is best which is closest to the people.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

Eva M. Rey, President
Central Viera Community Association, Inc.