Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rockwall City Council 13 21 September

"Do not ever say that the desire to 'do good' by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives." - Ayn Rand

If only.

III. Proclamations.

1. Some ladies from the D.A.R accept a proclamation for Constitution Week. Or maybe it was a eulogy.

Ironic the world's greatest model for liberty and freedom would be presented by council!

IV. Consent Agenda.

8,9, and 11 pulled by Cliff. Rest approved unanimously by council.

note: The final vote for LRE zoning was part of the consent, surprisingly without any grandstanding. No multifamily included!

8 and 9 referenced new traffic lights going in at the corner of Market Center and Ralph Hall, or as I call it: the "Vortex of Stupidity." If you wanted to see what it's like to get through a four-way stop against drivers with the IQ of a carrot, better do it soon. In a couple months, even monkeys will be able to figure out when its their turn to "go".

11. Regarding the final platting of the Utley Middle School Addition, Matt wanted to know who else gets the privilege of filing the final plat after construction. Turns out, no one. Hmm.

V. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chairman michael Hunter presented P&Z commissions recommendations for the public hearings to follow. 1st four approved unanimously, 5th split vote 4-2. The reasons for opposition? Questioned location of the new facility as it is in an "entry to the city". Liked the idea, but not the location. (more on that later).

2. Fella wanted a waiver on some street improvement requirements, ie he didn't want to pay the city for something everyone else has to pay, around $20,000.

His lawyer spoke a bunch of lawyer talk for like 20 minutes, did well except when she accused a P&Z commissioner of a "flippant remark." Strike 1.

Matt asked some good questions, but unfortunately the citizen decided to interrupt his lawyer and started answering. Strike 2.

Then the citizen made a "wave off" motion to the council in disgust. Strike 3.

Glen made a motion to deny and it passed 7-0. And he's out (20k).

Here's a hint: if you are paying a lawyer big bucks to represent you, keep your trap shut.

3. Some folks from Law Enforcement Support Committee hawked some tickets to the Behind the Badge Appreciation Dinner at Southern Junction.

4. The city's C3 Development Process Team presented a method to help streamline getting a project through the system . Basically, one bureaucrat will be coordinating all the other bureaucrats.

VI. Public Hearings.

1. A couple need a replat for the "existing drainage and utility easement in the rear of the property." I think something about flood plain in there, too. Passes 7-0.

2.City changing a Planned Development to Commercial zoning. After an executive session, passes 7-0.

3. Another PD being changed to Light Industrial, only affects one guy and he has no objection. Passes 7-0.

4. Developers of the new development at the corner of Quail Run and 205 (adjacent to the CVS) want some of the residential to be commercial for a small retail strip. Several questions were raised, like why were some of the reshuffled homes put into flood plain. Did he give a good answer? Not really, but did admit they were having trouble selling those lots in the flood plain (just wait till they try and build on it!).

A former councilman wanted to know why there were no alleys, cuz when she was on council, they decided the city must have alley's so nobody would have to drive past someone's house and be forced to look at an open garage with a bunch of junk fallout out of it.

Passes 7-0.

5. Christan Brothers Automotive wants to put in a light automotive repair shop in front of the WalMart neighborhood market and next to the bank. They will keep most of the screening trees in place even planting more than they remove, there will be no access from 66, and they have gone to great lengths to ensure an attractive building will be in place. This will bring in property taxes and sales taxes for the city. They also require the owner to be local and spend 40 hours at the store and also be involved in community activities.

The representative from the company is probably the most "council ready" people I have ever seen. Excellent presentation, and had all the bases covered.

Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees.

No cars in parking lot overnight, no tires stored on-site, no painting, no welding, only "light repairs".

Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees.

The first to speak was a former city council man. He opposes it because it "doesn't fit". He likes the "idea", just not there.

The next fella to speak opposed it to"protect the quality of life of his neighbors and the city." He then proceeded to show photos of a trash bag behind the Starbucks as further evidence of his opposition. Also, the Walmart's dumpster gate was open. Then he drove around the Metroplex taking hundeds of pictures of other Christian Brothers that didn't follow Rockwall's codes and ordinances. He also yelled at a cloud.

(This city REALLY needs more activities for seniors.)

David, Matt and Mayor Cecil opposed because basically, they liked the idea of this business, just not in that spot.

If it fails on the 2nd reading, maybe we can get a developer to come in and build another mini-strip mall that'll remain empty for years while the developer takes a write-off. Oh, and the next guy will probably rip all the trees out and have access to 66.

Passes 4-3 to allow the auto-place to open. "The most pro-business council ever" I was once told.

Emphasis; Only TWO people showed up for the public hearing. A little birdy tells me a bunch of people who could have shown up for the public hearing decided to stay at home and watch tv and then complain about it after the fact.

VII. Action Items.

10. REDC budget passes 7-0.

11. Rockwall Technology Park budget passes 7-0.

6. Some in Lake Rockwall would like more time to comply with the city's utter disgust of trailers and RV's. 6 months given to comply. I wonder if the city will start enforcing this in the rest of the city now. Maybe we're just that special.

1. Some state law says that firemen or police (maybe) must have an adjustment to benefits. City Manager wants to make this benefit adjustment for all or some employees to be "fair". Don't remember vote.

5. City wants to raise water rates. Rockwall has some of the lowest rates in the region! (I guess this exclude Lake Rockwall where our bills are triple that of the rest of the city. But, I guess it's a small price to pay so uppity white folk don't have to look at my neighbors' trailers.)

