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CDD Preps Homeowner Information on Ponds

The June 6, 2017 meeting of the Westchase CDD saw supervisors tackle a host of different issues while returning to ponds and pond erosion prevention.

Supervisors opened the two-hour meeting by hearing from Saville Rowe association manager and resident Charles Jester. Jester inquired whether the district would use Saville Rowe’s CDD reserves for roads and gates to cover $8,600 in repairs to an eroding pond bank and seawall between the townhomes and a golf course lake. CDD Attorney Erin McCormick, however, stated that the district’s repairing property that belongs to the Saville Rowe HOA would not be an appropriate use of funds.

When Jester suggested Saville Rowe just deed the seawall to the district, McCormick stated it would be unusual for the district not to also take adjacent land. This, she said, would prove an expensive process given that they would have to subdivide the neighborhood’s multiple parcels.

Supervisors ultimately offered to lower Saville Rowe’s annual assessment for a year to offset partially the $269 that Saville Rowe’s HOA would have to special assess its residents. Supervisor Brian Ross, however, emphasized that the HOA would have to decide to special assess its residents first. Supervisor Barbara Griffith also emphasized that she would need to see Saville Rowe start responsibly assessing its homeowners and reserving funds for future seawall repairs before she would support the approach.

As part of CDD Engineer Tonja Stewart’s report, supervisors discussed the next step in educating homeowners about district-maintained pond banks. After several months of supervisors’ requesting from CDD staff a homeowners’ informational brochure on caring for pond banks, WOW Publisher Chris Barrett offered at May’s meeting to write up text for a possible pond brochure based on information given to him by Stewart. Barrett stated WOW would incorporate the information into a July cover feature about Westchase ponds and homeowners’ roles in their proper maintenance. After debating whether to move quickly in disseminating WOW’s pond brochure text to residents, supervisors ultimately embraced Supervisor Ross’ suggestion that the district run it by the Westchase Community Association (WCA) for its input before producing the brochure.

Supervisor Jim Mills also requested that Stewart and Field Supervisor Doug Mays examine the Flournoy apartments development on Sheldon Road across from Costco to ensure the work was not blocking storm-water outflow structures that serve The Vineyards and the eastern portion of West Park Village.

Making her report, CDD Attorney Erin McCormick said that recent changes made in this year’s legislative session made it more difficult for folks to collect attorney’s fees for burdensome records requests that the district either misses or fails to meet. She stated that the district would be protected as long as appropriate signage about public records requests is posted on its web site and at its main office.

McCormick also stated she was proceeding with exploring the feasibility of the district constructing a sidewalk on the south side of Linebaugh Avenue between Bentley Way and the Fifth-Third Bank development and perhaps continuing to Sheldon Road. WOW’s reporter mentioned that county required the Westchase Town Center’s builder to install a sidewalk as part of the project. That sidewalk is now being used as patio seating for its restaurants and bars. McCormick stated she would explore whether costs for the construction of a new sidewalk could be passed on to the commercial builder given the development rules.

Supervisor Griffith stated she would like to see a poll of Westchase residents to determine the level of support for continuing the sidewalk to Sheldon Road before proceeding. Supervisor Ross, however, stated that he’d like to continue with the process, voicing support for making a continuous sidewalk along Linebaugh between Sheldon and Countryway Boulevard a long-term district priority.

Griffith also asked staff to explore a mulched pathway on the west side of Montague Street between Westchase Drive, where the current sidewalk ends, and Linebaugh Avenue. The district previously rejected sidewalk there due to space, privacy and tree-removal concerns.

Making his report, Field Manager Doug Mays stated he had acquired a second bid for redoing the irrigation and landscaping along a CDD easement in front of the Sheldon commercial strip holding the CVS, Applebee’s and Burger King. In May Westchase’s current landscaper, Davey, bid $25,000 for the work, followed by $800 per month in maintenance. Mays stated that the new bid, from Baker Commercial Landscaping, was for $12,985 for the work and $480 per month in subsequent maintenance. Supervisors voted unanimously to award the contract to Baker.

