June 1, 2020

Re: Impact of COVID Pandemic on Westwood Farms Amenities

Dear Westwood Farms Residents:

This communication from the Board of Trustees of the Westwood Farms Homeowners Association is being sent to provide information about how the COVID pandemic and the guidelines set forth by the State of Ohio will impact the availability of our amenities to members of our association.

Historically, opening day for our swimming pool has been on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. For many weeks the Board of Trustees has been paying close attention to Ohio Department of Health Director Orders and CDC (Centers of Disease Control) recommendations to see what would be required to open our facilities. These requirements have been very fluid and updates from the state have been frequent. An order was enacted on May 14th that dictates pools could not be opened prior to May 26th. Even prior to the announcement of that date, the Board of Trustees had already concluded that the complexity of the requirements outlined by the Ohio Department of Health to open playgrounds, swimming pools and other amenities would be extremely challenging to implement. Additionally, our pool management vendor, Metropolitan Pools, had been unable to hire and train lifeguards due to the State of Ohio gathering restrictions.

After May 14th, we had an opportunity to review the state guidelines for public pool operation, which we fall into, we very quickly realized they would be costly to meet. Metropolitan Pools, like many of the other pool management companies in Northeast Ohio, stated they would open and operate our pool, but were not equipped to manage social distancing requirements or the required bathroom cleaning that needs to be performed every 2 hours. As a board, we have a fiduciary responsibility to protect Association assets, which means that the use of employees or volunteers to perform these tasks was not acceptable. We set out to obtain pricing estimates to outsource the social distancing enforcement as well as the bathroom cleaning so we knew the ballpark cost to adhering to the state guidelines. If we only opened the pool for 2 months this season, the extra expense was more than $20,000 to comply.

Also weighing on the decision to open is the social distancing capacity limit (see further into this letter). Our maximum pool & pool deck capacity at any given time, based on the State of Ohio’s guidelines, is 48 people. With 557 homes in the Association, it would require involved scheduling and management of pool usage to comply in a fair manner for all residents.

Based on all factors stated above, in a best case scenario, we would not be able to open the pool until late June or early July. It is still our hope that with some positive changes from the State of Ohio, we can make that happen, but as things stand as of today, we would NOT be able to open the pool this season in a safe and cost-effective manner.

Association trustees also met with other developments in the City and most of them, especially the larger association boards, have all realized similar concerns and are waiting as well to assess what happens in the coming weeks and will not open now. Taking all of these factors into consideration, the Board reluctantly concluded it is not feasible at this time to reopen anything other than the tennis court, which appears to be lower risk due to the fact that the game of tennis, by nature of how the game is played, factors in social distancing. It should be noted that you may see the cover come off the swimming pool, but it is only so the Board can contract with the pool services company to do appropriate maintenance to the pool over the summer to protect its integrity for future seasons.

The Board will continue to closely monitor any changes to requirements or guidelines coming from the Ohio Department of Health and the CDC. If they significantly lift restrictions or other factors change that significantly reduce our risk, we will leave open the possibility that the swimming pool and other amenities could be opened later this summer. It should also be noted that the Strongsville Swim League (SSL) decided early in May to cancel the 2020 season as a precaution for the safety of swimmers. Again, if guidelines and restrictions change in a way that would allow us to open the pool, we intend to do so. A final decision on opening vs closing will be made towards the end of June and communicated to all residents.

We ask for patience as we all work together to promote safe practices for our community to protect the health and welfare for everyone. If you have questions or concerns about the Board’s planned approach for the management of our amenities to comply with Ohio Department of Health requirements, please
contact any of the trustees or call our Homeowner Hotline, 440-878-9052.

Brian Jungeberg, Tom Lang, Sarah Polo, Kris Jones, Jim Carbone
Board of Trustees
Westwood Farms Homeowners Association

As a number of questions have been asked, we have answered some of the most frequently asked below. Please also refer to our website (www.westwoodfarms.info) for additional information and links to the Ohio Department of Health requirements and CDC recommendations.

What would be difficult to meet the Ohio Department of Health requirements? (Aquatic Facilities)
There are mandatory requirements and recommendations that would be challenging and expensive:

  • Clean/disinfect public areas and restrooms every two hours using EPA-registered disinfectants, particularly on high-tough surfaces such as faucets, toilets, doorknobs and light switches.
  • Install physical barriers (for example, lane lines in the water or chairs and tables on the deck) and visual cues (for example tape on the decks, floors, sidewalks or grass) and signs to ensure that staff, patrons, and swimmers stay at least six feet apart from those they don’t live with, both in and out of the water.
  • Develop and implement a reduced maximum capacity to allow 6-feet of distance between users. The formula for capacity should consider the available deck area as well as the pool surface area, as often one is greater than the other. If water surface area is smaller than deck area, an additional limit of swimmers/pool occupants should be implemented to ensure social distancing.
  • Implement a reservation system or a time limit for visitors and swimmers to accommodate the reduction in pool capacity.
  • Ensuring that lifeguards who are actively lifeguarding are not monitoring handwashing, use of face coverings, or social distancing of others. This must be the responsibility of additional staff.
  • Use social distancing to maintain at least six feet between individuals in all areas of the pool.

Can we have pools in our own yards in the development?
All pools must comply with Zoning Code 1252.29 and the Strongsville Codified Ordinances 1458-2018. As a reminder, fences are not permitted in Westwood Farms, so currently, the only pools permitted within our HOA are in-ground pools with automatic, retractable safety covers. Per the Westwood Farms Covenants & Restrictions, any in-ground pool installation would require HOA approval. Kiddie pools are permitted, but we would ask that if you utilize kiddie pools this summer, please take them into your garage or onto your patio/deck each day and do not leave them laying in your yard or driveway when they are not in use.

Friendly HOA Reminders

Exterior Home & Landscaping Maintenance
We appreciate all that you do to keep the exterior of your home and your property looking clean and well kept. Thanks for doing your part to make Westwood Farms one of the most desirable communities in Strongsville!

Yard Signage
Please remember that yard signage, other than for the purposes of advertising
the sale of your home, are not permitted

Pet Waste
Please remember to look after and pick up after your pets
when walking them around the neighborhood!

Tennis Court Usage
The Tennis Courts are open for play, but please follow the posted rules at the courts when playing there.

Westwood Farms HOA Updates & News
Stay updated with all the latest Westwood Farms HOA news in any (or all) of the following ways:

Via text by texting ‘Westwood’ to 360000.
Via email by emailing info@westwoodfarms.info and asking to be added to our email list
Via Facebook at the Westwood Farms HOA Page
Via our website – www.westwoodfarms.info