VMs Hear from County Officials About Transportation Issues

The December Westchase Voting Members (VMs) meeting began with John Lyons, Assistant County Manager, providing nearby transportation updates.

First, Lyons explained the transit one-cent sales tax as a funding source which is still tied up in a lawsuit. It is scheduled to be heard by the State Supreme Court in February. The ruling would be within 30 to 60 days after that and, if the law stands, that revenue will increase county transportation spending. The Board of County Commissioners had also approved an increase in storm water assessments.

Lyons explained that the county’s priorities were maintenance, safety, capacity and aging/failing infrastructure. The county has already spent $1 million on road resurfacing and about $1.8 million reconstructing Countryway Boulevard.

Citing the Citrus Park Drive extension as an example, Lyons advised that residents could visit the County’s Capital Improvement Program website at httpss://maps.hillsboroughcounty.org/CIP_Viewer/CIP_Viewer.html for updates on any project. That site currently shows the Citrus Park Drive extension under construction, which is expected to last into late 2021. Completion is expected in early 2022.

VM Russ Crooks (Bennington) asked what happens if the court decision isn’t in the county’s favor. Lyons replied “Good question. One of the challenges was how the money was allocated. The board said that they had the right to allocate the money.”

VM Deb Guerino (Villas of West Park Village) asked, “Where is the money being housed? Is it gaining interest?” Lyons replied “Yes, it’s going to a bank and should be collecting interest.”

VM Rick Goldstein (Woodbridge) asked, “Is there any type of new technology for the sidewalks?”

Jim Hudock, Director Capital Programs Department, responded, “We realized that the trees have a big impact so we don’t want to spend a lot of money on the sidewalks then have the trees ruin them again. We’re using thicker sidewalks, so we use six inches instead of four inches [of concrete]. The tree roots have a harder time breaking through.”

Hudock also provided an update on the left turn lane extension from Linebaugh to northbound Sheldon Road. He said that the consensus within the community was to hold off on that project until after the Citrus Park Drive Extension is complete since that should reduce the amount of traffic on Linebaugh.

VMs also asked about the wastewater treatment plant off of Sheldon and Waters and were told that the flows have been transferred elsewhere. Currently there are no ideas on what will be done with the land that it resides on after it is shut down. The speculation is affordable housing, since this is a key focus right now.

Goldstein, who also serves as chair of the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) thanked Lyons and Hudock for their time, saying, “It’s amazing to me that the county knows that the foundation of a strong county are strong neighborhoods. People from the county has been very demonstrative in helping us and we want to thank you.”

Next up was a discussion about the proposed color palette guideline amendment, which was up for initial vote. VM Jeff Clemente (Townhomes of West Park Village) brought up two issues/concerns he had. One was the categorization of white colors for the trim versus body of homes. The white colors were designated body only but did appear in the body/trim combo columns. It caused some confusion. Clemente also noted that 12 colors on the proposed list were designated by Sherwin Williams as “interior only.” Clemente said he called Sherwin Williams about them and was told these colors are not designated for exteriors because they will break down in two years; normally, exterior paint will last eight to ten years. He said this isn’t a base issue, it’s a color issue. Clemente suggested eliminating those colors as choices. VMs voted unanimously to approve a motion to remove the “body only” designation from the whites so that they could also be included in trims and remove any of the Sherwin Williams colors labeled “interior only.”

The final item was to remove the Voting Member for the Reserves of West Park Village per the CCRs Article III Section 3(b). Charlotte Adams from the Westchase Community Association management office said that the previous VM actually works for the David Weekley builder, which, she said, has turned the role over to the residents, who have their own subassociation. She said the subassociation is in the process of organizing but when they have an election, they can reapply for VM membership.

The meeting adjourned at 7:52 p.m.

By Brenda Bennett

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