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CDD Raises Pavilion Rentals; Pushes Park Plan Discussion to Aug. 4

Nearly two dozen Boy Scouts filled the room at the July 7 meeting of the Westchase CDD, which saw supervisors vote to increase the pavilion rental fees at Baybridge and Glencliff Parks.

With the Scouts from Troop 46 present to learn about the functions of local government, Vice Chair Greg Chesney, an Eagle Scout himself, regularly paused while chairing the session to explain what the Community Development District (CDD) supervisors were doing. The youngsters watched as supervisors addressed issues related to park fees, their landscaper, the upcoming parks renovation project and their 2016 budget.

While July's WOW ran the district’s tentative plans for a $1 million renovation of Westchase’s playgrounds in parks in anticipation of supervisors’ addressing the plan at the July 8 meeting, supervisors instead pushed consideration of the proposals to the Aug. 4 session, giving residents the chance to still weigh in on the plans. A detailed explanation of the proposal, including drawings of the parks, can be found here.

Supervisors, however, began by opening a public hearing to raise the pavilion rental fees at Glencliff and Baybridge Parks in hopes of reducing their use by non-residents. In recent months, the parking from Baybridge Park has increasingly overflowed into its adjacent neighborhood, with cars completely blocking the rights of way. Echoing supervisors’ concerns later in the meeting, Bridgeton Drive resident Louisa Holtzberg stated, “I do have concerns about parking on Bridgeton Drive.”

Supervisors voted 4-0 to raise the rental fee from $25 to $75. CDD Supervisor Mark Ragusa was absent from the meeting.

Field Supervisor Doug Mays also committed to directing the district’s off-duty deputy patrol to Bridgeton Drive on the weekends to enforce parking restrictions. To reduce the impact of park parking, CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte said she has also reduced the total number of reservations she’ll accept to three per day.

CDD Engineer Tonja Stewart of Stantec then addressed recent storm water issues affecting the Sturbridge and Stonebridge neighborhoods. The two areas have been impacted by an adjacent development by M/I Homes. “Residents had notified us because water was coming up into their backyards,” explained Chesney. Chesney added he had approved an emergency appropriation of $2,800 to address two storm water pipes. “One had collapsed and the other had to be cleaned out,” he said.

Chesney added that the collapsed pipe was not caused by M/I Homes’ development work. He also stated that Stewart would meet with a representative of M/I Homes to determine if its retention ponds might be better interconnected with Westchase’s system to ensure storm water efficiently drains.

Addressing supervisors, CDD Attorney Erin McCormick stated that a representative of David Weekley Homes had contacted her about an undeveloped parcel of land in West Park Village lying south of the Fifth Third Bank’s parking lot and bounded by Cavendish Drive to the east and West Park Village Drive to the south. The parcel is currently zoned for commercial development. The David Weekley representative inquired about changing its designation to residential for the construction of a number of townhomes. The developer expressed interest in pulling the parcel out of the jurisdiction of the defunct Westchase Commercial Association, which formerly enforced rules on commercial lots, and joining it to the Westchase Community Association (WCA). CDD supervisors, however, took no action pending receipt of further information.

Subsequent to the meeting, WCA President Joaquin Arrillaga stated via e-mail, “I spoke with the representative of DWH a couple of weeks ago and he presented me with the idea or intentions to develop this land. After our brief conversation he was directed to the CDD and our attorney since he was requesting details as to how this parcel can become part of the WCA. At that point they were just exploring the idea of developing but [it’s] just an exploration. I did say that the WCA will be very active with the new developments.”

WOW reached out to David Weekley’s representative for comment and further information but has not yet received a response.

Supervisors also briefly addressed their draft budget, but made no changes to it. The public hearing for the adoption of the budget will occur on Aug. 4 at 4 p.m. at the WCA office building on Parley Drive. Spending and homeowners assessments are largely expected to remain unchanged from 2015. Click here to view the latest draft; tables of homeowners' assessments appear at its end.

Field Supervisor Doug Mays introduced Joe Kitchie, a branch manager for Davey, the district’s contracted landscaping company. In June Mays announced that Davey had failed their independent inspection, costing them 25 percent of their contract pay, known as the performance payment. Last month Mays stated that Davey was struggling to fill positions and that Westchase needed 12 or 13 full-time staff members as well as an irrigation specialist and supervisor but he’d seen as few as six workers on site some days.

Mays stated that Davey had recently passed its latest inspection after bringing more workers on site. “It seems to me things are going in an upward direction,” he said. While stating Davey was working with largely new employees who did not yet know the community well, Mays said he was “seeing things turn around already.”

Kitchie agreed with Mays’ assessment that 13 to 15 total workers were needed to address the district’s landscaping needs.

“So,” CDD Supervisor Brian Ross pressed, “if we don’t have 13 to 15 people, you’d understand if we came back to you and said contractually you’re just not cutting it?”

“Exactly,” Kitchie stated.

In other actions:

Supervisors gave tentative approval, pending review by district counsel, of a contract with ACPLM for the repaving of roads in The Vineyards at a cost of $114,632 plus costs of roughly two percent for a performance bond. The CDD owns and maintains roads in most gated communities, whose homeowners are separately assessed for the work.

Supervisors approved a $600 contract with Berger, Toombs, Elam, Gaines & Frank for the annual audit of the district’s bonds to ensure compliance with state law.

CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte announced that the district’s new Web site, improved to ensure compliance with the state’s public document rules, would be ready for visitors following the successful transfer of the domain registry. The CDD’s Web site is http://westchasecdd.com

Supervisors approved payment of a sewer bill totaling roughly $1,800 and stretching back five years. CDD staff stated that Hillsborough County Water recently determined the actuating fountain in West Park Village was not being properly billed.

West Park Village resident Nick Stocks of 10031 Brompton Dr. requested supervisors take action to limit resident access to the narrow strip of CDD-owned land between his home and 10029 Brompton Dr. Stocks stated the area is often used by neighborhood kids and adults for soccer and football and the activity is causing issues with privacy and noise. After briefly debating the issue, supervisors decided to post a no trespassing sign. They stated they will revisit the matter if the sign doesn’t alleviate the problems.

Supervisors adjourned at 5:31 p.m.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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