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VMs Hear TECO Presentation on Street Lights

WCA President Ruben Collazo began the Nov. 13 Voting Members meeting by declaring a “drama free zone for tonight.”

Collazo thanked Rick Goldstein, chair of the Government Affairs Committee (GAC), saying, “He is the hardest working board member in Westchase” before having Goldstein introduce TECO Supervisor of Field Engineer Lighting Lee Isham.

Isham began by saying that all over the nation, everyone is changing to LED lighting and TECO is also going that route. He explained that they had filed with the Public Service Commission to get brand new lighting in our area, which has about 230,000 lights. He said that they do get complaints about problems with glare and can address those issues, but warned against people trying to fix it themselves. TECO has the ability to add shielding to these newer lights at no additional cost to the customer but they would like to batch them to lessen the expenses involved.

Voting Member (VM) Cynde Mercer (The Bridges) said she had noticed one or two being switched in The Bridges but wondered why they weren’t being done in mass to save money. Isham responded that currently they are switching them only when they need to for maintenance, but requests can be made to do them in phases. TECO would need an agreement that the lights would be kept for 10 years but if the community wants to change them in mass, they can schedule this.

In light of discussions that some homeowners had taken it upon themselves to spray paint the lights black because the glare was coming into their homes, Isham said that the community is fully responsible for vandalism to fixtures that requires TECO to come out and each light costs at least $1,000. He added that if people have issues with lighting, they can call TECO at (813) 635-1500 to report them. TECO can schedule a site visit and add a shield. The shield is aluminum and is inside the fixture itself. Isham also said that the newer lights do have more advanced capabilities that TECO is testing for such things as crime prevention, camera software and drone docking stations.

Moving on to new business items, VMs gave their final approval for the Storm Door Guideline for Stonebridge and the final approval for the exterior color palette for the Reserve at West Park Village Building 5. VMs also offered their quick, unanimous, initial approval for the exterior color palette for the Reserve at West Park Village Buildings 6 and 7.

Collazo then announced that the Voting Member for The Enclave had not shown up for more than six VM meetings, which requires a mandatory removal. VMs’ vote to formalize the removal was also unanimous.

Collazo then said he needed to report an unsettling and unprecedented news item. He stated that at the Sept. 11 the Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board elections, the association had a candidate who was not eligible. That candidate, Emily Harkins, did garner eight votes. To be on the board, a director must be an owner or the spouse of an owner, which she was not. Collazo said that had if she had been elected to the board, it would have been a major issue because everything done after that point would have had to be redone. As it stands, Harkins’ eight votes were tossed out and will not count. Collazo said that from now on, candidates need to be vetted, including those who declare from the floor.

Collazo also informed the group that Association Manager Debbie Sainz and he had tried to reach out to Grady Pridgen, the developer for the Westchase Station, planned for the southern side of Tate Lane at the end of Montague Street in West Park Village. Collazo stated they had been unsuccessful in reaching them. Goldstein will be meeting with the Hillsborough County in early December and it is one item on the agenda for discussion. The initial plan was for 38 to 40 two-story townhomes in the $400K price range close to the railroad tracks.

Heather Greeley, Chair of the Covenants Committee, made a request for a new committee member. She said that committee members must be an owner, not a spouse of an owner, and must have his or her name on the home’s title to be considered. The Covenants Committee meets the first Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. and the time commitment is about an hour or so monthly. The committee considers fines the association imposes for unresolved deed restriction violations. Anyone interested can contact Greeley at heather.greeleyhessefort@gmail.com or (813) 610-4364.

During the open question session, several VMs asked about the construction at Sheldon and Linebaugh. Goldstein responded that it will be coming to an end, but the county had encountered some issues when they were burrowing underground, which caused delays. Doug Mays (Field Manager) from the CDD who attended along with Sonny Whyte (Office Manager) explained that the CDD was not responsible for the re-landscaping of the median and added that the county would be replanting it.

[Editor’s note: While construction affecting eastbound Linebaugh’s northbound turn lanes onto Sheldon Road has currently concluded, the county has told CDD staff that it intends to close those turn lanes again in approximately three months to lengthen the turn lane. The project to extend the turn lanes was initially scheduled to begin in October, but the county postponed it due to construction delays on the sewer project. According to CDD staff, it was also postponed to avoid impacting holiday traffic.]

Goldstein also updated the group that construction of the Citrus Park Extension would begin soon. He also added that he had tried repeatedly to reach out to the owners of the commercial property holding the old 7-Eleven at the intersection of Sheldon Road and Linebaugh but had been unsuccessful.

Closing on a positive note, Goldstein thanked Mays and Whyte for all the work they do for the CDD, which met with applause from the meeting attendees.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:42 p.m.

By Brenda Bennett

Posted Nov. 15, 2018

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