by Adia Walker / Published May 2015
On June 17, 1975, four individuals came together in the city of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to establish what was then known as the Space Coast Condominium Association (SCCA). The four original board members, Richard T. Angle, George E. Harrington, Louis C. Rhode, and Leslie E. Shumway, founded the association with five ambitious goals:
• To foster and promote the interests of individuals, partnerships, firms, associations, and corporations who own residential condominium units or residential apartments in cooperatives.
• To cooperate for the improvement of all conditions relating to such interests.
• To regulate and correct abuses relative thereto.
• To secure and maintain freedom from unjust and unlawful exactions.
• To secure and interchange accurate and reliable information for the associations and organizations of the unit owners, as well as, the unit owners, themselves.
“The SCCA was originally formed in 1975 to provide the already huge population of condominium associations along the central east coast of Florida with an outlet for education and vetting concerns and issues specific to communities along the Space Coast,” says Roger Kesselbach, President of the association. “It provided a unified voice for hundreds of volunteer boards to the Florida legislature.”
Over the decades, the SCCA has expanded their membership beyond just condominiums to include cooperatives, mobile homes, timeshares, and homeowner associations. Modifying their name to the Space Coast Community Association, the SCCA, now proudly represents nearly 19,000 residential units in Brevard, Indian River, and South Volusia counties.
“The SCCA is a grassroots organization,” says Kessel-bach. “This is very important because it makes us much more in touch with the actual problems that face our members.” He explains that all of SCCA’s board and committee members are required to live or own property within a member association so that they are directly connected at a grassroots level.
• Participated in rewriting of the condominium law for the state of Florida during a series of workshop meetings undertaken by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) in Tallahassee.
• Recommended an overhaul of the approach to education undertaken by the DBPR and by the Division of Condominiums. Defined the approach of structuring a CD with the content and the search capability needed by the user.
• Addressed the Florida Bar on the Unlicensed Practice of Law and recommended what should be included.
• Recommended to the Division of Condominiums the conditions for termination of a condominium.
• In 2008, SCCA, working in cooperation with several allied organizations, introduced and got sponsors for two bills to solve some condominium and homeowners’ association problems. Although the governor vetoed the HOA bill, the extensive condominium bill was signed into law.
• Participated in and made recommendations to the Condominium Advisory Council in 2005.
• Became a member of the Community Associations Institute Florida Legislation Alliance and served for 10 years writing and critiquing proposed legislation.
• During a period of more than 20 years participated in projects of the city of Cocoa Beach. One of the first ones was a study of the Florida DOT analysis of projected traffic levels. SCCA demonstrated that the DOT conclusions were incorrect.
In addition to these efforts, the SCCA has provided educational opportunities to hundreds of community associations and businesses to help them become more aware of what associations need in order to maintain their communities. From 1996 to early 2010, a man by the name of Harry Charles served as the SCCA President, providing what Kesselbach terms “stalwart and focused leadership” to the association. It was Charles who led SCCA to amend its Articles of Incorporation in 1997 to formally take on the responsibility of providing leadership for all different types of community associations.
Kesselbach, a retired business owner within the telecommunications field and a Past President of his own condominium association, was recruited by Charles in 2004 to assist with website repair and other technical issues for SCCA. After completing these projects, he learned that Charles was seeking retirement and looking for a replacement. He was nominated for the position at the next annual meeting and accepted with pride.
“I do this type of work because I feel the residents of this fine state need to have a voice in what goes on within the state as well as their own communities,” says Kesselbach. “Also, we at SCCA believe that a well-educated association is a much more pleasant and a smoother running association. We are a non-profit organization—we don’t do this for the money. All of our board members are volunteers. Every-thing we do, including the work with all our vendors, is geared toward helping the communities. It’s a win-win situation, and I’m extremely happy with the outcome.”
To help promote these concepts, SCCA holds a variety of events for their members, including general membership meetings, a president’s forum, certification programs, and an annual trade show. “The general membership meetings are custom tailored for community association living and are on a wide range of topics that are needed to run an association smoothly and follow all Florida Statutes pertaining to the particular type of association,” says Kessel-bach. “They are open to all of our members, as well as any unit owner at the member communities.”
“We also run certification programs for all board members and legal updates as the statute changes with each Legislative session” Kesselbach continues. “The president’s forum is very candid and restricted to leaders only.
It’s basically a big think tank.” The attendance for this monthly forum runs between 40–55 association leaders; topics are varied and generated by the attendees.
The SCCA began hosting annual trade shows 17 years ago; the event features the association’s business associate members who work closely with SCCA to meet the needs of the member associations. Kesselbach describes it as a “one stop see all” event, with representation from law firms, management companies, the DBPR, and an assortment of other vendors. “We also have short teaching programs to help our members learn about specific things they need in their everyday running of their associations,” Kesselbach says.
“This year’s show will be slightly different from past shows with it being our 40th Anniversary we will be hosting one separate room showing the history of our organization (SCCA) and the changes on the Space Coast’s demographics.”
In addition to the special showing at the annual trade show, the SCCA is also holding an anniversary luncheon at the Cocoa Beach Country Club, with recognition from the local communities. With more than 250 member associations, 200 business associate members, and countless contributions to community living in the Space Coast region, the SCCA has a lot to celebrate as it looks back on 40 years.
To learn more about the SCCA, visit www.scca-online.org or send an e-mail to Kesselbach at email@example.com.