Friday, October 23, 2009

Rockwall City Council 19 October

Very short this one! I will of course give credit to several members of council who seemed to try and stretch out the meeting.

III. Proclamations.

1. Something for schools. RISD asked to do the presentation at a school (or all the schools?). Which school will be the lucky recipient?

IV. Consent Agenda.

1. Pulled by Margo. (Relating to minutes of meeting when she was absent) Passes 6-0

3. Pulled by Glen. Something about a facilities agreement. Glen asked what type of business and Cliff wanted to know if there was going to be paved parking. Passes 6-0.

2. Stone Creek development changes approved, 6-0.

V. Appointments.

1. Chairman Michael Hunter from the P&Z Commission. Mentioned P&Z recommendations for an SUP for some solar panels coming up in the public hearing.

2. Citizen's Police Academy Alumni Association thanked council for the quasi-police cruisers. Also, they presented a check in the amount of $277,929.60 symbolic of the 13,362 hours donated to the city over the last few years. Mayor Cecil, a CPA Alumnus, has donated more than 800 hours of his time.

Chief Moeller received a grant check for $10,000 to be used for various police purchases. So, the police department has to go out and beg the state or feds for grants? 10 Grand? That was about the cost of "dedication" plaques for the new fire stations. Sheesh. Glad we have our priorities straight.

VI. Public Hearings.

1. Some guy wants to put in some solar panels. Glen loves the idea and fully endorses it. (Why not make it easier then? Why do people have to come begging the city for something like this? Why isn't there at least an ordinance allowing this to be done by permit?)

Mayor Cecil asked what the expected return of investment would be. Since the homeowner is doing the installation himself, it will only cost $10,000, AND it will pay for itself 100% the "DAY IT GOES IN." That is a helluva lot of electricity!!!!!!

Glen was real curious about the estimated savings.

VII. Action Items.

1. Boat dock at Harbor project, allow the project to proceed. For some reason there was a waiver of some fire code, no one said what exactly. Passes 6-0.

2. Fire Chief getting some grant money to buy a new "brush truck". Again with the grants? As I recall the fire chief was the one asking for the $10,000 plaques. I'm no fire expert, but maybe plaques are as instrumental in putting out fires as a fire truck.

3. 3rd time for water rate hike discussion. Margo asked it be tabled since Mark was not present. She thought it respectful to honor the request of council members who ask that items be tabled when they are unable to attend a council meeting. Was that a dig at actions from the previous meeting? If so, Bravo.

4. City bout to do some wreckin in LRE. 3 house going down! This is great news...for the property owner. The city spends the money (around $2,000) and puts a lien on the property. All the owner has to do is wait a few years for the property value to increase to sell it and not really lose any money! I would even guess the city spending $2,000 will make the land more valuable immediately!

City Attorney Pete Eckert wanted to make sure the owners weren't present in the audience, and had the Mayor call their names. They weren't.

How much will this cost the city over the next few years if unable to collect? There's a BUNCH of home marked as demolishable.

5. YAC Bylaws approval. Approved.

Few things I like more than a do nothing government!

"To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world. The most difficult and the most intellectual." -Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Council will ban parking anywhere you like, just ask!

(also posted here)

Every has or has had a neighbor who has had people over to their house for parties or garage sales or whatever. Nobody likes to look out front and see strange cars parked in front of your house detracting from whatever view you normally enjoy. Or maybe you don't like the way cars park at other places, parks, etc. The city WILL change this, you just have to ask.

The council recently banned parking on Tubbs in front of the Park at Fox Chase from Summer Lee, on both side to Oak and Secret Cove. Why? One citizen, Leondard Spinelli, didn't like that cars parked in front of the pond and trees disrupting the view he has of the park from his backyard. He petitioned the city and claimed that it was dangerous to park in front of the park, so the council unanimously agreed to give Mr Spinelli "his" view of "his" park back.

This has set a new precedence, if you don't like your neighbor or his friends parking in front of your house (for example), just tell council that there are safety concerns and they will get you some "No Parking" signs wherever you want them. If they don't, I am sure there is some legal action you could take as the government must provide "equal protection under the law" to everyone.

Council claims that they didn't ban parking to give Leonard Spinelli his view back, but then why was that his opening reason and repeated several times during his presentation? No one has ever been injured while getting into to a vehicle parked at the park, but now you will be expected to park north of the park along Tubbs, including across the street.

By their action, council says it is safer to cross the street to your car, than to get into your car on the side of the street your car is parked!


I mentioned this in previous post, but on my way home I went by the Park at Fox Chase to see the signs (which got my ire)...there are a bunch of signs. Also, a little birdie told me Mr Spinelli has made repeated calls complaining about the cars that are not obeying his demand of the city.

A lot of time and effort and MONEY to appease one cranky, old coot.

Good job, council.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rockwall City Council 5 October

How does a meeting with such a short agenda go for so terribly long?

III. Proclamations

1. Fire Prevention Week. The city got an award from the NFPA for fire safety.

Mayor wanted to know who has a fire plan at their home. More than expected raised their hands. Does this mean few know what to do in case of fire? Hint: Move away from glowy, hot thing.

IV. Open Forum.

1. Only pastor Joe spoke. Wanted to be notified by the city when and if the city decides to desecrate graves.

V. Consent Agenda.

Some zoning changes passed.

