WCA Directors Discuss Board Member Replacement and Deed Restriction Enforcement

The Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors used the online platform Zoom to host their April meeting. The open forum was suspended and there were a few glitches with internet connection but otherwise it was business as usual.

All directors voted in favor of the consent agenda, which included suspension of use and voting rights for delinquent accounts, holding off on any new violations but continuing to process existing ones, and a resolution authorizing electronic voting. WCA President Shawn Yesner said that authorizing the electronic voting was one of the main reasons for holding the meeting. “If we had not had the April meeting, we would have had to re-mail the ballots to residents at a cost of several thousand dollars.”

Directors also ratified votes they had cast via email including one to temporarily suspend inspections. The association will also continue to pay all staff at pools/courts during closure, temporarily postpone legal collections on current 2020 delinquent owners (does not include those already at legal) and refund the fees paid by Pipeline, which rents the pool its swim team, for the time they could not use the pool. Yesner said they had contacted Pipeline to make sure that they were not charging residents for unheld practices.

Community Association Manager (CAM) Debbie Sainz reported that Facilities Manager Kelly Shires and staff had been maintaining the facilities and that tennis fencing had been installed. Sainz added that renovations and resurfacing of the tennis courts at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center on Countryway had been put on hold while they were waiting for supplies to be delivered. She said that Shires had submitted a report proposing a limited reopening of the facilities once the county lifted its safer-at-home policies. The limited reopening would include limitations on the number of residents that could be in the pools or on the tennis courts at the same time and the amount of time they could use the facilities. The facilities would be open only for residents, restricting guests and nannies. Toddler pools, the Village pool slide and bathrooms would remain closed and no one would be allowed to hang out on the pool decks. In his report Shires recommended cancelling the Masters Swim Program and Summer Camp 2020 and keeping water fountains turned off.

All directors commended Shires for his thorough report but Yesner said he had a concern about the bathrooms. “I understand why to keep the bathrooms closed, but what will people do if they need to use the bathroom?” he asked.

Director Ruben Collazo said, “I was going to ask the same thing. Maybe we include that it is at discretion of staff to open a bathroom in an emergency.”

But Director Michele Del Sordo expressed discomfort with the proposed bathroom policy. “I don’t know if it is up to someone else to determine if you can use the bathroom or not. I don’t know if I agree with closing the bathrooms.” She said that overall she applauded the plan but was not sure how it would be implemented.

Expressing her concern, Sainz said, “If we close the bathrooms, they will find somewhere else to go.”

Director Dale Sells asked, “Once the restrictions are lifted, do we need to be this detailed? Or once they are lifted, are they really lifted and things go back to normal without this step?”

Radcliffe resident Jim Wimsatt echoed Sells’ question and suggested the board table the discussion until next month but Collazo said they would like to have steps in place to get back to normal as soon as possible and Yesner suggested adding an amendment to give him and association staff the authority to reopen the facilities once restrictions are lifted based on staff recommendations and Shires’ proposal. All voted in favor.

A Keswick Forrest resident presented the board with an appeal for a violation concerning the color of the fascia on his house. He said he had moved into the home in 2016, the house had been painted prior to purchase and that when he received a copy of the guidelines, there was no mention of the word fascia. He went on to say that he believed that when the guidelines were updated recently, the updates included that fascia must be same color as the house; however, he said he thought his house should be grandfathered in because at the time it was painted, it met the rules.

Directors confirmed that the word fascia had been added in the most recent guideline update and Sainz confirmed that when the house was painted in 2011, the current colors were approved. Sells made a motion that given the circumstance that painting was approved and completed in 2011, the house purchased in 2016 and the language changed in 2018, that the current paint job be allowed to stay, but have to be in compliance if repainted. The motion also waived the fine except for $100. When Director Keith Heinemann asked why the board would charge the homeowner $100, Sells said it was due to precedent and the processes that had already taken place. All directors voted in favor of Sells’ motion.

Directors approved a Harbor Links resident’s request for more time to complete the roofing on his home, since the project has been held up while waiting for tile to be delivered.

Yesner reported that WCA Directors and Government Affair Committee (GAC) Chair Rick Goldstein had resigned and Goldstein had suggested Radcliffe resident Eric Holt as his replacement. Yesner said that the board was able to appoint someone to complete Goldstein’s term through September 2021. He said, “We could go with Rick’s recommendation of Eric or I looked at the election results, and Jim Wimsatt received the most votes after Rick or we could open it up to the community. The last two times this has happened, the board has appointed someone, but the spot was opened up to the community and anyone who wanted to throw their hat into the ring was allowed to.”

Director Sells made a motion to appoint Holt to the seat.

Wimsatt said, “I think that choosing the hand-selected person from the board member is not the way to go. I think the voting members should choose, the previous vote should be counted or it should be open to the community.”

Director Heather Greeley-Hessefort agreed. “I think Eric would do a great job but I’m not comfortable with just selecting a person without opening it up to the community.”

Sells’ motion failed 2-4 with Collazo, Greeley-Hessefort, Yesner and Del Sordo casting the dissenting votes.

All voted in favor of Collazo’s motion to open the position up to candidates from the community. Interested residents should submit their information to Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz by May 7 for review at the May 14 board meeting.

Sells said he wanted to discuss the part of the consent agenda regarding temporary suspension of inspections. “We started that (temporary suspensions) with a discussion of basketball goals so parents wouldn’t have to put them away every night and parking on street but it has morphed into don’t do inspections at all. Our legal counsel has said we as a board have a fiduciary responsibility to uphold the standards in Westchase. It makes sense to give people more time to correct a violation if needed, but I don’t necessarily agree with stopping inspections completely.”

“I don’t think we stopped them as much as we said we weren’t going to enforce them,” said Yesner.

Greeley-Hessefort added, “I’ve had complaints from people in my neighborhood about parking on the street and that emergency vehicles would not be able to get through.”

Collazo conceded, “I hear you Dale but don’t think the timing is right.”

Sells responded, “I don’t have a problem with those two (parking and basketball goals). It is people not maintaining their property or other violations. Our staff is very good about working with people.”

But Del Sordo insisted the suspension should remain. “I probably have two violations myself right now—chalk art on the sidewalk and a sign in my window. I just don’t think it is the right time to be coming down on people,” she said. “It should only be for another month; it is a limited amount of time. It is the neighborly and right thing to do.” Greeley-Hessefort made a motion to reinstate inspections when the safer-at-home restrictions are lifted and all voted in favor.

All also voted in favor of cancelling the May garage sale. Pointing out that attendance had declined over the years, Yesner said that he hoped the Social Committee (whenever it is formed) could come up with some ways to revive and reinvigorate the event.

WCA Solicits Candidates for Open Board Spot

WCA Board of Directors decided at their April 9 meeting to solicit resumes from WCA homeowners interested in filling the seat created by WCA Director Rick Goldstein’s resignation. Under the Westchase Bylaws, the board has the option to fill the seat by board vote or leave the seat empty until it is filled by Westchase Voting Members at an annual election.

Interested residents are asked to submit resumes to Association Manager Debbie Sainz at before Thursday May 7 for consideration at the board’s May 14 board meeting.

Interested candidates must be WCA homeowners or the spouses of homeowners in good standing with no unpaid assessments or fines.

The WCA management office can be reached at (813) 926-6404 with any questions.

By Marcy Sanford

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