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WCA Board Defines Use of Tennis Cabana; Cancels Construction of Kids’ QuickStart Tennis Cour

Resolving months of discussion over the use of the Westchase Tennis Cabana, WCA Directors passed a motion to simply use the building as a welcome center on March 10.

In a meeting that saw tennis players question existing court reservation rules, directors also voted not to proceed with the construction of the planned QuickStart tennis courts for kids, which had been part of the association’s original Master Plan of facility improvements. Board members also elected to explore the possibility of association repaving Westchase roads using an interlocal agreement with Hillsborough County.

Many senior tennis players attended the March 10 Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors meeting to ask directors to revoke the rule that a resident only be allowed to book one tennis court at a time. West Park Village resident Anthony Fiorito told members that his wife, Carmen, had talked to other tennis players asking them if they were in favor of changing the rule and the overwhelming response had been, “yes.”

Fiorito explained that the reason for the request was that he and his wife were part of a group of seniors who played tennis three times a week. He said they typically had eight to ten players and needed two courts next to each other because they switched who was playing against whom based on the winners of each match. He told board members that it was difficult to coordinate the courts next to each other when different residents had to call to reserve them. He said that until a year ago the rule had never been enforced and one person had been able to reserve two adjacent courts. Many members of the audience echoed the Fioritos’ concerns about the difficulty of booking the courts and requested that the rule be changed.

Later in the meeting when directors discussed the topic again, they asked Operations Manager Kelly Shires for his opinion on changing the rule. Shires said that he greatly supported the seniors group and would like to see the group grow but he felt it was fairer if the rule remained. Other players, Shires said, would be able to book two courts at a time and the courts could potentially be all booked and then the seniors would not be able to play at all. He said there had been a problem in the past with people booking two courts and monopolizing the whole court and even booking two courts because they did not want anyone playing on the court next to them.

Carmen Fiorito told the board that the rule had not been enforced until a year ago and there had always been courts available and no one was having any problems. Another resident voiced her dismay that she sometimes called to book a court, was told none were available but would then bike by the courts and they would be empty.

Director Brian Ross suggested that a few board members work with Director Rick Goldstein, who has been working on a report about the programs, to bring a recommendation to the board about the rule.

Several other tennis players who attended the open forum told the board that they had read WOW’s account of the previous month’s board meeting and that they were appalled by the board’s account of an incident involving a group of children and their parents playing tennis. They said that directors’ description of the matter was not at all what occurred on the courts and that they felt the board should do more investigation into situations before making decisions concerning them.

The open forum concluded with a Woodbay resident telling the board he felt that the property manager was becoming more aggressive with the violation notices. He said he had lived in Westchase since 1997 and had never seen this level of pettiness. He said that the sidewalks on Linebaugh and Countryway were filthy and suggested that the board was responsible for those and that they should not hold residents to such a high standard if they were not doing their job.

The WCA, however, does not own the sidewalks.

Earlier in the day, the air conditioning unit at the WCA offices had stopped working. During the humid meeting directors were presented with an estimate to replace it. All board members voted in favor of accepting the estimate from Florida Heating and Cooling, which had also entered a bid to replace the unit at the facilities on Countryway Boulevard.

Government Affairs Committee Chair Joe Odda reported that there was a petition on http://www.change.org asking for completion of the Citrus Park Drive extension before Costco was allowed to continue building. He said the petition, which did not originate from the WCA, had an unauthorized picture of a Westchase sign. He said the Web site had been told to remove the photo but inquired if the association should ask legal counsel to sent a cease and desist letter.

Odda has been working to try to get the Hillsborough County to repave many Westchase roads. Currently the repaving of the roads is a very low priority for the county and will not happen for several years. He said that one possibility the public works office had brought up was an interlocal agreement. Such an agreement would enable advancement of funding from Hillsborough County to repave the agreed upon public roads. Westchase would pay the county interest only on the advance until the county could recover the entire principal through tax collections and budgeting. Hillsborough County Public Works would support Westchase with information on specifications and approved contractors. However, the actual organization and implementation of the work would be completed by Westchase. Odda said there were many unanswered questions regarding this proposal. All voted in favor of Director Ruben Collazo’s motion for Odda to form a task group to gather more information to present to the board.

