Article Courtesy of The
By Martin E. Comas
Published September 7, 2018
Soon after the upscale Alaqua Lakes community was fully constructed in 2004,
homeowners noticed deep potholes, large cracks and depressions in the main road
leading into their community and on surrounding side streets.
When residents complained, the developer
told members of the Alaqua Lakes Community Association that
the roads were simply old and that residents were
overwatering their lawns and the runoff from water was
flowing underneath the roads and causing them to fall apart,
according to court documents and attorney Paul SanGiovanni,
who represented the association.
Now, a Seminole County jury has disagreed and awarded $3.8
million to the Alaqua Lakes Community Association against
developer Taylor Morrison of Florida Inc. for negligence in
the design and construction of the community’s approximately
seven miles of roadway network.
Last week’s verdict is the latest chapter in the decade-long
lawsuit. And it’s likely the homeowners eventually could
receive an additional $2.5 million as part of a final
judgment. That award money will be used by the association
to entirely rebuild the roadway bed of Alaqua Lakes
Boulevard and repave the top layers of surrounding streets.
Home in Alaqua Lakes neighborhood in Seminole County.
“This is an important decision because it allows
communities to know that if they have an issue with the development of their
community, the courts are there to give them redress and relief,” said
SanGiovanni, of Morgan & Morgan’s Business Trial Group.
Representatives for Taylor Morrison of Florida and the company’s attorney
didn’t return calls for comment.
Tucked between the Wekiva River and Markham Woods Road, the gated Alaqua
Lakes subdivision — with an entrance at West Lake Mary Boulevard — is home
to some of Central Florida’s well-heeled residents.
Construction of Alaqua Lakes started in the late 1990s on mostly wetlands
just east of the Wekiwa Springs State Park. The original developer was
Taylor Woodrow Communities, which later became Taylor Morrison of Florida.
The seventh and final phase of the 500-plus home community was completed in
That year, the community association hired a civil engineering firm and
other consultants, who determined that Alaqua Lake’s roads were falling
apart because the faulty design and construction of the streets’ underdrain
system allowed groundwater to seep into the base.
Typically, roadways require asphalt resurfacing about every decade. However,
the Alaqua Lakes community was unable to resurface its private roads because
of the faulty multi-layered road base, according to court records.
“The materials they used for the road base became saturated with groundwater
as a result of the failure of the underdrain to work,” SanGiovanni said.
“The roadbed deteriorated and resulted in a deterioration of the asphalt,
including potholes, cracks and other failures….The real issue was that it
was a sign that the road base was failing....They did not properly design
Also, stormwater inlets were improperly installed and allowed soil and other
debris — including trash — to wash into the system, forcing the community to
spend money to clean it, according to the lawsuit.
The suit was originally filed in October 2008, and the jury’s verdict was
reached Thursday after a three-week trail.
“This has been a long battle with Taylor Morrison, and we’re relieved that
the jury clearly understood the defective design and construction of our
roads and the substantial costs we’ve incurred and would have had continued
to incur, because of it,” Chris Dumas, resident and chair of the Alaqua
Lakes Community Association’s legal committee, said in a statement.