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VMs Pass Bulk of Document Amendments

The June 10 Westchase Voting Member (VMs) meeting saw 20 VMs taking their vote-casting role very seriously during their final approval of proposed changes to the Westchase documents.

VMs needed to because, according to Association Manager Debbie Sainz, only 820 Westchase homeowners completed polls on proposed changes to the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCRs) and Bylaws, representing just 23.5 percent of Westchase.

VMs gathered to consider 15 amendments to the CCRs, five to the Bylaws and roughly 16 amendments to the Single Family Home Guidelines. Each VM was given a tally of how many of their residents had returned votes on the CCRs and Bylaws amendments (Homeowners aren’t polled on changes to Westchase-wide Guidelines), and then asked to vote for the remaining number of homes in their village. This meant that for the most part, VMs decided the fate of the proposed CCRs and Bylaws changes.

While Sainz was adding up the votes, Cynde Mercer (The Bridges), who volunteered for the newly established Rental Committee, provided an update. The committee is composed of Mercer, Ahad Diba of Village Green, Karen Nelson of Traditional Townhomes, Ed Siler of Stockbridge and Kathy Carlsen of Glencliff. Mercer reported that the name Rental Committee wasn’t really accurate because, as she said, “Through our discovery, it is really not about rentals. There were only about 12-15 commercial owners, one who owns four or five units and one who owns four units. A larger number of individuals own two. Many own a home and live in it. In some pockets there is a high percentage of rentals. Seabridge Way has twelve homes with five that are rentals.”
Mercer stated her committee had met three times. “We hope to have one more meeting where we are going to firm up our goals and some suggestions that we have for the association. Our goals are better compliance with restrictions and helping VMs better understand the violation process – for example, what happens with each notice.”

When VM Mary Griffin (SFH of West Park Village) requested that Mercer refresh her memory regarding the committee’s establishment, Mercer responded “There were suggestions and accusations that there were a high percentage of rentals in Westchase. Some people were interested in looking into it. There is nothing wrong with a renter unless the owner or resident is letting the property fall to waste.”

VM Kathy Carlsen (Glencliff) added, “The perception is that we aren’t on top of how many are being rented and we don’t have leases in the office, which is required. Our goal was to find out if the WCA was on top of it and they are.”

Griffin cautioned, “To the extent that the leases are turned over, for years it has been a problem.”

Griffin suggested a one-time census of Westchase to establish a database that has been verified and work from that. She said, “We may have to knock on the door to find out. If we are that interested, that is the only way to do it.”

After discussion about the rentals closed, VM Carlos Quiros (Villas of West Park Village) brought up a resolution regarding paint colors. His suggestion stemmed from last month’s disapproval of Berkeley Square’s proposed paint palette. Sells explained that the idea was to make the wording very clear and put it in writing. Quiros’ resolution allows neighborhoods that had previously approved colors that are then deleted as part of any master color palette updates to continue to use those previously approved colors, but when a neighborhood changes or updates their palette, the new color palette would have to be a subset of the Westchase master color palette. VMs quickly passed the motion.

After completing the tallies, Sainz announced that all of the CCR Amendments passed with the required 75 percent approval threshold except for Numbers 5, 10, 14 and 15.
VMs discussed Number 5 in May because some homeowners were concerned about the association going onto their properties without notice to the homeowner to conduct maintenance during an emergency. Some homeowners also raised a concern about what constituted an emergency.

Number 10 would have expanded the reasons for the Variance Committee to hear variance requests for Modification Committee denials.

Number 14 would have allowed retractable awnings on the rear of homes.

Number 15 was the source of some confusion and discussion at the last VM meeting. In an attempt to allow subdivisions within neighborhoods like The Bridges, The Shires, The Greens and Harbor Links/The Estates to amend or create their own specific guidelines, the amendment removed mention of the word “neighborhood” and replace it with wording that would allow homes constituting less than all of Westchase to adopt their own guidelines, subject to vote by the homeowners and VMs. The change prompted some concerns among VMs and WOW Publisher Chris Barrett that the new wording would unintentionally permit even street-level guidelines.

All three Bylaws amendments passed and all of the proposed changes to Guidelines initially passed. Documents Committee Chair Dale Sells suggested, however, that since the CCRs amendment permitting retractable awnings had been rejected, the group should also vote down Guideline Amendment Section 2.1.1, which provided details about retractable awnings. A motion was quickly made and unanimously approved to unpass the Guideline change for awnings.

VM Ruben Collazo (The Shires) closed out the discussion, triggering VM applause when he said, “We would be remiss if we didn’t thank the committee that did all the background work. They did a fantastic job.”

After hearing there would be no July meeting, VMs adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

By Brenda Bennett

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