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WCA Board Revisits Covenants Committee Kerfuffle

At the June 7 WCA Board of Directors meeting, directors clarified that their mission was to treat both volunteers and residents equally.

Opening the Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board meeting, all directors voted in favor of Harbor Links resident Wendy Baire’s request to allow the Westchase Women’s USTA 4.0 tennis team to use the tennis courts despite not meeting the 50 percent Westchase resident requirement. She estimated that 25 percent of the team lived in Westchase. She added that it had been reported incorrectly in WOW’s previous meeting coverage that the non-residents on the team did not want to pay the $25 non-resident fee. “I was told we could not play and said that, ‘If we could not play, they did not want to pay,’ but if we are able to play, we will pay.”

Directors then tackled Director Brian Ross’ concerns about communication from a member of the Covenants Committee, the group that handles fines for homeowner violations.

After the May WCA meeting members of the Modifications Committee felt that the WCA was not appreciative of their work or considering their suggestions when evaluating homeowners’ appeals. Committee Member Nancy Sells sent an e-mail to WCA directors with a statement that Ross thought could be perceived as encouraging the board to give favoritism to the committee’s word over the homeowner’s word when considering fine appeals.

Ross said that since all WCA emails are public record, he thought that WCA President Ruben Collazo should send a response stating that it was the board’s policy to treat all homeowners equally and that volunteer service did not give anyone the right to special treatment. Otherwise, he said, he felt the email could put the WCA at legal risk. Director Ashley Wait-Woodcock said that emotions were very high after the meeting and that she took the question in the email to be rhetorical, not a legitimate request. Sells clarified that she was not asking for volunteers to be put on a different level than residents but said that many on the committee felt like they were under attack at the meeting.

Modifications Committee Chair Dale Sells, Nancy’s husband, said that the resident at the May meeting had made allegations against the Covenants Committee and that the committee members, “were not given the opportunity to talk.” He said that they did not say anything during the meeting because they did not want to, “ruffle any feathers.” He added, “There have been two incidents where the perception has been that volunteers’ work, opinion is not valued. The intention of the email was to ask the board to give volunteers the same treatment as residents.”

Ross said, “I’m not looking to make anyone feel bad. Lawyers can seize upon language and twist it. I agree with what Dale said [that] everyone should be treated equally. There is a mission statement that should be made that all are treated equally.”

Collazo asked the board what directors wanted him to do. Ross said he thought that Collazo could craft an email that addressed the concerns. “I understand their feelings. My intention is not to go after the committee. Just to clarify that we treat all volunteers and residents equal. There is no preferential treatment.”

Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz reported that Arehna Engineer concluded the cracks in the West Park Village tennis courts were caused by decomposing palmetto tree roots under the courts. “The ground settles and then the courts crack,” she said. All voted in favor of spending $1,650 to repair the cracks versus an estimated $100,000 to redo the courts.

Sainz reminded directors that budget season was about to start and asked them to forward any items they would like to see incorporated into next year’s budget.

Government Affairs Committee Chair Rick Goldstein warned everyone that the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office would ticket residents driving through the CVS parking lot to avoid the Sheldon/Linebaugh intersection. He said the new no turn on red rule was put in place by the Department of Transportation for safety concerns. He added he was working with the county to get a no parking zone established near Seafood Exchange in the Westchase Town Center and that Wait-Woodcock was working to get no skateboarding signs posted in the same area.

Goldstein also said that the groundbreaking for the extension of Citrus Park Dr. was scheduled for spring of 2019.

All board members voted to appoint Stockbridge Voting Member (VM) Ed Siler chair of the Document Review Committee and Keswick VM Brain Loudermilk, Bennington VM Russ Crooks and Chelmsford resident Paul Meyer to the Drainage Committee. Goldstein was appointed chair of the Nominating Committee.

A Fords resident said that part of the plants to screen his air conditioner were in place and that the rest would be by the weekend. Directors denied his request to appeal his fine but agreed to to allow his family to use the WCA facilities again because of the health benefits his wife received from swimming.

A Shires resident told the board that he felt he had been treated unfairly and differently from his neighbor over a parking violation. He said that after he received violation letters noting two incidents of street parking, he called Sainz and told her that it was not his car and that she said she’d take care of it. He then got a notice that his fine had been suspended and that he was on probation for three months. He said his neighbor had the same violation but that it was taken care of with one call. He said that another association employee had told him he needed to bring in pictures of his cars and proof of insurance and that he thought that was a violation of his privacy. Director Brian Ross told him that at different points in the violation process, things were resolved in different ways and made a motion to rescind his fine and use suspension. All voted in favor.

Director Joaquin Arrillaga was absent from the meeting.

By Marcy Sanford

Posted June 15, 2018

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