Voting Members Approve All but Two Amendments to CCRs and Bylaws at July Meeting

Joaquin Arrillaga, vice president of the WCA board, called the July 12 Voting Members (VMs) meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

Arrillaga stood in for WCA President Shawn Yesner, who was not in attendance. After completing the roll call and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, all VMs present at the meeting voted to approve the June meeting minutes without any changes.

The primary business of the meeting was a vote on the 2022 proposed amendments to the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCRs) for Westchase and the Westchase Bylaws. Arrillaga issued a call for any votes that hadn’t previously been submitted, then, while WCA Manager Debbie Sainz tallied the remaining votes, he addressed the other item of business on the agenda: possible changes to the rules and procedures for the 2022 WCA Board of Directors elections.

VMs received a handout highlighting the changes to the election rules that the Nominating Committee recommended. Arrillaga advised the VMs to review them and explained that they would be voted on at the Annual Meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 13 at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center on Countryway Boulevard. He told the VMs that if they wanted any additional changes to be made to the rules and procedures, they should reach out either to Nominating Committee Chair Eric Holt or to Sainz.

Arrillaga then asked whether anyone had any issues they wanted to address while Sainz finished tallying the votes on the CCRs and Bylaws.

VM Dawn Gingrich of The Bridges mentioned that a resident had reached out to ask her whether it was possible to electronically notify residents of violations, or if the process had to be done on paper. Arrillaga responded by saying that he was unfamiliar with the Florida statutes governing the issue and wasn’t certain of the logistics involved, but that he would discuss the matter with Yesner. He also said that the association didn’t have many residents’ email addresses, which could make electronic notification difficult.

Gingrich then asked for clarification on the community’s violation policy; specifically, what determines whether an infraction receives a first or second violation. She provided an example where a resident received a first notice for keeping her empty recycling bin out overnight, then a second notice for the same violation one month later when she put her garbage can out too early. Gingrich questioned why those two separate incidents were considered a single violation.

Arrillaga said that residents who receive notice of the same violation within a 90-day period automatically receive a second violation notice. Gingrich expressed concern that the policy was not applied consistently. She mentioned that Sainz had provided her with a flowchart illustrating the violation policy, and asked whether it could be shared publicly. Arrillaga encouraged Gingrich to share the information with curious residents, and said that the WCA would post it on their new website.

VM Chris Jones of Abbottsford then asked Arrillaga what could be done to obtain the email addresses of more residents to streamline communication within Westchase’s communities. Arrillaga said that new residents receive a questionnaire requesting their email addresses as part of their closing paperwork, but that the WCA couldn’t require residents to provide that information.

Alternate VM Dyan Pithers of the West Park Village Single Family Homes mentioned that she is part of the Welcome Committee, and they receive monthly lists of new residents. Some committee members, but not all, ask new residents for their email addresses when they make initial contact with them, because the committee does not have a unified policy regarding gathering contact information, she said.

Arrillaga asked Sainz whether they could include a request for residents’ email addresses in the welcome packets that she sends out, and she agreed. He also recommended that VMs reach out to their communities’ Welcome Committee members and ask that they request email addresses when they meet with new residents.

After Sainz finished counting the VMs’ votes, Arrillaga reported that one amendment to the CCRs related to the Association’s responsibility didn’t pass by a margin of 21 votes. Amendment #7 “clarifies that units in a Neighborhood are responsible for cost of extra services provided by Association.” It provides that the association is not responsible for maintenance obligations imposed by governmental entities if such maintenance is provided by the CDD. And it stipulated that the association may, but is not obligated to, maintain street lights. It also aimed to remove a reference to exhibit that was never attached.

Additionally, Bylaw #33, which would have allowed the board to levy a fine when an owner has received more than one letter pertaining to the violation in any twelve-month period (even if owner previously cured the violation) failed to pass by a large margin. Documents Chair Dale Sells asked whether there were any outstanding votes that could alter the outcome, and Sainz told him that because they had reached a quorum at the meeting, the vote was final.

A complete draft of the amendments considered by VMs is available here.

Arrillaga then asked for a motion to accept the votes. Rick Goldstein of Woodbridge complied, and the VMs voted unanimously in favor of accepting the results.

VMs adjourned the meeting at 7:33 p.m.

By Lynn Gonzalez

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