Few actions from Backroom Dealings aka "Executive Session".
- Development agreement with Presbyterian Hospital. Passed 7-0
-Something about park projects. Passed 7-0
-From the minutes: "Councilmember Scott made a motion authorize the city manager to execute
development agreements with Harbor Heights Investors subject to resolving the insurance questions, confirming the legal descriptions of the properties involved and approval of the agreements as to legal form." Passed 6-1, Councilman Sevier opposed.
This was regarding PD-32, part of the failed (regardless of what some clueless morons say) Harbor Project. This motion was to move ahead and spend $9,000,000 to put in infrastructure for a new speculative office building.
What you say? When did we start absorbing costs for developers? New to me, too. It is far beyond normal and customary practice for the city to pay for costs that are part of normal commercial development.
There are the defenders of this action (which was a deliberately ambiguous motion if you remember) who will say this will do "this" or "that" and bring in trillions of dollars to Rockwall and this will help the Harbor (why would it need help it it wasn't a failure as some state?) If you recall further the reason for the taxpayer "investment" into PD-32 was to increase "foot traffic" from new residents in homes and apartments...
Anyway what's really going on is political favoring and backroom deals at the expense of the taxpayer. Nothing is being discussed openly or honestly. No one will know anything about it until this part of the harbor fails and we'll be sitting on even more millions upon millions of debt.
Merry Christmas from the City of Rockwall.
Only Councilman Sevier cast the honest vote. The rest gave the proverbial middle finger, albeit secretly, to the rest of us.
III. Consent Agenda.
Councilman Scott pulled items 2,3,6.
Remaining items passed 7-0.
Items 2 and 3 regarded minutes.
Item 6 was Mr Scott's traffic light project at Ralph Hall and 3097. $31,200 for the project, not to mention the destruction of all the foliage. Reason pulled 12% - talk about the project, 78% - grandstand for the audience.
1. Planning and Zoning Chairman. Quite a few items, nothing reaching national security level, so I won't detail.
VIII. Action Items.
3. City renaming a portion of FM 3549 to Stoghill Rd. Sounds easy, but it was apparantly Grandstand Night at the Apollo, so Mr Sweet, Mr Scott, and Mr Russo blathered on for 20 minutes about how easy a decision it was to make renaming a street. Not quite as easy as screwing over the taxpayers for $9 million, but still pretty easy.
6. Renaming Caruth Lake to Raymond Cameron Lake. Mr Cameron has been a long time resident of Rockwall and contributed much to the city.
Also, as Councilman Scott noted, the city got involved in litigation with the Caruth family which "caused a lot of heartache" a short time ago, so renaming the lake was a great opportunity to show others what happens if you mess with the city. Watch out, Mr Hubbard.
2. Leadership Rockwall is going to build a Rockwall County dog park at Harry Myers. It was pProposed that it won't cost the city anything to build or maintain for one year. City will resume maintenance (the Parks Dept already does maintain the area in question) after the first year of operation.
Mr Russo commended the project and expressed how this has been a "need" for Rockwall.
(Quick question, does any politician really know the difference between a "need" and a "want?)
No money has been raised (around $11,000 needed), but there are many companies that have pledged support.
Few comments from various council including one jerky response from Mr Scott to Mr Sevier's comments about a previous motion from Mr Sevier to keep dogs out of the Kids Zone at Harry Myers.
The Mayor noted that it was a county project, but all contributions from governmental entities were from the city of Rockwall.
The answer was basically that Rockwall as the only city with any means.
Acceptance of project passed 7-0.
3. Presentation of City's Strategic Business Plan.
Truthfully, the girl who did the presentation was nice and professional, but the content was drier than a klejner.
V. Public Hearing Items.
1. Lady wants to open a B&B in one bedroom at her house.
-Would only operate Friday nights and Saturday nights
-She met all requirements for the SUP
-SUP would be reviewed in 6 months (basically, giving her a trial run)
Caused a lot of debate and discussion, but when it came down to asking the neighbors' opinion (via 14 or so mailed inquiries), 5 supported (all on her cul-du-sac), 3 opposed (actually 4 opposed, but ANONYMOUS RESPONSES ARE NOT CONSIDERED UNLESS THEY ARE MENTIONED DURING DELIBERATION THEREBY SKEWING THE OBJECTIVITY OF THE DISCUSSION).
The 3 opposition came from one residence on another street and 2 from Lake Pointe Church (2 of the churches soccer fields were in the notification zone).
Mathematically speaking 5 for, 2 against. And the non responses are tacit acceptance, therefore affirmative votes. Not that anyone on council cares enough to know that.
Not quite the 50% opposition Mr Scott and Mr Sweet kept espousing, but lawyers don't need math and muffins always come in 12's, so math ain't a daily brain battler for these two.
In the end the neighbors' opinion was not considered and Mr Scott didn't believe anyone would stay in a B&B near a Target and Home Depot and gave several other subjective reasons why he opposed.
Mr Sweet concurred with Mr Scott by taking out a small tape recorder and just before playing back into the microphone what Mr Scott finished saying seconds before He said, "And my personal opinion of this is:
Mr Russo asked from whom the anonymous opposition came.
Mayor Pro Tem Farris and Councilmember Nielsen were the only ones who wanted to give the chance to see how it would play for the next 6 months. Failed 5-2.
2. Rezoning of some land from Ag to Commercial. Continued to January 18th.
3. Guy wants to open a bail bond place and needs an SUP. Passed 7-0.
4. New McDonald's by Tom Thumb needs drive-thru (will be a double drive-thru) approval. Got it 7-0.
VI. Site Plans/Plats.
1. New bank going in by Home Depot doesn't meet the masonry standard of monotony. This time the masonry standard wasn't important and the exception was granted 7-0.
(Mr Scott left at this point.)
VII. Action Items.
1. Sign variance for new JoAnn store. Passed 6-0.
2. Annexation item postponed to January 18th.
4. Contract for vet to fix animals at the animal clinic. Passed 6-0.
5. No idea, something vague about Chandler's Landing. Probably something about spending a was of taxpayers money. Passed 6-0.
7. State law forcing the city to change the employee benefits due to population change. Passed 6-0.
8. Big damned electronic sign to let folks who drive passed the sign know when community events are happening.
Gonna cost somewhere between $40k and $100k and no one can agree where to put it.
I've got a suggestion where to put it.