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Harbor Isles

Harbor IsleHarbor Isles is a 224-acre, gated, over 55, adult community located on Highway 41 in southern Sarasota County, west of the City of Northport, FL. Only one of its 650 home sites park is vacant. On the remaining sites are double wide and triple wide, vinyl-sided manufactured homes. Approximately one-third of the homes are occupied year-round and “winter residents”, who have primary homes out of state, occupy two thirds. The average lot size is 8000 sq. ft. but corner and cul-de-sac lots slightly vary.

There is a clubhouse with a kitchen, recreation hall, swimming pool with a large Jacuzzi, ten shuffleboard courts, four bocce courts, two lighted tennis courts, two horseshoe courts, a dock with boat slips and boat storage racks. Water access is via Salt Creek, which provides access to the Myakka River a very short distance down stream. The Clubhouse (7072 enclosed square feet), the Recreation Hall (3402 enclosed square feet), the Office and Library complex (1392 enclosed square feet) and a fourth building which houses an All-Purpose Room, a laundry room, an exercise room, and a video tape library (2780 enclosed square feet) create a quadrangle which surrounds the pool and spa.

Harbor Isles was incorporated as a condominium in 1979 and construction commenced that same year. Later CRW, Inc. established Harbor Isles as a Manufactured Home Community and construction was completed in 1996. The homes are owned and sites individually deeded to each owner. The Association owns the vacant lot.
Water and sewer is provided by North Port Utilities.

The northwest boundary is on a Forest Preserve running along Salt Creek.  A 50-foot firebreak was created in 2006 between the preserve and adjacent homes, which Harbor Isles is working with the County and State to maintain.

Harbor IsleA group of nine residents have formed a Firewise Committee and an initial meeting with 85 property owners was held on May 12, 2007. Our purpose was to educate residents on the Firewise program. The speaker was Mitigation Specialist, Patrick Mahoney and members of the North Port Fire Department were present to answer questions.
Information about the Firewise program is available to residents in the park library and “info” packets have been prepared to inform them of the Firewise goals and provide suggestions for making their homes Firewise.

Harbor Isles has a split main entrance and exit divided by a center island upon which is a small gatehouse. Ingress and egress are controlled by an electronic gate system, which allows safety forces access to the property. Travel lanes are 18 feet wide at this entrance. A second entrance/exit is located one tenth of a mile north of the main entrance and is also controlled by an electronic gate. Road width at this location is 24 feet. Roads within this community are paved and range in width from 20 to 24 feet. Cul-de-sacs are approximately 75 feet in diameter. All street signs and numbering on homes are visible. Fire hydrants are strategically located throughout this community. There are four lakes within the condominium’s boundaries: Bass, Tarpon, Snook and Dolphin Lakes with a total of 9090 feet of shoreline and road access to each lake.

Harbor IsleAt the rear northwest corner of the community, at the end of Schooner Drive is located a small marina. The marina has a well-maintained 14-foot wide concrete boat ramp, which allows access to Salt Creek and the Myakka River. At the front east side of the Harbor Isle property adjacent to Harbor Isles Drive and the recreation complex is a large grassed area that is available for a safety forces staging area. A “preserve” is located on the north side of Portside Drive and extends between Route 41 to Schooner Drive, a distance of one half mile. Abutting the preserve area are 44 homes protected with hydrants at three Portside Drive locations. These hydrants are within 100 feet of the preserve’s south border. Salt Creek is the north border.

Harbor Isles is located approximately three miles south of Sarasota County Fire Station #26 and approximately 2.7 miles north of the City of North Port’s fire station located on North Port Blvd.

The largest area of combustible fuel in Harbor Isles is the Wildlife Preserve that backs up to 44 home sites. The Preserve’s size is approximately 3500’ x 500’. It has heavy overgrowth of untrimmed trees, thick brush and dense ground cover plants and weeds. No paths or open walkways exist from the home sites to Salt Creek.

Land elevation in the preserve varies from 3 to 5 feet above mean water level of Salt Creek. The tree canopy is mainly slash pine with some laurel oak and palms. Bushes in abundance are saw palmetto, Brazilian pepper, Bismarck palm, cabbage palmetto, etc. Ground cover is heavy weeds, ferns, selloum, and tall grasses. Four other common areas in Harbor Isles are: the boat dock area, that has laurel oaks, tall palms, slash pine, mangrove bushes, saw palmetto; the office & recreation area has crepe myrtle, fan palms, queen palms, magnolia, bottle brush. The Harbor Isles boulevard has laurel oak, saw palmetto, slash pine, etc.; and the 3.39 acre site along the front of Harbor Isles has slash pines and a few palms.

Harbor IsleOne 20-foot wide swath was recently cleared by the Division of Forestry’s equipment. This cut was adjacent to the 44 home sites along the length of the Preserve, which extends from the dock area to US 41. There is no vehicle access to the Preserve. Except for the Wildlife Preserve, our grounds keepers provide maintenance of common area vegetation, and each Individual owner therefore must assume responsibility for the environment that surrounds his or her residence.

 The Preserve requires a joint effort of:

  • Owners.
  • HICA (Harbor Isles Condominium Association)
  • HIHO (Harbor Isles Homeowners
  • Florida State Division of Forestry
  • Florida DEP
  • All other governmental agencies that may have jurisdiction in this area

The intent of the Firewise Project is to provide a margin of safety between any combustible fuels and our residences and community property assets, while at the same time maintaining and enhancing the natural beauty within the boundaries of the Harbor Isles community. The Division of Forestry will assist with obtaining written approvals from local governments to ensure that environmental regulations are not being violated for this Firewise Project.

All 44 homes on our preserve have at least 30 feet of defensible space behind them. None of the other 600 homes in Harbor Isles have a problem with defensible space because of adequate fire hydrants throughout our community. Our roads are wide enough for any equipment to use. The Preserve backs up to Salt Creek, which makes for easy access to water for fighting a wildfire.

The goals of the Harbor Isles Firewise Committee are:

  • To decrease the risk of fire hazards within our 650-home community.
  • To educate residents in the conservation of natural areas.
  • Intelligently plant and control any Florida environmentally friendly vegetation immediately contiguous to homes and common area structures.
  • Work with Sarasota County officials and Florida State Wildlife Mitigation Specialist from the Division of Forestry in the logical long-term control of fire-fueling vegetation within an existing wildfire break.