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WCA Directors Name Stockbridge’s Joe Odda to Board

The resignation of Westchase Community Association (WCA) Director Edward Santiago, who has moved to North Carolina, prompted directors to name a replacement at their January meeting.

Named to the board was Stockbridge resident Joe Odda, who in recent years has chaired a subcommittee working to establish a dog park in or near Westchase. Odda had announced he was running for a board seat last September but withdrew before elections while citing health reasons.

Directors, however, opened the meeting with the resident forum, where Voting Members (VMs) Bill Dennis (Chelmsford) and Carlos Quiros (Villas of West Park Village) spoke about the proposed Costco development at Westchase’s eastern entrance. Dennis said that he had received responses from several residents concerned about the traffic the proposed development would create and Dennis pointed out that Westchase’s major intersections are already very congested during rush hours. He asked the board to look into what could be done to expand Citrus Park Drive.

Quiros expressed his concerns that the committee the board created to talk to the project’s developer fell outside the legal bounds of the board. “What happens if, when the developer presents his project to the voting members, they vote to not support the project? What are the legal ramifications for the committee who has been talking to the developer since the developer feels he has been talking in good faith with the community?” Quiros asked.

Director Dyan Pithers pointed out that neither the board, nor the committee, nor the VMs had the power to stop the project. Quiros countered with the fact that input and opposition from the Westchase community had influenced the county to deny Veterans Ford’s request for a larger dealership along Linebaugh Avenue.

Director Joaquin Arrillaga said that the committee had shared their concerns about the project with the developer but they had not approved anything.

Later in the meeting Government Affairs Committee Chair Darrick Sams reported that the Costco developer would meet with the committee on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m. and planned to give a full presentation open to all residents. WCA Manager Debbie Sainz has informed WOW that the developer’s presentation is tentatively scheduled for the Feb. 11 VM meeting.

Keswick Forest Voting Member Aaron Thompson asked the board if they would consider hosting a meeting for residents to discuss how foreclosures are affecting their neighborhoods. He said Keswick Forest residents were particularly interested in what happens once the association places a lien on a property. WCA President Nancy Sells said WCA Attorney Jonathan Ellis would attend the next VM meeting to discuss the subject and she encouraged Thompson to invite his residents to attend.

Sells officially started the board meeting with the presentation of the Nathan Lafer Award to Greens resident Ernie Sylvester. The award was established in 2006 to honor Lafer, a dedicated community volunteer. Each year it’s presented to recognize a resident who has volunteered to improve the quality of life in Westchase.

After the presentation, Sells reported that WCA Director Edward Santiago had moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, and the board needed to appoint someone to finish his term, which runs through September 2014. She announced that three people had volunteered to do so. Vice President Ken Blair nominated Stockbridge Voting Member Joe Odda to fulfill Santiago’s term and all board members voted in favor.

While Westchase VMs elect board members at their September annual meeting, resignations of sitting board members are filled by the board itself.

Blair then nominated Joaquin Arrillaga to take over Santiago’s position of association treasurer and all board members voted in favor.

Addressing committee reports, Arrillaga questioned inconsistencies in the Covenants Committee’s response to seemingly similar violations. The board agreed to table the acceptance of that committee’s report until they received clarification.

Sells said that a member of the Swim and Tennis Center Committee had resigned and they needed a new committee member not affiliated with either the swim or the tennis programs to be a part of the committee. Interested residents may contact the association office at 926-6404.

Dale Sells of the Document Review Committee reported that the committee has asked association staff, the Modifications Committee, VMs and alternates and WCA Attorney Jonathan Ellis for suggestions on amendments to the governing documents. The committee met in December, reviewed the items and identified those that required additional research. Committee member are now researching the amendments and will review them at their next meeting.

Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz reported that there were 725 violations in November – 350 of which were related to the new trashcans. Sainz added that staff was finalizing data entry for the facilities’ new hand scanners and had already begun enrolling residents in the new system.

All board members voted in favor of ratifying a motion to approve a United States Tennis Association (USTA) men’s team. They also all voted in favor of approving the ad-hoc committee charged with identifying the Westchase community’s preferences concerning the Costco development. The members of the committee are Joaquin Arrillaga, Darrick Sams, Ruben Collazo, Brian Ross, Nancy Sells and Jim Maloney.

Swim Coach Alex Richardson asked the board to consider implementing a $10 late fee for the swim programs. Richardson said that typically 99 percent of participants were more than 15 days late paying their program fees. When asked why he didn’t just turn participants away if they hadn’t paid, Richardson said it was because he cared about the kids he coached and did not want to have to tell them they couldn’t attend a practice.

Blair’s motion to initiate the $10 late fee for swim programs and have Operations Manager Kelly Shires look into other programs to see if there was a problem with timely payment was approved 5-2 with Pithers and Odda dissenting. Both said they felt the late fees should be extended to all programs. Arrillaga then made a motion to make Blair’s motion effective Feb.1 and to have the details communicated through the swim program’s social media pages, by e-mail and by printed copies to participating families. The motion was passed 6-1 with Pithers dissenting.

Richardson then gave the board an update on the program telling them the swim team averaged 60 monthly participants, up from 40 when he started. He stated the program would be adding more swim lessons and would schedule the elite performance program again this summer.

Board members voted 6-1, with Keith Heinemann dissenting, to rescind some residents’ swim and tennis center privileges for three months because they held a birthday party at the tennis courts and brought in an outside instructor after being told they could not do so. Shires reported that he thought the idea of the party was great; however, Head Tennis Pro Roberto Calla should be the one organizing and leading it, not an outside coach. All voted in favor of Sells’ motion to allow tennis parties for a $275 fee as long as they are reserved through the association.

The association has applied for a grant from the USTA for funds to help with the renovation of the tennis courts and building of a new tennis clubhouse at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center courts. Sainz reported that the USTA had found drainage problems with the proposed court renovations and a French drain needed to be installed to solve the problem. After reviewing the bids, Arrillaga’s motion to use Sierra Construction for the drainage work passed unanimously.

Sainz then reported that the pool pavers needed to be sealed at both pools. She said that the paver sealing typically has a three-to-five year lifespan. Arrillaga made a motion to use Exclusive Pools because its bid included cleaning, sanding and repairing pavers. All board members voted in favor.

The next WCA Board meeting will be Feb. 13 at the WCA offices on Parley Drive. Board meetings are open to residents.

By Marcy Sanford

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