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CDD Approves WCA Movies in the Park on West Park Village Green

While discussions were wide-ranging in the 90-minute Sept. 10 Community Development District (CDD) meeting, most decisions were postponed for future meetings.

Among the more significant decisions was directors’ approval of a WCA request to hold Movies in the Park October-December of 2013 as well as January-March and October-December of 2014. The approval, however, came with a requirement that all movies be shown in the West Park Village Town Center green on Montague Street instead of Baybridge Park. Use of the latter had triggered complaints from two homeowners whose properties abut the park. Supervisors also required the WCA to continue monitoring the volume of the sound system to ensure it does not exceed county noise nuisance limits.

While initially expressing a preference for Baybridge Park for logistical reasons, WCA President Joaquin Arrillaga agreed, stating that the WCA had received no complaints from nearby apartment dwellers when a movie was shown on the West Park Village green last spring. “It was well accepted there. We didn’t have any complaints.”

CDD Supervisor Greg Chesney added that businesses near the green also seemed happy the event occurred nearby.

Affecting resolution of one issue before the board was the absence of CDD attorney Erin McCormick. Supervisors heard from CDD Engineer Tonya Stewart, who reported back about her inspection of a pond bank in the back of a Glenfield home. In recent months supervisors have insisted Glenfield homeowner Sue Curley remove landscaping she installed on the CDD-owned strip of land surrounding the pond behind her home. After receiving complaints from her neighbor, Field Supervisor Doug Mays inspected the area and reported back that it was poorly maintained, blocked the neighbor’s view of the pond and presented an impediment to pond bank maintenance by CDD crews. Supervisors subsequently sent a demand letter to Curley to remove the unapproved landscaping from district property.

In an Aug. 28 letter, Attorney Steve Mezer, retained by Curley, however, demanded all district correspondence related to the matter, charged that the pond bank had been long neglected by the district and Curley had installed landscaping to address erosion in the area ten years prior without district complaint. Mezer also charged that other nearby homeowners have made similar plantings and demanded copies of district correspondence to them instructing them to remove the landscaping.

Addressing the matter, Stewart stated, “We did an inspection on Friday and there is no evidence of erosion on the bank.” Steward added “We can remove the landscaping without a problem.”

CDD Chair Mark Ragusa, however, held off on approval of any action until McCormick arrived and could advise the board. Supervisors later adjourned before her appearance.

At the meeting, supervisors also addressed a request from a Radcliffe homeowner, who suggested the district pave the right-of-way at the Radcliffe bus stop, adjacent to a neighborhood park. Doing so, she stated, would enable students to board buses without trampling through muddy grass. While the resident offered free pavers from her company for the work, supervisors expressed a preference for seeking a bid from the company that installed the park’s pavers to ensure a proper match. Citing the fact that the park sits at the neighborhood’s entrance, CDD Chair Ragusa added he wanted to make Radcliffe aware of the possible changes so that homeowners could offer comments to supervisors prior to the work’s approval.

In other matters:

Supervisors continued discussions regarding the adoption of a new district policy for staff sick and vacation time. Current practice has been to allow unused sick time to accrue and to compensate employees for it upon leaving their jobs. Supervisors, however, have expressed a desire to buy out staff members’ accrued time and adopt a new policy limiting its future accrual. While District Manager Andy Mendenhall provided supervisors with a requested compilation of how other districts’ handle sick leave, supervisors postponed a decision, instead requesting a broader review of all district benefits. They requested Mendenhall return with both a complete breakdown of current staff benefits and a comparison to those offered in other districts. Further, they requested Mendenhall provide them with other districts’ employee handbooks to enable them to compile one for Westchase. Currently the Westchase CDD has no employee handbook and existing staff policies are largely holdovers from when the district was under Westchase developer control.

Supervisors heard Voting Member Carlos Quiros (Villas of WPV) offer thanks on behalf of residents of his sub-association. Quiros stated that board members have proven very responsive to two requests that his homeowners have made – the cleanout of a large retention pond along Cavendish Drive and the installation of large fountain in the pond. That fountain was installed at a cost of roughly $24,600 on Sept. 6. “On behalf of the owners, thank you, thank you, thank you,” Quiros stated.

Supervisors postponed action on a request from Saville Rowe’s HOA president that supervisors permit the neighborhood’s CDD fund balance be used to address drainage problems adjacent to two of the neighborhood’s units. According to Mays, one of the owners has demanded the Saville Rowe HOA take action to drain the area properly because it is causing water damage to his or her unit. While CDD Engineer Tonya Stewart acknowledged the area is wet and poorly drained, supervisors – as well as Mays – had questions about whether the installation of a drainage system, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, was the best approach. Other suggestions included the rezoning of the HOA’s irrigation system to eliminate excessive watering of the area and the installation of unit downspouts to redirect storm water elsewhere. Supervisors declined to take action until they had further information and evidence that a majority of Saville Rowe homeowners would support the expenditure.

Field Supervisor Doug Mays reported that most staff recently completed OSHA safety training, which he described as very helpful. Supervisors instructed Office Manager Sonny Whyte to complete the training as well so she can intervene when employees appear to be forgetting best safety practices.

Supervisors continued discussions about the possible addition of property to the district’s landholdings.

CDD Chair Ragusa concluded the meeting by thanking staff as well as the contractor and subcontractor undertaking the conversion of Harbor Links/The Estates gas street lamps to LED lights. He stated they had quickly addressed homeowner complaints about pole placements at the beginning of the project.

Supervisors adjourned at 5:28 p.m.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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