Nearing Buildout, Homeowners Take Control Of Southport

GEOFF SPILLANE/ENTERPRISE - Many of the units currently under construction at Southport have already been sold.GEOFF SPILLANE/ENTERPRISE - Dan Riley is president of the Southport Board of Governors.

With well over 1,000 residents, Southport in Mashpee now has a population larger than Woods Hole or New Seabury, and continues to evolve into a powerful and influential neighborhood in the town’s political and economic landscape.

Late last year, the sale of the 563rd of 750 planned units at the active, adult retirement community signaled a major milestone for the complex and its residents. The sale triggered a clause in the master deed that dictates once 75 percent of the units were sold, leadership of the community would transfer from developer Ronald S. Bonvie to an elected board of governors.

An election was held in January and 14 candidates ran for five seats on the board.

At that point, Southport became home to the largest self-governed condominium homeowners association on Cape Cod.

On June 9, Southport Board of Governors president Daniel V. Riley discussed the new governance structure and some of the initiatives the board is already undertaking.

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Other members of the board include treasurer David Greenfield, clerk Adrienne Guptill, and members Edward H. Larkin and Arthur R. Wagman.

According to Mr. Riley, one of the first things the new board did was to retain the services of Mr. Bonvie as Southport’s property manager.

“Ron’s the man who literally knows where everything is buried around here. He will do his best to make sure the place is operated efficiently and properly because he has a vested interest,” Mr. Riley said, adding that a property management committee has also been formed to evaluate options for a transition once Mr. Bonvie’s Southport development projects are completed.

With approximately 150 more units to be built and sold, Mr. Bonvie will not be riding off into the sunset at any time soon.

“The completion of development will take at least another two years. The board has been terrific to work with, and it has taken a lot of pressure off me,” Mr. Bonvie said.

He also said that sales and interest in Southport have been “on fire” recently, and that last weekend there were 60 tours of model homes, and 3,300 hits on the website. Much of the recent boost in foot and online traffic Mr. Bonvie attributes to a new television advertising campaign featuring Boston media celebrities Susan Wornick, Dan Rea, Loren Owens, and Wally Brine.

The board of governors has also commissioned an engineering study to determine what the condition of the Southport physical properties, now nearly 15 years old, are and what improvements and repairs must be made.

The study will include an analysis of the Southport wastewater treatment facility, building roofs, amenities, and condition of roads throughout the sprawling community.

“This is a typical step in the transition process, and will help us determine whether our cash reserves are strong enough,” Mr. Riley said, noting that Southport has a strong finance committee, and a very good track record of keeping condominium fees flat.

Mr. Riley also indicated that another priority, as development of new units nears completion, is to make sure that the gated community is well secured around its perimeters on Route 151, Old Barnstable Road, Algonquin Avenue, and Payamps Road.

One thing that will have not changed during the transition to self-governance is the deep commitment Southport residents have to be involved in the community.

“We are blessed with a diverse and talented community, including members of the greatest generation and the kids of the greatest generation. We are also voters, and do a lot of volunteer work at the polls, the library, the senior center, St. Vincent de Paul, and the town’s public schools,” Mr. Riley said.

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