Matt, Mark, David and Sevier opposed. (Were they the only?) Don't recall the vote, but City Manger Julie Couch I think was upset that she may now have to cut spending for some pet projects.

7. Budget something.

8. Budget and tax something else.

9. And another something about taxes.

12.Hotel/Motel subcommittee recommendations about something passes 7-0.

13. Motion to postpone a public meeting about the Shore's Golf Club.

2. Wild and crazy teens hanging out at the city-owned parking lot have finally forced the council to do something about hanging out in the parking lot. There appears to be a ban on non-parking activities on the horizon.

3. Something about the city's street assessment policy.

4. Update on boat dock repairs at the harbor.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rockwall City Council 08 September

Started with executive session action, spendin money it sounded like.

III. Proclamations.

1. City Secretary accepts a proclamation for National Preparedness Month. She asks who has a emergency action plan? No one. Guess 911 isn't enough.

2. National Drug Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Chief of Police accepts without any words.

IV. Open Forum.

1. Lady who owns Lake Rockwall and a bunch of flood plain wanted to talk about zoning. Guess she didn't understand the rules laid out by the Mayor. Repeatedly.

V. Consent Agenda.

#7 pulled. The speed limit on 205 is FINALLY gin to increase from "crippled snail" to reasonable.

Glen wanted it slower for a longer distance, Matt thought it should be faster sooner. Glen's motion failed 2-5, motion to approve as recommended by TxDOT passes 5-2.

Rest of consent passes 7-0.

VI. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chairman Michael Hunter talked briefly about P&Z's recommendations regarding LRE zoning.

2. Fella who has a perfect view of the park at Fox Chase doesn't like cars parking in front of the trees and pond cuz it distorts "his" view of the park. He would like the city to restrict parking from Summer Lee to either oak or Secret Cove. For those familiar with the layout, this is basically all the street in front of the park itself. He would like to restrict the parking to be from Summer Lee to Horizon on both sides of the street.

According to the complainer it is not about "who uses the park" it's about "cars ruining the look of the neighborhood."

Then for what was a ridiculous amount of time for discussion the complainer made a smokescreen giving reasons why cars shouldn't park the way the cars are normally parked. Claimed "safety" for kids as the reason to restrict parking.

Oh, he's a former city councilman from Arkansas. hrd to believe a (former) government official could come with such a ruse.

In summary: too many people using the park and the only way to reduce the patronage is to claim safety issues on the street. Huh?

The solutions? There will be a temporary parking set up near the park (preceded this guy's complaint) and make people park on both sides of the street to use the park. Because crossing the street is safer than parking on the side of the street as your destination.

Also, there need to be signs to let folks know when the park closes because people are playing basketball at midnight. (for real?)

This was brought to council 6 months ago (and shot down I presume?)

Motion made to send the arking ban to parks board I think, or maybe to ban parking. Who can tell sometimes?

VII. Public Hearings.

2. LRE Zoning!

Mayor Cecil laid out te rules: 3 minutes, don't be repeptitive, and don't talk about water (which is triple the rate paid by the vast majority of the city).

P&Z power point laying out the plan with P&Z commission's recommendations added.

P&Z Director stated that t town halls "many" had "varied" opinions on zoning. (And by "many' he means "all" and by "varied" he means opposition and strenuous opposition.)

Four spoke asking council to vote against multifamily.

Matt stated there has be a lot of "misinformation" about zoning. There was no "secret push" for multifamily. Especially once it was exposed.

The subcomitee wanted to make sure that existing renters weren't displaced once the city begins demolishing unsafe inhabited homes. (<--My summary)

He then claimed a market for renters was the same as a market for multifamily. Also, a developed property with multifamily was more valuable than a vacant lot. Valuable = taxable. Also, multifamily would not lower property values. Which is why you see such a push in the Shores and "buffalo" neighborhoods to have multifamily built there.

"Some thought after a voice was heard that would be the end." He was talking about yours truly.

He said he thought MF would be needed and wanted, it might be needed, but not wanted though.

He then stated this PD will increase the cost of living. Again:Huh?

Matt makes the motion to approve.

David mentioned those who fought MF in the past.

Mark mentioned "Neighborhood Emowerment Zone", can't just leave it alone?

Cliff thanked Margo for he "try and change your mind" tour of multifamily.

Glen then stated they like citizen input, and that "blogs" were spreading misinformation. By "blogs" he means yours truly again (possibly timeonehands on MyDFW blog).

Glen then stated this council is ethical and no special interest were considered. Not-so-special interest?

Mayor Cecil then noted that council took longer than public in the public hearing. No surprise here.

Motion passes 7-0.

Does that mean my opinions matched my neighbors' opinions all along? Hard to believe I might actually be more in tune with my neighborhood than outsiders.

1. Budget public hearing.

Nobody speaks.

VIII. Action Items.

1. Soon to be sign on Ralph hall needs a variance and got it.

2. After hours usage by teens at the harbor parking lots. City is going to do something to restrict usage very soon, restrict hours, etc.

IX. City Manger's Report.

-Cell phones banned in school zones and city must post signs (which have been ordered).
-Floodplain notice thingy in the works.

Cliff asked about the quadplex built in violation of state law that should have been dealt with by the county and is now the city's problem.

The city is going to allow it to become a single or duplex. But duplexes are violation of deed restrictions, said Cliff I think.

Glen then parroted the false claim that the HOA's allowed MF before annexation and used the deed restriction angle as leverage against the city. (As stated by the HOA president Joan Stanley repeatedly at town halls, there was no money to fight the multifamily units. Guess that didnt make the P&Z's report....)

Meeting adjourned.