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Routine Administrative Tasks the Focus of October CDD Meeting

A remarkably brief 45-minute meeting of the Community Development District (CDD) on Oct. 2 dealt largely with housekeeping and old business.

Only three residents of the district were present, including two candidates vying for retiring Supervisor Bill Casale’s seat in November’s General Election.  Both Bob Argus, resident of Lexington Park apartments, and Brian Zeigler, resident of Sturbridge, observed the session quietly.

Casale opened discussion by stating he had recently met with a representative of FEMA to discuss available grant money to address flood control projects within the district. While describing the session as underwhelming, Casale stated the individual was going to sit down with CDD staff in the near future to discuss application processes and other sources of funds.

Discussing a recent public records request by what he described as an activist group, District Manager Andy Mendenhall stated he and Attorney Erin McCormick had successfully met the request. The announcement triggered a handful of supervisors’ questions about the district’s current policies on document retention and public records requests. Comments concluded with a request from Casale that Mendenhall draft a document explaining district practices for supervisors’ review and adoption.

McCormick then addressed current efforts to have the district accept the transfer of roads and other common areas from Saville Rowe, whose owners are already paying district assessments to maintain them. She stated that Bank of America had provided documentation that a mortgage on the properties had been satisfied, paving the way for the property transfer.

Returning to a Brentford resident’s September request that he be permitted to erect a fence on his backyard extending up to 12 feet into district property, Field Manager Doug Mays stated the CDD Engineer’s review of the matter made clear that the homeowner’s original survey was in error. Mays stated the surveyor had incorrectly measured the homeowners’ property line from the street rather than the back of the sidewalk. Upon discovery of the error, Mays stated he and the homeowner realized the proposed fence would actually not encroach on district land.  Mays, however, stated his review of other homeowners found one Brentford home with a fence that extended nine feet onto CDD land abutting a retention pond. CDD Chair Mark Ragusa requested the address of the home be provided to McCormick to address the matter.

In a vote of 3-1, with only Supervisor Ernie Sylvester voting in opposition (Supervisor Brian Ross was absent), supervisors approved spending just under $6,000 from Stonebridge’s reserve funds for the replacement of the neighborhood’s gate access box and the purchase of gate clickers for homeowners there. The district owns and maintains gates and most rights of way within gated neighborhoods, whose homeowners are assessed for the work.

A request from a fitness instructor to use one of Westchase’s parks for a charitable benefit for the YMCA also won approval by the same margin, with Sylvester again casting the sole vote in opposition.

Addressing the agenda for the November CDD meeting, Supervisor Greg Chesney requested staff prepare for a scheduled, independent audit of the district’s sprinkler system to ensure it is being maintained as required by their landscaper, Mainscape. Supervisors also requested McCormick prepare a memo explaining the advantages, disadvantages and costs of renewing Westchase-related trademarks recently transferred to the district and expiring in 2013.

Discussing work recently completed on Glencliff’s soccer fields by the Westchase Soccer Association, Supervisor Casale requested Field Supervisor Mays investigate the length of time the fields should be rested after extensive use to allow the grass to recuperate.

Supervisors closed the meeting by reviewing the recent grades received by Mainscape by independent horticultural company OLM, Inc. OLM’s monthly grade determines whether Mainscape receives 20 percent of its monthly allotment as “performance pay,” contingent upon the company maintaining a grade of 87 or above.  In recent months, the grade has consistently been 90-92. Mays reassured supervisors, however, that the OLM reviewer was known to be a tough grader. When pressed by Supervisor Sylvester regarding whether the landscaper was up to OLM standards, Mays reassured Sylvester of the OLM reviewer’s high opinion of Westchase’s appearance. “He tells everyone that others should like us,” Mays stated.

When asked to compare Westchase’s appearance with the other districts he manages, District Manager Mendenhall added, “This is the best I’ve seen.”

Supervisors adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher


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