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Haul away those hoops each night or be fined

Residents have 60 days to get used to the new rule. After that, it's a $100 a day.

By JANE BOKUN
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 3, 2002


WESTCHASE -- Basketball players, beware.

At Thursday night's board meeting of the Westchase Community Association, members voted officially to fine residents who don't put away portable basketball hoops each night after use.

Players will still have 60 days until that enforcement goes into effect.

"We want to work with residents and give them time to adhere to notices about the basketball hoops before we enforce our guidelines," said board member Ruben Collazo, who lives in the Shires.

The next step is for the Westchase covenant committee to approve a fine of up to $100 a day until payment reaches $1,000. The group intends to put notices informing residents of the new basketball guidelines in May's World of Westchase newsletter.

The ruling ends months of often contentious speculation about whether to cite residents who leave their hoops in cul-de-sacs and driveways when not in use. Last year after months of negotiation, Warren Kent of Brentford refused to remove a portable basketball goal from his driveway. He also refused to pay a $2,000 fine.

Kent contended that Westchase deed restrictions were contradictory on the point of portable hoops and therefore unenforceable. Kent, who is a quality engineer and has a 16-year-old son, said he had hired a lawyer to represent him in court.

The dispute between Kent and the board goes back more than a year. When he didn't answer a warning letter from the Westchase covenant committee, which reviews property infractions, Kent was fined $1,000. At one point, Kent agreed to take down the goal, but he decided to keep it up after studying the rules and finding contradictions. He was later fined another $1,000. The board rescinded the fines and put a moratorium on hoops enforcement until the rules were revised.

Board members Thursday night said they were happy to see the matter resolved.

"Thank God," said board member Harriet Meier. "The thing is, I don't want to hear the word basketball anymore. It makes me nauseous to even discuss this issue."

"And remember," agreed board member Kris DiGiovanni, "our goal is not to serve fines, but to get compliance to the rules."

In other business, directors suggested new members to serve on the World of Westchase newsletter's governing board. Patrick Bingham, James Dixon, Ken Morley, Lewis Patterson and Anthony Sanchez were nominated to one-year terms. The newsletter will consider them at a later date.

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