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VMs Hear Costco Presentation and Proposed Westchase Rule Amendments

March saw Westchase Voting Members hear a public presentation of the Costco project and proposed changes to Westchase rules. VMs, however, postponed a planned poll of Westchase homeowners regarding the rules changes for at least a month.

The first order of business at the March 18 meeting of Westchase Voting Members meeting was a presentation on the Costco development. Attorney Ronald Weaver of the law firm Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson lead the presentation. Weaver said that they had been working on the effort for five months and had done many things to accommodate Westchase and make the developer a “better citizen.” The self-imposed concessions discussed were:

1) Adding a new traffic signal at Sheldon and Old Linebaugh.
2) Using at least 30-percent brick and brick-like materials and using the distinctive Westchase brick color.
3) Having operation hours no earlier than 9 a.m. for the 25-year term of Costco’s lease.
4) Limiting left hand turns into the development from southbound Sheldon traffic.
5) Putting the loading docks at the rear of the Costco, as far from the community as possible
6) Buffering the development with a berm on Sheldon Road and landscaping.
7) Providing an aeration pond similar to those in Westchase.
8) Using three-inch caliper Cathedral oaks.
9) Locating the site’s gas station where it will be shielded as much as possible
10) Having pedestrian connectivity with Westchase-style lamp posts along walkways

Weaver also reiterated that they will not seek widening of West Linebaugh Avenue, which had been one of the biggest concerns of the community. Truett Gardner, who was introduced as Weaver’s co-counsel, explained the next steps. The rezoning hearing will be held June 2 at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the County Center. Afterwards the rezoning proposal will go before Hillsborough County Commissioners on July 22 at 9 a.m.

Following the updates, Weaver fielded questions and observations. VM Kathy Carlsen (Glencliff) said, “The biggest issue has been the expansion of Linebaugh Avenue to our community. As much as they say it’s not in the plans, what are they telling you?”

Weaver answered, “Thirteen years ago, Westchase succeeded in getting it (the widening of Linebaugh) removed and off of all county plans so they have assured us that there are no plans. We have no desire to revise that.”

Referring to all of the concessions made, VM Lee Cohen (Abbottsford) said, “We appreciate you coming in and it goes a long way for all of the residents and it means a lot because you could have done whatever you wanted to do and this shows good effort.”

VM Leslie McCluskey (Keswick Forest), agreed, saying, “Thank you. We recognize that these are things that you didn’t have to do.”

VM Brian Bobrovetski (Kingsford) noted, “I’d rather have a Costco than a Walmart any day.”

The next order of business was the initial approval of Kingsford’s Mailbox Guideline which will require homeowners there to replace the white wooden mailboxes with black aluminum mailboxes like those in West Park Village. WCA Manager Debbie Sainz explained that 75 of Kingsford’s 132 homes had voted in favor of the change. VMs passed the proposed guideline change unanimously.

VMs then turned to appointing a member of the Variance Committee, which hears appeals of Modifications Committee denials under specific circumstances. Westchase Community Association (WCA) President Nancy Sells introduced Shawn Yesner, an attorney with real estate expertise. Yesner introduced himself, saying that he has been a resident since 2011, lives in Kingsford with his wife and son and has another child on the way. He stated his wife is very involved in the community and observed it was “time for me to step up.” VMs unanimously voted to approve his appointment.

The final agenda item was a review of proposed amendments to Westchase’s Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCRs) and Bylaws, rules governing the use and appearance of Westchase homes and its governing bodies. Sells introduced her husband, Dale Sells, Chair of the Documents Review Committee to discuss the proposed changes. Dale Sells started by introducing the committee members who had spent many hours on these documents – Keith Heinemann, Dixie Mills, Mike Clayton and George Estock.

Sells explained that the last time the documents were revised was in 2011. He told VMs that any time that the documents are changed, VMs approve them initially. The proposed CCRs and Bylaws amendments are then mailed out to all homeowners, who have a chance to review and vote on them. Proposed changes to the CCRs require a 75-percent affirmative vote while changes to the Bylaws require a 66-percent affirmative vote of homeowners votes as cast by VMs. (Westchase-wide guidelines amendments require no homeowner poll.)

Sells explained a running list of proposed changes is kept in the office and an e-mail account was set up for suggestions. They also received input from committees and have reviewed all proposed changes with the community’s legal counsel. Sells said he was hopeful to have everything completed by June.

For a full listing of the proposed changes, please click here and here. Most of the proposed changes were simplifications and clarifications of verbiage and didn’t garner much discussion. VMs, however, discussed a change in the definition for what constitutes an emergency in Article IV, Section 2; the expansion of the association’s ability to lien homes for association-levied fines in Article XII, Section 6; and retractable awnings in Article XII, Section 32.

VM Ruben Collazo (The Shires) made a motion to table the discussion around awnings until VMs could discuss them with their residents. Sells said the delay will cause the mailing to residents to occur in May with a final vote being at the June Voting Members meeting.

VM Cynde Mercer (Bridges) requested that the real estate leasing issue raised by WOW be placed on April’s meeting agenda. VMs adjourned at 9:20 pm.

By Brenda Bennett


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