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CDD Tackles Board Resignation and Teen Loitering at Baybridge Park

The March 3 meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) began with supervisors accepting the resignation of former Supervisor Brian Zeigler and ended with them tackling teen loitering at Baybridge Park.

As part of their consent agenda, supervisors accepted Zeigler's resignation. The former supervisor recently sold his Bridges home and moved just outside the district’s boundaries.

Under Florida law the remaining four supervisors are empowered to fill his seat. After brief discussion the board agreed to ask WOW to announce the open seat in the April and May editions. Any interested resident, they decided, should submit a letter of interest and a brief resume to District Manager Andy Mendenhall at amendenhall@severntrentms.com by May 22. They should also plan to attend the June 2 meeting of the CDD for introduction. Supervisors will likely make their choice for the seat on June 2.

District Manager Mendenhall stated he had been approached by Denise Schek, the Woodbridge Association Manager on behalf of that HOA. “They were interested in talking about transferring areas over to the CDD,” Mendenhall stated, referring to the neighborhood’s gates and rights of way. Supervisors asked that Mendenhall contact the Woodbridge HOA and emphasize the need to clarify their intent quickly as the district’s initial budget draft must be prepared in May.

CDD Attorney Erin McCormick presented a land use agreement with Florida Gas Transmission permitting the company access to CDD land near the UTB Regional Library to perform maintenance work on a nearby gas pipeline. Supervisors approved the agreement with the caveat that McCormick include a provision that the company show proof of insurance.

Field Manager Doug Mays then addressed a recent inquiry by WOW Publisher Chris Barrett about the shrinking flower beds in the median bullnoses at Westchase’s intersections. “They have creeped in over time,” stated Mays. “The beds are getting smaller.”

Mays clarified that the actual number of planted annuals, nearly 14,000, has remained consistent over time but that they have been planted more densely by the contractor. Stating the district would soon be planting begonias, Mays referred to the beds and stated, “They’re going to open them up 12 inches on each side.” He added, “That should open them up nicely and they should look larger.”

The number of flowers, however, will remain the same so the work would not pose additional costs.

Mays added that in recent years district staff has added numerous flowering perennials throughout the community, ensuring that the actual number of flowering plants has increased over time. He also pointed out that the flower beds in the median bullnoses have been the source of some complaints from residents who would rather the district pull them rather than spend money on refreshing the flowers throughout the year.

Mays also addressed the M/I Homes development tucked between Stonebridge and Davidsen Middle School. Clearing for the project has removed a significant number of trees and bushes, making the scraped area visible from Montague Street. “Is it time for a buffer?” CDD Supervisor Greg Chesney asked. He later added, “It definitely looks horrendous.”

Mays stated the developer promised the installation of a white PVC fence and Mays suggested planting bamboo as a screen. The plant grows and spreads quickly.

Supervisor Brian Ross, however, countered, “My recommendation is you need a block wall.”

When CDD Chair Mark Ragusa expressed concerns about a wall’s cost, Ross observed the expense would be worth it. “How many times do you have problems with landscaping buffers between two owners?” he asked.

CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte committed to obtaining the site plan from the county for distribution to supervisors prior to a final decision.

Closing major action, supervisors appointed a small task force to explore options for addressing teen loitering at Baybridge Park after closing hours. Nearby residents Lysette Falkner and Nancy Ostrowski addressed supervisors about the recent return of teens who are making noise, ringing doorbells and banging on doors.

“There’s just a lot of congregating at the park after hours,” stated Falkner, who said she doesn’t feel safe walking on the street in the evening. “They’re sitting in pavilions. On equipment. They’re sitting on the [shade structure] tarps.”

Ostrowski agreed. “I don’t feel safe walking through that park at all.”

Deputy Kris Gundersen, who supervises the district’s off-duty patrol of deputies, committed to sitting down with Supervisor Chesney and CDD Attorney Erin McCormick to hammer out the best approach to addressing the loitering.

Supervisor Ross strongly emphasized the board’s position to Gundersen. “We expect the law to be enforced in our community.”

In other actions:

Supervisors voted 3-1, with Supervisor Ross opposed, to permit Irish 31 to hold a Westchase Family Cornhole Tournament on the Montague Street green on May 30. The event, which will feature 50 teams of two people, will be free to participants.

Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve a request from Seymour Way homeowners to close a West Park Village alley behind eight homes for a neighborhood block party.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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