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Oldsmar Mayor to Address Stadium Plans with VMs March 14

The Feb. 7 Westchase Voting Members (VMs) meeting saw advice from the sheriff’s office and an announcement that Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis would speak to VMs on March 14.

Bevis has been pushing to develop the acreage sitting across from Tampa Bay Downs with, among other things, a new Tampa Bay Rays baseball stadium.

VMs, however, first heard from Hillsborough County Deputy Hugh Alter, who talked about common complaints and concerns that his office hears from residents.

Alter, Westchase’s Community Resource Officer, told the group that while crime was not a big issue in Westchase, there was a problem with people leaving their car doors unlocked. “Most of the break-ins we have are kids going around checking to see if cars are unlocked. Even if your car is in the garage, you should lock it.”

Alter said there had been reports of bikes being stolen from residents’ garages and stressed that garage doors should be closed unless the resident is in the garage. He said deputies counted 34 open garage doors one afternoon in The Bridges.

Alter said golf carts were not allowed on the road or sidewalks in Westchase although he acknowledged that some businesses or service workers did use golf carts in the area.

One recent complaint the officers have addressed is cars blocking the bike lane on Linebaugh Avenue in front of Westchase Elementary at the school’s dismissal time. He said that they had no control over how the school handled dismissal. His officers’ job, however, was to keep cars moving on Linebaugh and that the only real solution to the problem would have to come from the school.

After being asked if the department dealt with unsafe parking situations, Alter said that they had recently been in West Park Village for three days enforcing parking rules and that the law was cars had to be parked 30 to 40 feet from an intersection. He encouraged residents to call the non-emergency number to report unsafe parking issues.

Westchase Community Association (WCA) legal counsel Jonathan Ellis provided legal training to the VMs to remind them of their duties and responsibilities. He encouraged them all to read the governing documents to give them an idea of what they were supposed to be doing. He said the most important duty of the VMs was to elect the WCA Board of Directors.

All VMs voted in favor of David Weekley Home’s request to annex their planned townhouse development, the Reserve at West Park Village, into Westchase. A representative from David Weekley homes said they hoped to break ground on the first townhome in March and that it should take about four months to build. He said others would be built as they were sold and that the price for the three-story, 2,000+ square foot townhomes would start in the mid-300,000s.

VM Mary Griffin (WPV Single Family Homes) asked if any language preventing investors from purchasing the homes for rentals had been added to the townhomes' documents and she was told none had been.

VMs also voted unanimously to give their first of two approvals to the new color palette for the Villas of West Park Village.

Government Affairs Committee Chair and Woodbridge VM Rick Goldstein reported that he and Joe Odda had attended a Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners Meeting where commissioners had approved a transportation plan that moved the Citrus Park Drive extension and the repaving of certain Westchase streets to the top of the county’s projects list. The streets on the list include Countryway Boulevard, Montague Street from Kingsford to the dead end, as well as the streets in Radcliffe, Glenfield, The Shires, Keswick Forest, Wycliff, Bennington, Woodbay, and Baybridge neighborhoods.

Goldstein also told the group that Oldsmar was trying to attract a corporation to build their headquarters in the city and that the land across from Tampa Bay Downs would likely be developed. Oldsmar has pitched the area to the Tampa Bay Rays for a new stadium but the Hard Rock Casino has also expressed interest in the area. Goldstein said he had been working to form a consortium of concerned neighborhoods that wanted to work with the Oldsmar mayor as allies to help make plans for any development. WCA President Ruben Collazo told the group that the Oldsmar mayor would be at the March meeting to give information. He cautioned them to hold any negative comments as the mayor was only coming to give information, not ask for approval.

Alternate VM Michael Turnbull (Village Green) said he had received many questions about a rule about sports equipment that was reported in the February issue of WOW. He said many people had concerns that the rule stated that sports equipment was not allowed on the sidewalk during the day and if that was the case it was a problem for everyone – children who liked to play outside to adults who played basketball. Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz clarified that the rule was that equipment cannot be left outside when no one is using it. She said this applied to soccer nets and hockey goals not just basketball hoops. [Editor’s note: The rules summary of sports equipment in WOW’s February article was based on Section 1.3.11 of Westchase Residential guidelines which states, “Sports equipment is not permitted on any public street or sidewalk and must be stored out of view from any road or right-of-way between sundown and sunrise.”]

Ralph Caputo (Abbotsford) said that he had been noticing increasing numbers of signs up around the Publix and West Park Village shopping centers and asked if this was allowed. Collazo said this was probably not allowed and that he would talk to the commercial owners to see what could be done.

VMs adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

By Marcy Sanford

Posted 13 February 2017

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