Residents Raise Concerns About Unleashed Dogs During CDD Meeting

In the absence of Chairman Matt Lewis, Supervisor Greg Chesney called the meeting to order and introduced himself to the large audience in attendance. He asked the attendees if there was a collective reason for their presence and Robert DeAngelis of West Park Village took to the floor. He wanted to bring to the Board’s attention a group of dog owners meeting each afternoon in the pocket park on New Parke Road with unleashed dogs. Deanne Blackburn of Parley Drive recalled an upsetting incident of one of the off-leash dogs running out at her own pet who suffered an injury after jerking away. Another resident described being chased by one of the dogs. The group requested that the Board consider putting up signage reminding dog owners of the County Ordinance to keep pets on a leash in public places. Outgoing Field Manager Doug Mays confirmed that such signs were present in other parts of the community and urged the Board to approve the placement in a number of parks to discourage this group of dog owners from moving their group from one place to another.  A motion was unanimously approved, and Chesney closed the discussion by informing the residents that the Board had looked at introducing a dog park to the community but this was, unfortunately, not a viable project due to limited space.

Another resident attended the meeting to request the CDD vacate an easement so that her family could build a pool. During her research, she discovered that TECO and the CDD have easements on her property. Chesney explained that it was highly unusual for the CDD to vacate an easement and suggested she talk to District Counsel Erin McCormick who in turn will look at the property appraisal information and consult with Engineer Robert Dvorak. In the meantime, he encouraged the resident to concentrate on getting approval from TECO.

McCormick gave an update on the status of the cell tower. Vertex had now been issued a $311,000 bill from Florida Gas for repairs to their pipeline that had allegedly occurred during the initial work, putting yet another delay on the start of construction. Alan Ruiz from Vertex had asked McCormick to pass on to the Board that he would make himself available to talk to them if they had any questions.

District Manager Andrew Mendenhall reminded the Board that they now had a first draft of the budget to review but they had a couple of months until it had to be approved. He did not see any big surprises but urged the board to generate a list of long-term projects that they may want reflected in the final numbers.  Mendenhall also told the Board that he was receiving an informative weekly report from the contractor overseeing the West Park Village Plaza Renovation. The Board agreed it would be very useful to see the report.

Field Manager David Sylvanowicz began his first report by thanking the Board and Doug Mays for showing him the ropes during his first few weeks on the job. He had a positive update on the  West Park Village Plaza renovation: benches, trash cans and brick walls had already been removed and the palm trees had been relocated to the other end of the park (which you can currently see being supported by stakes). The fountain filter and bricks had also been repurposed within the community.

He also noted the office had received a letter from a group of Glencliff residents asking that the blue and yellow canopies covering the play equipment be replaced. Mays reminded the Board that they had tried power washing the material, but this had caused damage to them. Supervisor Barrett was reluctant to spend money on them but at the same time did not want passersby making comments on them. Chesney asked that the office obtain a third bid and the Board approved the purchase of new canopies not exceeding $75,000 and that they must be dark.

Following another “leaf season,” Mays wanted to again urge the Board to consider purchasing a street sweeper. At the moment, the CDD budgets $20,000 to cover 6 or 7 sweeps a year. A machine would cost $200,000 but it could obviously be used as many times as needed, and the cost would be absorbed in five years. It would keep debris out of our ponds and drains. The Board agreed to see a demonstration before deciding on the purchase.

Mays went on to report that he had gotten caught in the middle of a dispute between residents over a conservation area. Thinking they were doing a good deed, a couple of residents had been pulling vines away that were choking other plants. But other residents were not happy that there was now and exposed wall. McCormick advised to be very careful when dealing with conservation areas. An untrained resident could cause damage to the area and she was hesitant that the Board grant permission. Acting as the mediator, Chesney recommended that the well-intended residents should schedule a specific time to do their work so that they can be “mildly supervised” by trained staff.

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