Also, the crackdown on hooligans hanging out at the Harbor passed. Either no loitering will be enforced, or restriction on hours of usage. I'm sure the signs will go up soon.


Not part of the agenda, but I just remembered: The parking ban along the street (Tubbs) in back of Leonard Spinelli's house, whose view of the Park at Fox Chase was marred by park goers parking at the park in order to use the park as opposed to Mr Spinelli who thinks the park and view of the park belong him and council agreed, is now in force.



Back to the harbor thing.


5 and 11 pulled by Cliff, 11 by accident and 5 for clarification of where funds were coming from for some John King Blvd stuff. $96,000 spent.

8. The retail change at Quail Run and 205 by the CVS tabled at the request of the petitioner til next meeting.

9. Pulled by Glen. The issuance of the SUP for Christian Bros Automotive, Glen wanted to table until full council present (Margo was absent) at the request of Christian Brothers. That motion was denied 3-3.

Mark and Cliff changed their previous support after hearing from the constituency. Mark said this was a campaign promise to always do what the electorate wants, no matter what.

Matt made a dramatic point that had Cliff and Mark not been such stupid morons and done their homework instead of sitting on their butts watching reruns of Friends, they would have voted against Christian Brothers the first time. (At least something like that, may not be verbatim.)

David agreed with Matt on the flip-flopping morons who are to stupid to find their way out of a pantry, even with a map. Flip-flopping makes you look stupid and jerky and punch-worthy!

Glen made a point that there had been 2 public hearings and 2 people showed up. SUP denied 5-1 by council (Glen voted in favor.)

Remember: denying business is pro-business.

VI. Appointments.

(This ate up SO much time.)

1. We need more firemen. A committee was formed to find out how to get more volunteers and how to keep em.

327 recommendations boiled down to marketing.

2. Rockwall County Emergency Management Coordinator came to talk about swine flu and other emergency things. Luckily, there was some paint drying nearby to keep me entertained during this presentation.

Here's my suggestions to prevent getting the flu and spreading the flu:

1. Stay home if you are sick.
2. Keep your hands off your face if you're not.
3. ??????
4. Profit.

3. $27,000,000 to START some "beautification" of John King Blvd from 205 to 205 (7 miles). Limestone obelisks, freestanding lime stone walls, rest areas every mile, sailboat weather vanes, elaborate features at every intersection, trees, trees, trees, and a 10 ft sidewalk on both sides for the entire length.

$27,000,000 to START.

Bill wants this badly. Matt wants this badly.

Did I mention $27,000,000 to START?

It cost $64,000 and 13 months to draw up the plans and create the pretty pictures. Mark asked about the length of time it took. Luckily, Matt was there to apologize to the presenters for Mark's stupidity. It must be really hard to be so flipping great and yet be surrounded by such stupid idiots. Did a GIS for super smart, awesome lawyer dude:

$27,000,000 to START.

The firm made sure to point out that all the little things add "value". I think he means "cost".

VII. Site Plans/ Plats

1. Fella wants to put a front yard picket fence between his property line and his neighbors for privacy (Their driveways are connected side by side, both have J-entry garages mirroring each other). This will be an extension of a full size fence already permitted by the city and will cause a hindrance in the eyes of some council members for his neighbor's ability to park in the garage. The perceived "hindrance" will be casued by he already permitted fence which requires no council approval. The picket fence will neither increase nor decrease the "hindrance" perceived by some of council.

David made a moition to deny the request for the small, non-intrusive picket fence.

Motion was amended so council can hear from the neighbor to see if the neighbor approves of the petioner erecting a small, non-intrusive picket fence between the two homes.

Note: I had the pleasure speak with the applicant tonight (10/6). He's likely going to withdraw his request. What he thought would be a simple process, turned out like so many other government hassles. Good job, council. Great guy, new to the city, and interested in the community, and his first interaction with council is a model of insanity. (Edited 10/6 2341)

2. Fella want to put a temporary parking lot in front of his business. Sounded like Goliad construction has caused some issues and he wants to put a small parking lot in the front of his building. Passed 5-1, Cliff opposed - something about the telephone poles out front causing an issue in the future.

VII. (In)action Items.

1. City getting ready to assess some properties around town for street improvements. No action.

2. Water rates, motion made to increase rates. Tabled to next meeting, David flip-flopped his previous vote of opposition. Wait a minute, wasn't there something about vote changing said earlier? I'll look it up later.

Sounds like the city has some pet projects to pay for and want to raise water rates to do so.

I don't think buying Lake Rockwall's triple-the-cost-of-city-owned water is on the list of projects which would cost less than the initial start-up of $27,000,000 for John King Blvd.

Tabled to next meeting, again.

3. Rockwall YAC changing some bylaws. Matt and David want only residents of the city on the council (finally, at the end they make a good point!) and Mark wants them to spend time learning about the police department and fire department. Matt feels left out and wants to be included in the selecting process. Glen (the liason) agreed to the residency change, not the FD or PD, council can be involved in the selecting, I think. Luckily, if Matt helps, it'll certainly speed up the process, because he's the council model of not wasting time asking 20 minute pointless questions.

IX. City Manager's Report.

Some road things mentioned.

And of course, what would a council meeting be without mentioning Rockwall's predominantly Hispanic neighborhood?

Lake Rockwall had 428 "notices" go out to residents warning them to clean up their act or else!