Supervisors also voted to approve the $32,415 to replace Field Manager Mays’ 12-year-old pickup truck.

Briefly addressing their draft 2018 budget, for which they expect no change in homeowner assessments, supervisors made no adjustments. Supervisors are likely to look more closely at the budget at their July and August meetings. Their formal approval of a finalized spending plan is expected at their August meeting.

Supervisor Ross, however, stated that once the budget is completed, he would like the board to examine the community from a 30,000-foot view. “It is evident we’ve slipped in a few places,” he stated. “What can we do to help elevate the look and feel of the community?”

Ross suggested looking at constructing sidewalks where there are none, addressing the eastern entrance and the Linebaugh butterfly garden, recently planted by Davey; addressing shrinking flower beds at intersections; planting lusher landscaping; perhaps addressing the neglected rights of way fronting the Westchase Golf Course by acquiring a district maintenance easement; and trimming palm and de-mossing oaks.

“Amen,” responded Griffith.

Greens resident Jerrie Moore then stood to make two requests. She asked that the district not run sprinklers in the morning when she bikes to the YMCA and she asked supervisors to do something about speeding within the Greens, particularly by package delivery services and lawn companies. Field Manager Mays said the district had previous issues with an irrigation specialist, who has been replaced. He added the recent drought made necessary more frequent watering. He said the district policy is only to run sprinklers between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and irrigation staff, when testing zones, are now required to stay with the zone and turn it off when pedestrians approach.

CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte said she would print off speed limit reminders for distribution to lawn companies and FedEx and UPS drivers by the guard house. Mays also said he would discuss asking the off-duty patrol to do some speed enforcement along Gretna Green.

CDD Supervisor Griffith asked CDD Supervisor Matt Lewis, who recently observed the monthly inspection of Westchase landscaping work, what he thought of the process. OLM, a horticultural firm, independently grades Davey, the CDD’s landscaping contractor, to determine if Davey receives its performance payment. “I thought it was pretty well done,” Lewis said. “It was pretty thorough.”

Griffith, however, stated that while OLM’s grade of Davey’s work had fallen to an 88, one point shy of failing inspection and losing the payment, she was still surprised at the grade given the community’s appearance. “I just struggle with how we can be passing. How Davey can be passing?” she said.

Griffith requested that OLM’s representative be invited to the next CDD meeting to hear supervisors’ concerns.

Field Manager Mays closed the meeting by stating a Vineyards homeowner had recently sprayed 20 yards of the district’s pond bank behind his home with herbicide, killing 60 aquatic plants the district planted last year. Mays stated he had left two business cards asking the individual to call him but the homeowner was not responding. When Supervisor Barbara Griffith asked if the matter could be turned over to the Westchase Community Association, which could cite the resident for a deed restriction violation, CDD Manager Erin McCormick stated it could be.

Speaking to WOW the following day, Mays stated he stopped again after the meeting to try to speak to the resident but there was no answer. “Our next step may be to send him a bill to get his attention,” Mays said.

In other actions:

CDD Attorney Erin McCormick stated that the lease-to-own equipment contract discussed last month for the Greens gatehouse’s new visitor system was not acceptable with Securitas, who had simply pitched a contract leasing the equipment.

CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte announced that Wifi service was now available at Glencliff and Baybridge Parks as well as the new tot playground in West Park Village. She added that two new concrete ping pong tables will be added to the West Park Village green between June 21-27.

Addressing cost estimates for installing security cameras at the entrances to non-gated neighborhoods, CDD Field Manager Doug Mays stated it would cost about $12,000 for each entrance. He stated it would run $5,000-7,000 to run electricity to the sites and an additional $5,000-7,000 for two cameras. Staff added that Wifi service for data transfer would represent additional costs. Supervisor Barbara Griffith, who asked it be explored, observed that the security cameras appeared too costly to pursue.

Supervisors adjourned at 6:20 p.m.

Posted June 8, 2017

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