WCA President Joaquin Arrillaga said that Truett Gardner, a land-use lawyer with Gardner Brewer Martinez-Monfrot, had told him that he represented a company who was going to file permits with the county to build a 218-unit apartment complex on land southeast of West Park Village on Thomas Ranch Lane, a private road off Sheldon Road. He said they were not asking for the board’s blessing but just wanted to let them know and asked if there were any accommodations the board would like made. Directors all agreed that there would need to be something done with the turn lanes on Sheldon Road so that traffic did not worsen.

Arrillaga also told board members that the 36 townhomes that David Weekly was planning to build in West Park Village only had one-car garages and 18 additional parking spaces. He said that he thought lack of parking would be an issue and that the street parking on the surrounding streets, which is already problematic, would worsen. West Park Village resident Mary Griffin agreed that it would be a big problem. Ross suggested that Arrillaga talk to the voting members for the sub associations in West Park Village to see if they could take action.

All directors voted in favor of Ross’ motion to reactivate the Document Review Committee with Cynde Mercer, Dale Sells, Mary Griffin, Ruben Collazo, Ed Siler and Brian Loudermilk as members.

Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz reported that the soil test for the land where the proposed junior tennis courts were to be built had come back and that the company had recommended several actions and steps that would need to be taken. She said that the contractor for the courts, Welch Tennis, had said that many of the actions were beyond their scope. A representative from Welch estimated that it would cost an extra $5,000 to 10,000 for the additional work. All board members voted in favor of Arrillaga’s motion not to build the junior tennis courts and to leave the current sand volleyball court in place, with the possibility of improving it.

Director Keith Heinemann, who serves as the WOW Board Liaison, said he had received several great resumes from residents volunteering to be on the WOW Inc. Board of Directors. He reappointed  Mary Griffin and Paul Jones to the board and appointed Ken Blair to the vacant seat. He said that while the other volunteers had great credentials, the WOW board needed someone with an accounting background, which Blair has.

Directors voted 6-1 to accept the new contract from Greenacre Properties, Inc. (GPI). Under the new contract, when the licensed community association managers (CAM) are out on neighborhood inspections, an administrative assistant will be in the office. Under the prior contract, another CAM was in the office during these times. The association’s contract with GPI will cost less because of the change in employee levels. Ross said he was voting against the motion because he did not know everything that had been discussed and wondered if “we are in the wrong model overall.”

All directors voted in favor of the renewal of the association’s insurance policy. The cost of the policy increased slightly due to additions to the association’s liability.

All also voted in favor of Glencliff’s distribution of excess funds and in favor of a new employee evaluation form.

Arrillaga announced that the Tennis Cabana at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center on Countryway Boulevard was approved for a maximum occupancy of seven people. Resolving the question of whether tennis players and parents could use it during lessons and play, Arrillaga said it was not to be used as a gathering place but as a welcome center. All voted in favor of purchasing a table top bar set and three chairs for the building.

While the WCA has no jurisdiction over Westchase’s commercial properties, directors voted to deny Westchase Town Center’s request for an LED marquis.

Arrillaga told directors that GPI was paying for a professional consultant to observe the tennis personal, coaches, and lessons and submit a report to the board.

The WCA is the first governing group to look at homeowner fines and determine if they should be levied or not levied. All directors (except Ross, who recused himself due to a conflict) voted in favor of a motion to suspend fines for 30 homes where the owners had corrected their violations and impose the maximum fine and suspend facility use for 10 homes where the violations had not been corrected. All directors also voted in favor of motions to suspend fines for six homes but reinstate them and suspend facility use if the violations are not corrected by April 3. Directors tabled three violations until the next meeting to give residents the opportunity to appeal for a Modifications Committee approval. Violations included not having the correct number of trees, unauthorized fencing, discolored sidewalks, driveways, and houses, dead palm trees and sod, and mailboxes in need of repairs. 

The next board meeting is scheduled for April 14, at 7 p.m., at the WCA Offices at 10049 Parley Dr.

By Marcy Sanford

Posted 15 March 2016

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