The Oct. 1 meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) saw supervisors approve a roughly $70,000 project to repair 670 feet of an eroding pond bank on the west side of The Vineyards.
With Lynn Adamson, The Vineyards’ HOA president attending, Field Supervisor Doug Mays and CDD Engineer Stephen Brietic told supervisors the bank had eroded six to eight feet in parts around The Vineyards’ boardwalk. Mays stated he had been watching the area over several years and with the new fiscal year starting in October, selected the pond bank as the district’s significant erosion repair for the year.
Supervisors voted 4-0 to move forward with the project. (CDD Chair Jim Mills was absent from the meeting.)
Brietic then stated he had explored bids for the repair and replacement of the decking on the pedestrian bridge crossing the canal between the West Park Village Swim and Tennis Center and Village Green. While he stated he had a bid for replacing the existing wood deck with wood, he stated he was waiting for another bid that would replace the deck with a more durable composite plastic product like that used on the Radcliffe pedestrian bridge—while also replacing the bridge railing and perhaps improving its lighting. Supervisors ultimately signaled they wanted to wait to see all bids.
Supervisor Matt Lewis inquired whether golf carts using the bridge were causing damage to it. Brietic, however, indicated that the bridge should be able to handle golf cart traffic but stated that supervisors could install bollards to keep carts off it if they wanted. He added, however, that pedestrians might not see the bollards in the dark, thus resulting in injury. While Mays stated they could explore narrowing the bridge entrance to prevent cart use, the board took no formal position on whether they thought cart use of the bridge should be curtailed or not.
CDD Attorney Erin McCormick then informed supervisors that her zoning research into district land between Stonebridge and The Vineyards indicated that the district could use the area for a community garden without rezoning. The parcel is currently zoned to permit 20 townhomes. Rezoning would be necessary for other uses, such as a district nursery, although it could cost nearly $4,000 to change its zoning designation.
“My instinct is it would be worth it,” said Supervisor Ross.
CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte then suggested that access issues concerning the property might be solved by the district pursuing ownership or the right to use the TECO-owned area, adjacent to the CDD maintenance facility. High power electrical lines currently run through the area. Supervisors ultimately passed a motion directing McCormick to resolve access issues first. The consensus appeared to be that gaining access would dictate the district’s potential uses and that would later drive any district decision regarding rezoning.
McCormick concluded by stating she was currently working through an issue with Hillsborough County based on the interlocal agreement the district has for its ownership and maintenance of Glencliff Park. McCormick stated that the interlocal agreement issue surrounded the district’s planned placement of a revenue-generating cell tower there but she believed the matter could be resolved by receiving written county permission.
Field Manager Doug Mays stated that district staff was working to resolved irrigation service to CDD maintained rights of way between The Greens/The Fords and Radcliffe. Mays stated he believed the system’s inoperation was related to the county’s shutting off of water in the area to replace irrigation line valves in the Westchase Golf Course. He added, however, that county staff cannot now locate the cause of the system’s failure to work. He stated staff was watering the area with a vehicle with a water tank and would work toward a resolution. He also stated that, due to recent health concerns about the use of weed-killing Round Up, Davey’s landscaping crews would begin using a different herbicide called Cheetah Pro in January.
Concluding the meeting, CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte showed supervisors a sample of black granite carved and etched with gold-leaf lettering that staff recommended installing on the Westchase monument signs on the eastern side of Westchase. It would replace the deteriorating painted wood boards there. She stated each sign would cost $13,000 but if supervisors and the community liked the look, staff could replace the rest of the community and village entrance signs over the next two to three years. After briefly discussing state bidding rules and issues surrounding the project, supervisors approved moving forward with the sign replacement at Linebaugh and Sheldon.
In other actions, supervisors unanimously approved an agreement with Westchase Soccer Association for the use of Glencliff Park’s fields for their fall season, running Sept. 14-Nov. 23.
Following up on a matter raised in September, Field Manager Doug Mays stated that all the Kingsford homeowners he had contacted regarding replacing palm trees with trees on the district’s street tree plan expressed a desire to keep their palms, which the district had planted just prior to the adoption of the street tree plan. He stated one Lightner Bridge resident had opted to have his single palm removed and not replaced with another tree.
Supervisors adjourned at 5:10 p.m.
By Chris Barrett, Publisher