VMs Discuss New Notice Requirement for Guideline Amendments

At their May 11 meeting, Westchase Voting Members learned of a new, expensive requirement for noticing the community about neighborhood guideline amendments that left Bridges VM Dawn Gingrich notably frustrated.

Guidelines consist of rules for homes and yards that can apply to the entire community or specific subdivisions.

Gingrich, a new VM, has spent the last few months navigating the increasingly complicated neighborhood guideline amendment process to usher a new rule in for The Bridges aimed at allowing bronze pool enclosures without restrictions. She previously complained that the association and its management team kept shifting the rules compared to previous guideline changes.

Gingrich was surprised to learn that the proposed Bridges amendment, which she thought would see its first of two required approvals, was not placed on the meeting agenda. Instead, WCA President Shawn Yesner made two announcements. First, WCA Attorney Jon Ellis had recommended that VMs abandon their April attempts to increase fees for the Variance Committee, which hears appeals to Modification Committee denials. Yesner stated Ellis had recommended not making the process appear punitive.

Second, Yesner stated The Bridges guideline amendment wasn’t on the agenda because Ellis recommended that all guideline amendments going forward had to be noticed to all Westchase homeowners via snail mail, which, WCA Manager Debbie Sainz, would require two mailings at $2,900 each.

The fact that this announcement occurred moments after VMs unanimously gave their second of two required votes to a new West Park Village Townhome guideline for paint colors did not sit well with Gingrich, who asked why the line was being drawn prior to the Bridges amendment when she had homeowners already anticipating the change. “I feel something here is very unfair,” she said.

While Yesner acknowledged the attorney’s new requirement could prove problematic for all recently approved guidelines should any homeowner contest them, he added Gingrich could make a motion for VMs to consider the Bridges change. Gingrich, however, did not, later stating to WOW that, lacking advanced notice, she was unsure if a defeat by VMs who wished to follow the attorney’s advice would negate all her petition signatures and force her to start the process over.

A small number of VMs debated for 30 minutes over the best way forward, with VM Mary Griffin (Single Family Homes of WPV) ultimately making a motion embracing Association Manager’ Debbie Sainz’s recommendation, which Gingrich also criticized for delaying the matter, that the Bridges amendment, along with four other neighborhood amendments, be collectively noticed by mail (to reduce mailing costs) for the July and October meetings.

Yesner committed to revisiting the scheduling of future guideline amendments in the new year after a new budget is adopted.

In other actions, VMs appointed VM Jeff Clemente (WPV Townhomes) to the Variance Committee and Fords residents Greg Cummings and Jack Maurer as alternates to the same committee.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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