By John Leaman

Edited by Carolyn Leaman


In late 1979 Bryn Mawr decided to transition campground portion of its holdings on North Hutchinson Island into a cooperative and sold off shares of the cooperative and rights to campground sites.  Thus Ocean Resorts CO-OP, Inc. was born and the rights to the land were transferred by Quit Claim Deed February 29, 1980.  Basically a Quit Claim deed is no better than the deed it was drawn from.  Since this one was drawn from a Warrantee Deed it is a reasonably strong deed.  The shares and lots sold rather quickly. For a listing of the original owners of each lot and also a listing showing the original names of street, click on "Original Owners", below. 

Ocean Resorts' land holdings were subsequently altered by several actions.  First, when management at Ocean Resorts discovered that our boardwalk had inadvertently been built partly on lands belonging to the owners of PV Martins restaurant (the JOFU Corporation); Ocean Resorts purchased the land it had encroached upon from JOFU Corporation.  This is evidenced by Warrantee Deed February 5, 1997.  Then in December 1998 Ocean Resorts was deeded, by Quit Claim deed, 30 acres of the Queens Cove peninsula due west of Bryn Mawr. This deed was from Dixon Ticonderoga, who had acquired Bryn Mawr in 1983 as it was floundering financially.  Shirley Burlingham, a resident of Ocean Resorts and former Board President, was instrumental in gaining this deed after it was discovered that Ocean Resorts had been paying the taxes on this land for many years without holding a deed.  Actually the taxes were quite trivial.

In 1999, as the county was phasing down the use of the 2 acre sanitation plant surrounded on three sides by Ocean Resorts, discussions were initiated to exchange lands, Ocean Resorts 30 acres on the peninsula for the 2 acres adjacent to the cooperative. The county had purchased the 2 acres from Dixon Ticonderoga on June 12, 1992 with an assessed value of $95,900 and held a Warrantee Deed for that property.  Although Ocean Resorts residents voted in favor of pursuing the matter, the county couldn't gain agreement between their different parties (Utilities giving up the 2 acres and Recreation gaining the 30 acres).   As was later discovered when Ocean Resorts undertook action to obtain clear title to lands west of Ocean Resorts, the deed for the 30 acres was valueless because it was drawn from a quit claim deed that had no chain of title behind it

In 2003 several things happened that subsequently altered Ocean Resorts land holdings significantly.  First, Joe May did much leg work in searching county records associated with the county's activities to create what was variously called Queens Cove Park, Reserve, or Preserve.  The county had been acquiring land on North Hutchinson Island, some at substantial prices, spending state money to do so.  About the same time, John Leaman, while serving as Board President, was reviewing records pertaining to the legal origin of Ocean Resorts and found interesting wording in the Prospectus regarding the western boundary of the cooperative.  Similar wording was in some deeds regarding western boundaries on the North Hutchinson Island specifying the western boundary as Indian River, but most maps and GPS show the Blue Hole Creek as being the water way immediately west of Ocean Resorts between the Indian River and North Hutchinson Island.  Also, many deeds for land running westward on North Hutchinson Island did explicitly include lands (peninsula and islands) in the Indian River, but not including the spoil islands created by dredging the Intracoastal Waterway.  The spoil islands are state property. Shirley Burlingham also did research in County records and found similar information in many cases.  With this background, the Board created a committee headed by C.J. Neuhoff to pursue the matter and determine just what did or could Ocean Resorts really own.

Finally in 2006, after much more research in county records by Mr. Neuhoff and his committee, the Board authorized the expenditure of sufficient funds to legally pursue gaining proper title of lands west of Ocean Resorts.  In that effort it was discovered that the Quit Claim deed for the 30 acres was worthless, so the task was expanded to include this area also.  It is interesting to note that in the search of possible claimants to this land, the name Daniel McConville turned up. He had purchased various property on North Hutchinson Island and had established a plat plan for what is now Avalon Park southward to and including Ocean Resorts.  That was recorded in 1891 in the Brevard County (predecessor to Saint Lucie County) records(Click to Plat Plan below).  In 2008 Ocean Resorts paid a descendent of McConville to obtain a Quit Claim deed and extinguish any remaining family claims to the land west of Ocean Resorts. 

The legal effort was successful so that on June 1, 2009 Ocean Resorts tripled the size of its official land holding.  The total cost for all activity in causing this to happen was less than $60,000.  Ocean Resorts now holds Quiet Title to these lands, including the tip of Queens Cove Peninsula and islands. Since this includes much waterfront property, many believe it may be of significant future value.  In 2010 it was appraised at 2.899 million dollars and title insurance was obtained for that value.  At that time most of the land was zoned like O.R. proper and susceptible to the building of condominiums.  However, the land is added to Ocean Resorts as common area, which is not taxed so long as it remains common area. 

In any case Ocean Resorts now officially owns all of the land west of both Bryn Mawr and Ocean Resorts, out to the spoil islands along the intra-coastal waterway.  The county covets this territory for part of the Queens Cove Preserve that it is creating.  It has already spent millions of dollars toward the park/preserve, mostly in acquiring land on North Hutchinson Island.  Only the future can determine the real value of Ocean Resorts land holdings!

The shareholders who made this all happen, in addition to Mr. Neuhoff, the committee chairperson, were Joe May, John Leaman, Bob Baxter, Glenn Ludwig and Ray Kersey.  Of course, Norton Field Jr., our manager worked with this effort throughout.  Hesh Najarian was added to the Committee towards the end of the effort and was instrumental in obtaining the appraisal.

During 2011 the committee assessed the feasibility of acquiring part of the former PV Martin property from Arnold Jason who had acquired it for $860,000 from the Ginn Corporation bankruptcy.  Ginn had bought it for $3,600,000 several years earlier before the economic downturn.  Ocean Harbor North representatives wanted Ocean Resorts to join them in the acquisition and to divide the property by extending their mutual property line eastward.  The committee concluded that to get an affirmative vote of 300 unit owners to spend about half a million dollars had little chance for success, particularly since we already owned over 1,000 feet of ocean front.

 Ocean Harbor North, later in 2013 did purchase about 3/8th of the property and then in November 2013 South Orchid Island LLC purchased the remainder for $750,000.  They started the planning for a luxury restaurant to be called the South Orchid Island Club, even though located on North Hutchinson Island.  By late 2015 it remained a conceptual proposition with no approval requests for its construction. 

The committee continued to work the land matters, holding several meetings with Queens Cove representatives and Jim David of Mosquito control.  These meetings developed working agreements with the parties regarding access via land to the Ocean Resorts land holdings.  While this was in process, Hesh Najarian became the committee chairperson and concluded the agreement with Queens Cove, but the one with Mosquito Control (County) was still in process early 2013 because a Board member (as a shareholder) and a committee member were advocating not having an agreement with Mosquito Control. Both the Insurance carrier and attorney had recommended the placing of Private Property  - NO TRESPASSING signs to reduce liability issues.  Also the committee was planning to work with the county toward gaining use and/or ownership of the 2 acre county plat that formerly housed a disposal plant and is surrounded on 3 sides by Ocean Resorts.


 However, due to discord, the committee dissolved before the pending actions were completed.  Two years later there was no official committee addressing land matters, although NO TRESPASSING signs were placed on the peninsula by Shareholders.


Original Owners