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VMs Approve New Guidelines and Hear Annexation Pitch

The Nov. 15 Westchase Voting Members’ (VMs) meeting saw the approval of a host of new guidelines for Westchase homes

The session also saw David Weekley Homes pitch the Westchase Community Association’s (WCA) annexation of its new West Park Village townhome development.

WCA Board Secretary Keith Heinemann led the meeting since WCA President Ruben Collazo was out of the country. Heinemann introduced David Weekley’s representatives Kevin Kramer and Claudia Blali, who presented the annexation request.

Kramer provided an overview of the development and stated David Weekley had agreed to a number of stipulations from the WCA Board, including adding parking spots, following the approved color palette and landscaping rules, matching West Park’s street lights and signage and painting a curb for no parking.

VM Cynde Mercer (The Bridges) said, “I am very concerned about parking. That’s 36 homes with 72 needs. West Park Village is really short of parking already.”

Kramer responded, “They are going to have to park in their garage.”

Mercer replied with laughter and said that residents will use their garages for storage and won’t be able to park two cars in them. She added that kids come home from college, they will have guests and it will be a big problem. Kramer replied, “We’ve done a lot of these types of developments and they won’t have other options than to get their cars into the garage.”

Kramer explained that they want to join the WCA because Westchase has great amenities that their homeowners can share and they want to be a part of a well-run HOA. He said that Westchase will in turn benefit because they will be paying $291 for each of the 36 lots once they join and then, as each home is sold, another $291 in capital contributions will be paid. He added, “The other benefit is that by being a member, you have control over our association. We would not be able to violate the documents. We’ve already sent our documents to your attorney to make sure there are no contradictions.”

Referring to parking, Alternate VM Manny Parad (The Shires) said, “I completely agree that we are going to end up with a mess. The developers give us a nice song and dance then leave.”

A West Park Village resident from Cavendish Drive stood up and said, “I live further down Cavendish. You are not safety minded. I don’t know if any of you have driven there at night but there are no lights. It’s dark. For two months now, we can’t use that entire block.”

Kramer said that TECO took the lights down temporarily but would return them at the end of November after paving.

Anthony Mogavero and Kenneth Fata, who live on Cavendish Drive, complained that during construction the use of large machinery shook and damaged their home. Kramer stated their claim would be forwarded to the site contractor to examine.

VM Eric Holt (Radcliffe) asked, “I haven’t heard any arguments against them being a part of the association. Are there any arguments why you wouldn’t want them to be part of the association?”

VM Don Costello (Stamford) responded, “If they stick to their word.”

Alternate VM Russ Crooks (Bennington) said, “It is to our advantage to have them in so we can control things. You can’t stop them from being built so it makes sense to have them in the association.”

Modification Chair Dale Sells, speaking from the audience, said, “We reviewed their plans and they agreed to comply with the rules. There are some legal expenses but Weekley is paying for those. This is a one-off. It’s as simple as they get something and we get something. We just got their documents so we don’t anticipate having the annexation vote happen until January.”

The next agenda item was VMs’ final approval of the proposed guideline amendments, which they’ve discussed the last two months. Each had to receive the support of the VMs representing 66 percent of all of Westchase homes.

While Association Manager Debbie Sainz tallied the votes, Heinemann took the opportunity to explain that the community is looking for nominations for the Nathan Lafer Good Neighbor Award. He reported that the board had two candidates thus far but had another month to get nominations, which should be sent to Sainz.

Sells added that the Modification Committee was in need of another alternate. Residents interested in volunteering can contact Debbie Sainz at

After Sainz completed the vote count, she announced, “Every one of the amendments passed.”

Sainz then mentioned residents had received ballots for amendments to Westchase’s Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCRs) and Bylaws in mid-November and VMs will vote on those proposed changes next month. “At the January meeting,” she told VMs, “you will each have the opportunity to vote for your residents that didn’t turn in ballots.”

At their January meeting, VMs will cast the votes of homeowners who return their amendment ballots as the homeowners indicated on them.

VMs will next meet on Dec. 13.

They adjourned at 7:56 p.m.

Adopted Guideline Changes

At their Nov. 15 meeting, Westchase Voting Members approved the following guideline changes covering all Westchase homes:

• In a number of guidelines the word “may” was changed to “shall” to reflect the rules’ original intent; other minor language tweaks were also added to reflect original intent.
• The term “Side Yard” was defined for the first time.
• Rules regarding the use of planters and potted vegetation on driveways and landscape beds were added.
• The storage of all sports equipment, including portable basketball hoops, was banned from side yards; their use was also forbidden on sidewalks. (Street use is already banned.)
• Limits on decorative garage doors were further defined.
• Defined side and rear door design elements were included for the first time and clarified to include hinged or sliding glass doors.
• Porch, patio ceiling lights and garage lights must use only clear, white or amber bulbs.
• Roof vents must be gray metal, black or a flat color matching roof shingles.
• Landscaping screening must now be installed at least as wide and tall as the object requiring screening.
• Home and pergola paint color rules were further clarified.
• Retaining walls were permitted in some side yards for landscaping and erosion control only when there is no adjacent home.
• The rule governing two rows of plantings in landscape beds was clarified to remove loopholes allowing sparse landscaping.
• The required minimum tree sizes at planting (formally five-inch caliper trees) was reduced to six feet in height.
• Front yard tree rules now count palm trees the same as other trees. The number of required trees in lots with large frontages (greater than 70 feet) was changed.
• Rules for replacing damaged plant material were expanded to include trees and shrubs.
• Open and unplanted mulched areas were banned.
• The number of different styles of mulch used in a yard can now not exceed two.
• The permitted maximum height of living fences (hedges) defining property lines was raised from five to eight feet. The guideline language for metal fences was changed to clarify that they must be five feet in height.
• The rule allowing one citrus tree in the rear yard was changed to permit a citrus or other fruit tree.
• New language clarifies that trees between the street and curb are not owned by residents and may only be removed with consent of either the county or Community Development District (CDD) as appropriate.
• Placement rules for portable restrooms for homes under construction were added.
• Minor additions and subtractions to the list of approved trees and bushes occurred

The guidelines were also amended to permit the following, previously banned or limited items:

• Flags, yard ornaments, and porch wall art with religious orientations
• Small decorative garden flags no bigger than 12” x 18”
• Stamped concrete walkways between driveways and front porches
• Natural stone and cobblestone driveways
• Clear concrete driveway/sidewalk sealants in no-gloss, matte or satin finishes
• Power roof vents (subject to new appearance and size rules)
• Play structures within five feet of rear lot lines (previous limit was 10 feet)
• Vegetable gardens in rear or side yards (10 feet back from the front and screened from public view).
• Handrails on units with raised front porches and front steps.
• Natural gas fire pits with defined setbacks
• Curbside easement areas between the sidewalk and road can now, under circumstances approved by the Modification Committee, be planted with defined ground covers other than St. Augustine sod

By Brenda Bennett

Posted 17 November 2016


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