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CDD’s Golf Course Purchase Back On?

At the July 10 Westchase CDD meeting, supervisors got word that their purchase of the Westchase Golf Course may be back on.

The meeting began with a brief discussion of the district’s proposed 2019 budget. With its expected approval at the Aug. 7 meeting, supervisors made no changes to the draft, which holds homeowners’ assessments at this year’s levels.

After supervisors heard from Hillsborough County representatives about a project to extend the left turn lane on eastbound Linebaugh Avenue at Sheldon Road (This issue will be covered in August's WOW.), Supervisor Greg Chesney updated supervisors on recent discussions with the golf course owner, Nick Neubauer. After not hearing a counterproposal from the owner in May, supervisors decided to put action on the course on hold until they heard back from Neubauer.

“After last meeting I was contacted by the owner of the golf course,” said Chesney. Referring to the first purchase and sales contract offered by Neubauer, Chesney stated, “We agreed to go back to his agreement with some modifications.”

While Chesney did not go into detail, he did say that the district’s requests that Neubauer purchase all leased agreement – as well as other items that the district asked to be added – were taken out of the purchase and sale contract. Chesney stated Neubauer also expressed a preference for changing the six-month due diligence period and making the purchase contingent solely on approval of financing and the resolution of boundary issues, but Chesney declined. Referring to environmental studies to ensure no contamination of the property, Chesney said, “My recommendation is we not change it. We haven’t done any environmental work.”

Chesney added that Neubauer also wanted a commitment that the district not develop the property. (Under state law, however, CDDs are not permitted to develop properties.) Further, Chesney committed to not releasing the due diligence report about the course into the public record until a signed agreement was in place.

Saying he had spoken to him earlier in the day to encourage him to email a response prior to the meeting, Chesney added he did not email him before the meeting. “He still has some issues,” Chesney said, referencing the agreement. “We sent that to him a week ago Friday [July 6] but he has not returned it.”

“Suffice it to say,” CDD Chair Jim Mills said, “Discussions are ongoing and restarting.”

When Supervisor Ross asked if Chesney would have a finalized purchase and sale agreement distributed to supervisors for review before the next meeting, Chesney responded, “I’m starting to wonder.”

Supervisors concluded with a lengthy discussion about landscaping with CDD Field Manager Doug Mays and Paul Kovacik, the Davey supervisor who oversees the district landscaping. CDD Supervisor Brian Ross stated he understood that Davey was fulfilling the requirements of their contract, that much of the community’s original landscaping was aging out and that Mays has always done an admirable job watching the district’s landscaping dollars. Ross, however, asked the board to convey its support for increasing the financial commitment to replacing aging hedges in parks and along Linebaugh and Countryway Boulevard. Mays estimated that doing so would likely require an additional $100,000 be added to the existing $150,000 budget line for plant replacement. Supervisors expressed their support for the investment and Ross encouraged Mays to prepare some proposals for landscaping enhancements.

Mays added that, working with a local nursery, the district has been replanting a different subdivision’s entrance every other month.

In other actions:

District Manager Andy Mendenhall briefed supervisors on steps the district should take to ensure the district web site is ADA compliant for the sight-impaired.

Supervisors voted 4-0 to adopt a policy of using Positive Pay for all checks the district writes to lessen the chance of any checks being intercepted and used fraudulently.

Office Manager Sonny Whyte stated that the district had obtained new signage from the county and would be likely be replacing West Park’s signage during the third week in July.

When supervisors again inquired about CDD Engineer Tonja Stewart’s promised map of the district and its assets (Stewart was absent but has repeatedly committed to its finalization in recent months), Office Manager Sonny Whyte said she had reached out to the county for its digital maps and the county has expressed a willingness to share Westchase portions of the county maps with the district to move the project forward.

Supervisors adjourned at 5:46 p.m.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

Posted July 13, 2018

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