WCA Board Approves Swim Team Rental Contract; Discusses Pool Slide Staffing

The Nov. 18 Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board meeting saw directors tackle a number of deed restriction fine appeals, briefly debate the future of the pool slide and approve a new contract extension for Pipeline, the swim team renting the association’s pool.

The meeting, which saw the absence of Director Keith Heinemann, opened with a resident forum that saw Bennington residents Susan and Robert Mackey request the designation of permanent pickleball courts. Robert Mackey observed, “Utilization is quite high.”

WCA President Shawn Yesner responded, “We’ve been talking about it,” he said. “Emails have been kicking around.”

After approving the consent agenda, consisting of the previous meeting’s minutes and the Glencliff neighborhood management budget, Yesner turned to resident violations and fine appeals. A Greendale resident spoke and learned that if his violation for parking on his front grass did not reoccur within 90 days, the pending $1,000 fine would be waived. A Radcliffe resident who corrected weed issues also saw the board waive his pending $1,000 fine. Expressing frustration, a Stockbridge homeowner, cited for a damaged driveway, stated he had made a good faith effort to repair the cracked portion he thought he was cited for only to learn he was being cited for an uneven driveway panel. Directors agreed to table the fine for 90 days to give the homeowner more time to address the violation, with Director Dale Sells emphasizing the objective was not to force a costly fix and suggested the homeowner might simply grind down the raised portion. The three motions were unanimous.

A Fords homeowner and Radcliffe homeowner saw slightly different 4-2 board votes. The former, appealing an already levied fine for a fence and the latter appealing a levied fine for grass issues, saw Director Eric Holt suggest the fines be waived because the homeowners had brought the issues into rules compliance. Directors Joaquin Arrillaga and Dale Sells, however, voted in opposition to Holt’s motion while citing the precedent that the board retained 10 percent of already levied fines – generally $100 – to cover the association’s costs for administering the matters.

Coach Patrick Piper of Pipeline Swimming then appeared before the board regarding the swim team’s rental agreement for the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center pool on Countryway Boulevard. “All I hear is good things about Pipeline,” remarked Yesner.

After Piper detailed the swim fee structure, Director Eric Holt stated he had looked at the overall cost of pool maintenance and observed the team’s current rental agreement at $900 per month, which has been the same over two years, covers a small fraction of it. “I don’t think it’s excessive if we do a five or ten percent increase,” said Holt. “We do a lot to provide his for-profit business with an extremely generous rate.”

Holt’s motion to raise the rental fee 10 percent, however, saw Director Jim Brinker counter, “I would propose five percent instead of 10 percent.”

Holt’s motion failed 2-4, with only Holt and Arrillaga in favor. Brinker’s motion for a five percent hike instead passed 6-0, raising Pipeline’s monthly rental fee to $945.

Turning to proposed facility rules, directors discussed Director Holt’s observation, following discussions with the association’s attorney, that Facilities Manager Kelly Shires should not be suspending any homeowner’s facility use rights for pool or tennis court rules violations. “Only Covenants can do that.” Holt added Shires could simply remove homeowners for the day. Directors also discussed the pool slide and the recent determination that another lifeguard would need to be hired to enable its regular use. Holt observed that if the board decided not to incur the added expense, the slide would need to be shut down.

The discussion prompted Director Michele DelSordo to observe that the five-minute discussion of the pool, the conversation was largely negative. “I don’t think we can make that pool any less fun,” she said. “Instead of finding ways to fix problems, we’re just stating something is a problem.” DelSordo added, “We have children and they love that slide. So now we’re talking we can’t staff the slide so we’re going to shut it down?”

Director Holt, however, cautioned the board had not made a decision.

Director Arrillaga, Chair of the Facilities Improvements Committee, stated that improving the slide was going to be one of his committee’s recommendations. “We need to keep the slide open and make it more fun,” he said, even if it required the board to spend an additional $10,000 on salaries. “So we can have a more welcoming approach to our neighbors.”

Arrillaga added his committee would soon come to the board with its recommendations. He also added he hoped to have bids for the swim and tennis centers’ restroom renovations in the coming month. “The quotes are all over the place,” he observed. “We’re looking in the $150,000 range.”

When Director Yesner inquired whether the association should consider additional pickleball courts in the current sand volleyball area, Arrillaga said the idea was being explored but would be very costly due to foundation requirements.

After Treasurer Dale Sells reviewed the association’s financials, stating revenue was up $22,000 and expenses were up $20,000 compared to the budget, he praised Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz and observed, “The biggest expense is legal fees.” He added these were largely due to rules enforcement.

Director Holt, as chair of the Government Affairs Committee, observed that Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners had approved a new map for commission representation and it split off part of Westchase. “It sounds like a bit of The Shires got moved into District 2.” He added Commissioner Harry Cohen (Dist. 1) would speak to Voting Members on Dec. 14. Holt added the committee was also monitoring the impact of turkey vultures’ return for the winter.

WCA Director Dale Sells, chair of the Modifications Committee, observed that the committee made a recent error in approving a hedge, which he stated the committee belatedly realized must comply with living fence rules after the homeowner received committee approval and installed it. He suggested the board approach the homeowner with a plan, at the association’s expense, to remove the part of the hedge that violated the rule. Board members elected to discuss the matter in closed executive session at the meeting’s end, where they are permitted, under state law, to discuss matters related to personnel and potential litigation.

Director Sells, also chair of the Document Review Committee, stated that committee had already held a meeting and reviewed a long list of proposed rules changes, including one, the timing of holiday decorations, that was the source of widespread media interest that occurred late in the week of the board meeting. He stated the committee would meet Saturday, Nov. 20 after which they hoped to start drafting the proposed amendments, aiming to present them to Westchase Voting Members, who approve Westchase rules’ amendments, by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

Making her report, Association Manager Debbie Sainz stated that AB Tennis had purchased the association’s ball machine and that parts for the facilities’ touchless water bottle filling fountains shipped Nov. 19. She added a repair to a pipe at the West Park Village pool had allowed the geo-thermal heater there to function. “And the water is warm again,” she said.

When Director Eric Holt inquired about unfilled shifts at the West Park Village pool, Facility Manager Kelly Shires stated the cause was Quest Diagnostics’ two-week drug testing delays. Director Yesner suggested he explore other testing companies.

The board then unanimously approved a new Modifications Committee application. Director Eric Holt suggested all directors inspect the association’s facilities annually and that board members also create a schedule to assist Director Sells with his reviews and summaries of violation fines, from which, Holt said, he had learned a lot. Sells stated he would circulate a schedule that would enable each board member to assist twice annually.

Closing the meeting, Director Sells asked directors to get information about the Nathan Lafer Service Award out to the community in order to drum up nominations for the honor.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

Editor’s note: The original version of this article contained two errors. After the meeting, when the editor inquired what the annual Pipeline rental fee was, the management office provided the monthly fee, which was incorporated into the article as the annual fee. The above article has been corrected to reflect that the $945 is a monthly fee rather than an annual fee. The article also incorrectly reported a board vote of 5-1 to waive two homeowners’ fines for deed restriction violations, however, the board vote was 4-2, with Directors Sells and Arrillaga in opposition. The editor regrets the errors.

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