County could auction Westbury Park pool over delinquent taxes

gmartin@islandpacket.comJuly 29, 2012 

The community pool and gym at Bluffton's Westbury Park development could be sold at auction because the owner is behind on tax payments.

Plantation Properties of Hilton Head Island owes $13,567 in delinquent taxes, according to county records. Deputy county treasurer Troy Hodges confirmed that Beaufort County could post a levy -- a seizure to satisfy a tax debt -- on the property, and that the 2.95-acre parcel, named Regent Park, will be auctioned off Oct. 1 unless the debt is paid by then.

Property taxes were due Jan. 16, he said, and Plantation Properties would have received a delinquent notice April 1 and a follow-up letter from the county in early May.

Although Plantation Properties is listed as the owner on the tax document, its corresponding address on the form belongs to Property Administrators, a management business on Hilton Head.

Property Administrators president Donald Christy said he was unaware his business' address was on a notice about Plantation Properties' delinquent taxes.

"We have nothing to do with them," he said, adding that his company manages Westbury Park's property owners association. "I don't know why our address is on there."

An attempt Friday to contact Plantation Properties president James Richardson was unsuccessful.

A change in management has created uncertainty about who is responsible for paying the taxes, according to Mike Pope, president of the community's property owners association.

"It's like a high-stakes poker game -- someone has to blink first," Pope said.

He said he hopes the community can keep its pool, but recognized that the potential buyer may have other plans.

"Someone might want to keep the gym and pool but charge a $5 entry fee for them," he said. "I'd certainly hope not, but anything's possible."

The common area is also subject of a dispute between Plantation Properties and homeowners in the neighborhood.

Michelle Mancini, who says she has owned a house in Westbury Park since 2002, said homeowners have been paying higher taxes on the property than warranted.

"This is a bad situation for homeowners," she said. "If the developer had deeded the common-area property to the (property owners) association, county property taxes would have been assessed at a much lower ... rate, and homeowners would have paid tens of thousands of dollars less over the years."

Related content:

Westbury Park homeowners favor separate entrance for condo dwellers, Oct. 27, 2010

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