January Voting Members Meeting

Despite stormy skies, it was a packed house at the Jan. 9 voting members meeting.

WCA Board President Shawn Yesner called the meeting to order and announced that Oldsmar Mayor Dan Saracki, who was slated to speak at the meeting, was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

First on the agenda were two proposed amendments to the Westchase Residential Guidelines, and an update to the Baybridge INSGs. Yesner said that Brentford VM Michiel Oostenbrink suggested the VMs discuss the amendments prior to voting on them.

“I would propose that after amendments are crafted, we have a meeting to discuss where they come from, who is proposing them, and why,” said Oostenbrink. “If we, as a group, can get a better idea of what is driving the amendments, we can make better decisions.”

This led to a discussion of an INSG specific to the Baybridge section of The Bridges that would allow residents whose yards abut a lake, pond or conservation area to install metal fences that comply with section 2.2.15.C of the Guidelines.

Castleford VM Mary Banks expressed concern that if a fence were to go to the edge of the property, it might be more difficult for lawn service companies and the CDD to access areas they need to mow. Bennington VM Russ Crooks commented that extending fences to the full lot line could impede other residents’ view of the ponds.

Radcliffe VM Eric Holt said he wanted to be sure that the residents whom this would impact the most supported the change. Dawn Gingrich, VM for The Bridges, assured him they did and that she had collected the requisite number of votes to support the INSG. Former Modification Chair Dale Sells said the issue arose because a resident of the Bridges wanted to install a fence to his lot line, and his request was denied. Gingrich clarified that multiple residents had already been approved to go to the lot line, but the resident in question was told that those requests had been approved in error. The INSG passed 26-1.

The VMs then voted on amendments to Section 2.2.13, which failed, and 2.1.12, which passed.

Voting members initially voted on an amendment to Section 2.2.13 during their Sept. 26 meeting. The draft amendment would allow metal fences that comply with section 2.2.15.C to extend to the rear Lot line on any Lot that abuts a lake, pond or conservation area notwithstanding any other provision in the Guidelines or INSGs. According to Association Manager Debbie Sainz, the vote was repeated during the January meeting due to low turnout at the September meeting. An amendment must be approved by 2/3 of the Voting Members present. Despite a larger turnout at the January meeting, the amendment failed to pass yet again.

The vote on an amendment to Section 2.1.12 pertained to the approval of Tricorn Black as an approved trim color (it was formerly approved for front doors and shutters only). This amendment passed.

Following the vote, Yesner said that, as board president, he had three projects he hoped to complete before September’s board elections: the RFP process, bathroom renovations at the swimming pools, and repairing the WPV pool deck. He hoped the next president and board would conduct a thorough evaluation of all the CCRs and Guidelines and revise them as needed.

Government Affairs Committee Chair Rick Goldstein took the floor to share plans with the VMs about a proposed crosswalk across Linebaugh that would connect WPV to Westchase Elementary School. His report consisted of several concerns he had, including the potential for people to park in West Park Village to use the crosswalk. He stated the county has not yet done any studies on the impact the addition of a crosswalk would have on local traffic and said that county officials told him that safety concerns were the primary justification for the crosswalk.

Goldstein then said the crosswalk would cost more than a million dollars and he felt there were more important safety concerns in Westchase that should be addressed first, like repairing the community’s sidewalks. He concluded by informing the VMs that county officials planned to attend the January 11 board meeting to discuss the crosswalk.

Yesner pointed out that six board members were present to hear their input and acknowledged he had not yet made up his mind whether to support the crosswalk. A VM asked how many residents are even aware that the crosswalk was being discussed.

Goldstein said during his most recent discussions with county transportation officials, they had agreed to restart the process from scratch. Mary Griffin, WPV Single Family Homes VM, asked whether the crosswalk was funded and Goldstein said he thought it was. Karen Ring, WOW editor, said she had spoken to county officials earlier in the day and confirmed the project was not yet funded.

Holt asked Yesner to take a quick straw poll, and a majority of VMs expressed opposition to the crosswalk. Others noted they would need more information to make an informed decision.

RFP Committee Chair John Mogge then took the floor to introduce his fellow committee members. Committee member Dyan Pithers provided a presentation that covered FAQs about the RFP process. Pithers stated the committee reviewed the existing contract, completed an analysis and update of the technical requirements, and determined a pre-qualification, bid solicitation, and procurement process to select a pool of qualified candidates to present to the board.

She added the biggest potential changes being considered are shifting facilities staff from the WCA to the management company; including additional technical requirements for property management capabilities; and the inclusion of a secure electronic portal.

Mogge then reminded the VMs that residents may review all of the committee’s work, are welcome to attend meetings, and may direct any questions to Mogge at jwmogge@verizon.net.

Mogge said that according to the current timeline, the RFP will be issued to prequalified and prescreened firms in March, and bids will be due in late May.

Yesner reminded the VMs that County Commissioner Harry Cohen was scheduled to speak at the February 13 meeting.

The meeting concluded with Stockbridge alternate VM Joe Odda encouraging his fellow VMs to regularly attend board meetings to increase their understanding of the governing process.

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