Advertise in the WOW | My Account | Log In
New User Registration | Search | Contact Us

CDD Addresses West Park Flooding and Alley Repaving

While their nearly three hour June meeting saw nearly a dozen different topics of discussion, Westchase CDD supervisors used the session to nudge forward several old agenda items rather than tackle new ones.

The June 5 meeting, however, began with a shade session, a portion of the meeting closed to the public and media because supervisors of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) were addressing potential or actual litigation. During the shade meeting supervisors addressed issues surrounding damages and the final bill from Vila and Son, their former landscaping company, which abruptly pulled out of its contract last August amid financial struggles. When the matter is settled, the district will release a verbatim transcript of the shade session.

After 50 minutes, supervisors opened the meeting to the public.

After weighing in May the possibility of repaving the West Park Village’s alleys, supervisors formally voted to approve a bid for the work at the June 5 meeting. Supervisors elected to hire Driveway Maintenance at a cost just under $100,000, provided costs for purchasing a bond for the work did not increase its bid beyond that of other bidders. In addition to roads within Westchase’s gated neighborhoods, the CDD owns and maintains West Park’s alleys and assesses that neighborhood’s homeowners for their costs.

With West Park Village receiving its first significant, sustained rains since last summer, supervisors also heard from the CDD Engineer Tonja Stewart and Field Supervisor Doug Mays about efforts to address street flooding at the intersection of Rowlett Way and West Park Village Drive.  In both an e-mail sent to supervisors prior to the session and at the meeting itself, Stewart and Mays briefed the board about efforts by Hillsborough County Public Works to solve the problem, which has plagued that part of West Park since its construction. Mays stated that recent rain and flooding made clear that his removal of a skimmer from a weir in a nearby pond last July did not resolve the issue. CDD and county staff, upon studying maps of the underground drainage system, then turned their attention to a drainage structure to the southwest, which Mays speculated may be damaged or malfunctioning. The day of the CDD meeting, work crews from the county and the Southwest Water Management District (SWIFTMUD) were on site to examine the structure and dredge a canal through surrounding wetlands to enhance storm water drainage.  

Stewart also informed supervisors that she was finalizing an updated map of district-owned property as part of the bid process for a Distributed Antennae System (DAS). On Tuesday, June 12, at 1 p.m. at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center, the district opened bids from seven companies interested in constructing a DAS in Westchase. The system itself won’t be owned by the district but the district will lease its land to the winning company, which will fund its construction and own it. As part of the agreement with the district, the winning company will likely commit to sharing a percentage of revenues earned from leasing space on the antennae to cell phone companies.

In contrast to traditional cell towers, which can be over 120 feet tall, a distributed antennae system uses a greater number of much shorter antennae, often built to look like traditional streetlights. The system, once complete, should enhance cell and wireless service within the community, whose residents have opposed construction of traditional cell towers in the past. The proposed DAS will likely involve approximately six antennae.

The bid specifications for the project were developed by Rusty Monroe of Monroe Telecom Associates. At their June session, supervisors passed a motion authorizing a further expenditure not to exceed $7,500 to hire Monroe to supervise the opening of the bids and answer questions submitted by the companies. Supervisors also requested that district staff work with Monroe to establish a grading system to rank the bids, allowing supervisors to cull the field and invite a few of the top bidders for interviews at the district’s September meeting.

Addressing requests from Village Green Voting Member Bobbi Pitcher to enhance safety at the bus stop and crosswalk just inside the gate to The Greens, Stewart stated she had visited the area along with Mays. Mays and CDD Supervisor Ernie Sylvester, a Greens resident, both stated that hedges that Pitcher described as limiting the line-of-sight at Gretna Green’s intersection with Green Links Drive really were not high enough to create a visual obstruction. Addressing Pitcher’s suggestion that safety of pedestrians would be enhanced by moving the Gretna Green crosswalk to the other side of Green Links Drive, Stewart stated, “It wouldn’t improve the situation by moving it.”

At Supervisor Bill Casale’s suggestion, Mays committed to repainting the crosswalk to make it more visible.

Mays, however, stated he had contacted TECO in an effort to improve lighting in the bus stop area, which Pitcher had described as being quite dark in the early mornings. “They think by putting a bus stop [street] light in, it will help,” explained Mays.

Supervisors then turned to issues arising from the recent discovery that they had been assessing homeowners in Saville Rowe and The Enclave for maintenance of items such as street lights, paved roads, gates and common areas that really were owned by those neighborhoods’ homeowners’ associations. The district is currently holding in reserve $59,000 for the repaving of Saville Rowe’s roads and $23,500 for repairs and costs associated with The Enclave’s street lights. The districts have the option of returning the funds to homeowners or taking ownership of the items if the HOAs deed them to the district.

Appearing before supervisors, Folkert Koelman, president of Saville Rowe’s association, stated it was his board’s desire to deed the property to the district, which can then continue assessing residents for the items’ maintenance.

With supervisors not knowing The Enclave HOA’s preference, CDD Chair Mark Ragusa asked CDD Attorney Erin McCormick to research how the district should handle refunding homeowners’ assessments.

Briefly addressing the draft budget, supervisors made no changes to their proposed 2013 spending plan. If supervisors make no changes before their August public budget forum, all homeowners except The Enclave will likely see minor decreases of one to three percent. Homeowners in Radcliffe and the villages off Countryway Boulevard, however, will see their assessments decline as much as 20 percent. This is due to a credit arising from last year’s payoff of 20-year bonds, which originally paid for infrastructure construction (Bonds in the eastern villages of Westchase won’t be paid off until 2016-2020, thus those homeowners still have debt service as part of their CDD assessments.). Commercial property owners will likely see their assessments increase somewhere between one and three percent. Click here to open the most recent draft of the 2013 budget.

In other actions:

Supervisors voted 4-0 (Supervisor Greg Chesney departed meeting at 6:10 p.m.) to authorize the transfer of two World of Westchase related trademarks to the magazine. The district recently received the marks from Newland Communities, the successor to Westchase’s developer, in exchange for the CDD accepting the transfer of one of Newland’s last pieces of undevelopable land in Westchase.

CDD Attorney Erin McCormick received supervisors’ go ahead for a joint indemnification clause in a contract related to Harbor Links/The Estates gas light conversion project. A disagreement over the contract’s language with the company designing the internal LED fixture has delayed the project.

With only Supervisor Brian Ross in support, supervisors declined a request from professional basketball team, the Tampa Bay Rain of the American Basketball Association, to use Glencliff Park’s courts for an exhibition match to drum up residents’ awareness of the team. The districts typically decline requests for park use by for-profit companies.

Responding to a request from Stockbridge VM Joe Odda regarding information and past CDD discussions regarding a dog park, District Manager Andy Mendenhall committed to getting Odda copies of meeting minutes. Supervisors, however, also made clear that the board’s current position is that a dog park is unfeasible due to its cost and the lack of appropriate land.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher


Please login or register to post a comment.