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WCA Board Maintains Facility Age Use Rules; Honors Longtime Committee Chair

At their June 9 meeting the Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors honored Bridges resident Bill Flood for his years of service to the Westchase community and kept their current age use rules for Westchase facilities.

Honoring Flood, Board President Joaquin Arrillaga said that Flood had moved to Westchase in 1996 and, “swiftly earned the confidence and trust of the WCA.”

Arrillaga added, “The WCA unanimously recognizes Bill for his service and awards him the Westchase medallion.”

Flood served on the Covenants Committee for many years, including seven as its chair. He expressed his thanks to everyone who had served on the committee with him.

Percy Legendre of Bashor and Legendre presented the WCA’s 2015 audit review. He said the WCA was in great financial shape. He told the board that the WCA had done a good job of keeping Westchase financially sound while maintaining facilities. The largest expenses for the WCA are staff and management costs as well as pool and tennis maintenance. The main sources of income for the WCA are annual assessments and program fees.

Board Vice President Brian Ross thanked Legendre for being accessible to the board year round when questions or issues arose.

Arrillaga said it was time for the WCA’s five-year reserve study, which identifies amounts to set aside annually for the replacement or repair of large capital items. Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz presented a proposal to the board for a company to complete the study. In response to Arrillaga’s request for a motion to approve the reserve study proposal, Ross suggested the board table the decision until the July meeting after they had heard back from Legendre, whom he asked to review it.

All voted in favor of appointing Keswick Forest’s Heather Hessefort to the Covenants Committee until July 2017.

Government Affairs Committee Chair Joe Odda was absent for the WCA meeting because he was representing the WCA at a Hillsborough Board of County Commissioner Public Hearing on the half cent sales tax voter referendum. In a written report submitted to the board, Odda reported that the Public Works Director for Hillsborough County had sent the WCA and the Community Development District (CDD) a term sheet for an interlocal agreement between the county and the CDD to accelerate repaving of roads in Westchase.

The report also included a statement of position from the WCA concerning Flournoy Companies’ request for a zoning amendment to allow them to build a 214-apartment complex on land on Thomas Ranch Lane Road that is currently zoned for 66 residences. The statement outlined the WCA’s reasons for opposing the request, which include the additional traffic in an area already plagued with traffic issues and the potential overcrowding of Alonso, Davidsen, and Westchase Elementary. The WCA recommended that the current zoning for 66 residential units remain as is. Flournoy Companies has asked the WCA for a meeting to discuss the project and all its implications.

Odda also included information about the county’s plan to create no parking zones on Montague Street.

Sainz reported that Creative Mailboxes had agreed to donate a new mailbox to the fire station on Countryway Boulevard. She also said that there had been delays in the United States Tennis Association’s first grant payment due to a clerical error on their part and that there had been fraudulent charges on the WCA’s corporate credit card but that she was working with the company to get the charges reversed.

All directors voted in favor of Ross’ motion to suspend fines for 11 homes where the owners had corrected violations. With Arrillaga abstaining due to a conflict of interest, directors voted to impose the maximum fine and suspend facility use for one home where the violation had not been corrected. All also voted in favor to suspend the fine for two homes but reinstate the fines and suspend facility use rights if the violations were not corrected by July 6.

Directors also all voted in favor of suspending 90 percent of the fine for three homeowners whose violations had been corrected but for which the association had accrued legal and administrative costs. Directors voted 5-1, with Riefler casting the dissenting vote, in favor of suspending 90 percent of the fine for one homeowner who was present and said that he had not been aware of the original letter because he was sick and that the area where the sod was dead was very small. Ross told the homeowner not to misinterpret the fine as a judgment against his diligence. He added he had seen the property manager’s file with all the correspondence and that while he understood letters could get lost in the mail, the motion was a nominal way to recoup some of the association’s costs and that he felt obligated to treat all residents equally.

All voted in favor of denying the appeal and upholding the fines for one home where nothing had been corrected and the homeowners had not presented any evidence to support their position for not correcting the violation.

Violations included not having the correct number of trees, unauthorized fencing, discolored sidewalks and houses, parking in the street, dead sod, landscape beds in need of mulch, and basketball hoops left out.

All voted in favor of Ross’ motion to appoint Directors Joe Odda, Brittany Riefler, and Rick Goldstein to the Nominations Committee for the WCA Board’s September elections.

Goldstein abstained from a vote concerning landscaping at the swim and tennis center facilities on Countryway Boulevard but all others voted in favor of accepting Davey’s Landscaping’s bid. Goldstein said his neighborhood’s sub association had had issues with Davey.

Directors revisited Bridges resident Kristen DeAngelo’s request to remove the age restrictions at the swim and tennis facilities. At the May WCA meeting she told the board that the federal government had already set guidelines. “Courts have found that the only way an HOA may avoid liability for rules that discriminate against children is to show two things: (1) that the pool rule is rooted in a ‘compelling business necessity’ and (2) that the rule constitutes ‘the least restrictive means’ to achieve the desired effect.”

At the May meeting Arrillaga asked for time to present the information to the WCA’s legal counsel. Goldstein asked what the attorney’s opinion was. Arrillaga said that he had uploaded the documents earlier but passed out copies to board members who said they had not seen them. Bridges resident Pam Wilcox asked if the board could share the opinion and was told that they could not due to attorney/client privilege. 

DeAngelo asked if any of them knew why the age had been raised from 12 to 15 in 2012. Former WCA Director Mary Griffin said that she had been on the board at the time and the age limit had been changed because of multiple behavior problems. She said she had called neighboring HOAs before the meeting and that most had set an age limit of 15 years.

Ross told DeAngelo that while her position was legally based, the WCA legal counsel’s opinion was that the WCA was in good standing. He suggested that she have her lawyer call the WCA’s lawyer to work things out. Wilcox said that residents had children who can’t go anywhere but Starbucks and asked where they were supposed to go?

DeAngelo indicated that she did not have legal representation but said that everything she had read seemed to support her belief that the WCA was discriminating against residents due to their ages. Ross said that he was not asking her to incur legal expenses. Goldstein said that because her request included so many legal assertions, the WCA felt it had to get legal advice and that the WCA’s legal opinion was that the guidelines in place were acceptable. Arrillaga thanked her for bringing the issue to the board but since no director made a motion, no changes were made to the current age limitation.

Stamford Voting Member Member Don Costello said, “There is one other thing you can do. There are three spots up for election on the WCA [Board] in September. If you don’t like what they think, get your own candidate.”

[Editor’s note: September’s board elections will fill four rather than three seats.]

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

By Marcy Sanford

Posted 11 June 2016

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