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WCA Board Addresses Tree Rules; Revisits Rezoning Opposition

Glenfield Voting Member (VM) Patrick O’Brien spoke about his neighborhood’s troubles with oak trees at July’s resident forum.

That forum opened the July Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors meeting.

O’Brien said that while the trees did provide fresh air and shade, there were many problems with oversized roots tearing up sidewalks and driveways, damaging utility service lines, and preventing grass from growing. He said Hillsborough County had recently changed their rules regarding trees and that they no longer allowed oak trees to be planted in new neighborhoods. He said that he had asked the WCA’s Documents Review Committee to listen to Voting Members’ tree concerns and to review Westchase’s tree guidelines. He asked the board to consider putting any tree-related violations on hold until the document reviews were completed in January 2017. He also asked the board to take another look at the minimum tree requirement. He said he thought that when counting the number of trees, those in the median between the sidewalk and street and along the side view of a house should be included. Finally he asked the board to look and see if there was a correlation between violations for missing sod and yards with oak trees.

WCA Director and Treasurer Ruben Collazo reported that the vending machine at the West Park Village pool had been vandalized and that the cost to repair it was estimated to be $1,000. He said that the net income from the vending machines since January 2014 was $1,137 and that he was mentioning the figure because the WCA might end up spending more money on repairing and maintaining the machines, and possibly adding security cameras than they were making from sales. Director Keith Heinemann asked when they were put in and why. WCA President Joaquin Arrillaga responded that seven years ago vending machines were one of the items requested by residents in a poll asking them what improvements they would like to see made and that the machines had been installed two years ago. All voted in favor of Collazo’s motion to approve the $1,000 repair.

Government Affairs Committee Chair Joe Odda reported that board might want to consider whether to continue to oppose, support, or adopt a neutral position on the proposed 218-apartment development at the Thomas Ranch site based on information from the development company (Flournoy Development) after Arrillaga, Collazo and he met with the company’s representatives. At a previous meeting the WCA Board had voted to oppose it. Odda stated the WCA representatives had shared their main concerns with Flournoy, including the potential overcrowding of local schools, increased traffic and aesthetics. Truett Gardner of Gardner Brewer Martinez-Monfort, P.A., responded for Flournoy Development that the school report stated there will be adequate capacity in the local schools; that the ingress/egress for the apartment complex would be lined up with a light at Old Linebaugh, which should reduce stress on the intersection of Sheldon and Linebaugh; that the complex would add less traffic than a Taco Bell; and that Flournoy will be preserving several grand oaks at the front of the property and will have fencing along Sheldon that compliments Westchase.

Director Rick Goldstein said that he still had concerns that the additional apartments would put a lot of pressure on traffic in Westchase and on Linebaugh Avenue. Director Brian Ross added that at the July 12 Community Development District (CDD) meeting supervisors had voted to join the WCA in opposition to the project. He said their main concerns were increased traffic on Linebaugh and potential storm-water run-off issues.

Arrillaga said that while he had been inclined to take a neutral stance on the project given Flournoy Development’s response, based on Ross’ new information, he thought the WCA should remain against the project. All directors agreed.

Document Review Committee Chair Dale Sells reported that his committee was still working on a timeline but tentatively planned to present skeletal language regarding proposed changes to Westchase rules to the VMs at their August meeting, final language at the September meeting, guideline changes at the November meeting, and Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCRs) and bylaw updates at the January meeting.  Ross asked if the committee was taking Mr. O’Brien’s comments into consideration and was told, yes, they were trying to take into consideration how to make residents’ lives easier without changing the ambiance of Westchase. Collazo thanked Sells for his work and leadership on the project.

Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz reported that there had been 35 home closings in June and 13 during the first half of July. She said they had received the $5,000 grant from the United States Tennis Association for the tennis court remodeling at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center.

An Abbotsford resident appealed his fine for not meeting the required number of trees and a Shires resident appealed his fine for incorrect paint color. The Abbotsford resident said that when he received the first notice it was January and he did not think that was the best time to plant palm trees. He went on to explain that he had also had a family emergency during that time and had overlooked a few of the notices but that now the violation had been corrected. The Shires resident said that he had painted his house the wrong color because he was not aware of the modifications process. He added that when he became aware of it, he found the paint selection process confusing and had therefore painted his house the wrong color. Now, however, it was approved by the Modifications Committee and was painted an approved color. All directors voted in favor of Ross’ motion to waive 90 percent of the violation fines and reinstate facility use as long as the remaining 10 percent was paid by Aug. 5.

Directors voted not to impose fines on 28 homes where violations had been corrected and to impose fines and suspend facility use for homes where the violations had not been corrected. They voted to waive fines for six homes if the existing violations were corrected by Aug. 10; they also voted to suspend fines and reinstate facility use for 10 homes if the violations do not reoccur within three months.

During a discussion about tabling a fine for a tree violation, directors discussed O’Brien’s request that all tree violations be suspended until the Documents Review Committee’s work is complete. Goldstein made a motion to hold off on tree violations until the board received final language from the committee but Ross said he would oppose the motion because he felt the board should look at them on a case-by-case basis. Directors agreed and tabled a Glenfield resident’s violation until August with the understanding that if the correct number of trees were planted by then, the violation would go away.

Based on a recommendation from the WCA’s management company, Greenacre Properties, Inc., directors voted to approve a proposal from Florida Reserve Study to conduct a reserve study for the WCA. Although Florida Reserve Study was not the least expensive bid, Shaw said it was her recommendation to use a company that had engineers and other experts on staff.

Directors voted to eliminate the pool deck reservation fee and reduce the refundable security deposit from $150 to $100. Directors hope this will encourage more people to reserve the deck when they are planning to have a party and not to just show up. There has been at least one instance this summer where a group showed up to have a party when the deck had already been reserved and had to be turned away.

Directors voted to increase the Master Swim Program fees in order to make the program sustainable.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. at the WCA Offices at 10049 Parley Dr.

By Marcy Sanford

Posted 18 July 2016


By Nancy Pease on Monday, July 18, 2016 @ 01:58pm

I absolutely DO NOT WANT development on Thomas Ranch Lane. The traffic is horrendous in Westchase as it is!
Thank you.
Nancy Pease
Greehedges Dr

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