Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ahh, heliport!

If you haven't read previous blog, this may not make too much sense. I inquired at the FAA regarding the city of Rockwall's fantasy that it could create a "no fly zone". As I thought, a bunch of pandering fools got it wrong. Again. (At best, I think the city could get an agreement from CareFlight.)


I'm in the FAA's office of airports and my office considers landing area proposals (heliports) as they relate to safety of aircraft operations. The question you posed is an air traffic matter but I can give you the answer. FAA only considers implementation of a no fly zone would be to protect national security. As long as the helicopter is being operated in accordance with the FAA regulations for their operation, the FAA would not enforce a local ordinance.

Hope this helps,

Glenn A. Boles

Airspace Program Manager
FAA Airports SW Region
phone: 817 222-5627

FAA SW Region, Airports Division
Attn: Glenn Boles, ASW-624
2601 Meacham Blvd.
Fort Worth, TX 76137

Rockwall City Council 18 October

All the herp that's fit to derp.

IV. Consent Agenda.

1. Pulled by Councilman Scott, minutes approval for meeting he missed. Passed 6-0-1.

2. Police buying new vehicles: 5 Crown Victorias and 2 Chevy Tahoes at a cost of $175,000.

3. Fake drug K2 banned, as well as God's mistake, Salvia Divinorum.

4. Councilman Sevier asked about the seemingly endless supply of money from the 2005, this time for a drainage project. Turns out it will run out some day. (Then you just pass another one, so technically it is endless.)

5. Same as #4.

6. Mayor Pro Tem Farris opposes allowing Walgreens to have anything displayed outside, including propane. His extensive marketing background qualifies him as the expert on business needs of type of operation. Denying Walgreens even outside display of propane tanks is good for the city and the neighborhood. Hey, Glen, wanna really do something good for the city and neighborhood? Consider this:

Rest of council supported business (be still my heart), 6-1.

7. Basically, same thing as 6, but for 7-11 up north. Passes 6-1.

VII. Action Items.

2. Sign Variance for American National Bank at Horizon and Ridge Road. Passes 7-0 without Mayor Pro Tem (who hates signs) comments.

V. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chairman Phillip Herbst. Recommends (1) adding wineries and solar panels to Unified Development Code, (2) a minimum 60 day demolition delay in Old Town District or Historic Properties, like the Alamo, and (3) add pergolas to allowed structures on the takeline.

2. Guy has a house next the apartments being constructed on Yellow Jacket. He doesn't want the masonry wall that all parties (HOA, builder, and City) agreed to years ago to be built because too many trees would be removed in the construction process. He wants the city to alter the agreement and force the builder to install a tubular steel fence,

A representative from the HOA explained that they had done extensive research and employed a landscape architect to help find the best solution, which is the masonry wall.

Council retreats to executive session, probably to discuss getting their butts sued for changing the agreement with the apartment builder.

On the return, the item was tabled two weeks to see if one johnny-come-lately's problem could be resolved.

Councilman Sweet supported the tabling, but noted that 2 years ago this situation was concluded after a lot of time had been spent on it.

Mayor Cecil noted his love of HOA's and his desire to do what's best for the City, the HOA, and the residents - no mention of the apartment builder, I guess he can suck an egg.

3. Resident in Windmill Ridge (and friend of council) hates that CareFlight is flying over her house to Presbyterian Hospital and transporting dying patients to other hospitals. The life-saving helicopters are flying too low to her house and she claims have destroyed her roof and patio cover. She demanded to know why the heli-pad was not on the roof (because the hospital plans upward expansion) or closer to the emergency room (there wasn't enough clearance.)

She has made visits to hospital staff demanding answers, but left unsatisfied.

Staff explained they had contacted CareFlight and that weather is a main determinate to approach and landing.

Repeatedly, the Mayor expressed that CareFlight flying over her house on a life-saving mission is "unacceptable".

Mayor Pro Tem Farris wants an ordinance drafted to prevent helicopters from flying over residential neighborhoods.

I guess ol' Glen don't know nuthin' 'bout no dango FAA.

The City Attorney warned against the city creating an unenforceable ordinance. (Like that has stopped them before.)

Councilman Sweet, a muffin salesman and an expert in aircraft and flying, stated that weather is not a factor in flying.

Councilman Sevier wasn't confident the city had the authority to control air traffic.

Councilman Scott explained that the city and hospital have already had a lot of "give and take" with the hospital.

Mayor Cecil stated the ONLY answer is to create a "no fly zone" over Rockwall. We will also be changing our nickname from "The New Horizon" to "The Iraq of Texas".

Motion to have staff investigate interfering with CareFlight's ability to save lives passed 7-0.

4. Power point by city staff regarding streets.


-Some roads are good.
-Some need repair.
-Need some new equipment.
-Need some new personnel. (9 more by 2016)
-New roads need to be 2' wider to be like a few other cities.
-Need directional signs. (Councilman Sevier been pushing this with great resistance.)
-Mow the Right-Of-Ways.
-Start street sweeping downtown.
-Standardize street signs. (Will take years and $$$$)
-LED signs like Rowlett (Also $$$$)
-Start doing preventive maintenance.
-Permanently fix potholes.
-Increase number of warranty inspections of new roads.

VI. Public Hearings.

1. What P&Z presented in first appointment. Passed 6-1, Councilman Russo opposed.

2. Not discussed, will be continued to next meeting.

3-6. City annexation and 212 agreements.

First guy doesn't want to be annexed, city says. "Eat it."

Second lady accepts the inevitability of annexation, but wants to keep selling fireworks once she is annexed. Not gonna happen.

Annexing land is more addictive than K2. We should ban it.

VII. Action Items.

1. Ordinance about large, outdoor recycling containers. No permit needed to save the earth and make sure as few as possible see you doing it.

Mayor Pro Tem Farris asked about the process for dispute resolution about container placement.

The city will first discuss with you the problems they invented and then force compliance.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rockwall City Council 4 October

Actions from Executive Session: Appointments to YAC and REDC. Right-of-Way acquisition on 549.

III. Proclamations.

4. Fire Prevention Month. City will give you a free smoke detector if you can't afford one.

2. Rockwall 4H Clovers Week. No one said exactly what they do, but it was explained that it is a good way to get involved in the community, it "helps you grow", and "helps others grow".

3. Pumpkin Patch Proclamation. Started by the Friends of the Library and the Catholic Women, The pumpkin patch has been around 22 years. Sold 50,000 pumpkins last year. Funds go to support the library.

The mayor asked for an explanation in the difference between a "pie pumpkin" and "cut pumpkin". "Pie pumpkins" are for pies, and "cut pumpkins" are for cutting (or carving).

1. National Charity League Day. First chapter in Texas was started in Rockwall. Girls do all sorts of things around town to help the community while also fostering relationships between mother and daughter. Open to all girls from 7th-12th grade.

The mayor stated that some wonder why our community is so great. He continued it is because of all the local organizations involved in the community.

I always thought it was because of council's micromanaging of citizens' lives.

IV. Open Forum.


V. Consent Agenda.

# 7 pulled by Mark Russo.

Rest passed 6-0.

7. Mark Russo didn't "like the time frame". Glen Farris doesn't want position (seat on commission or board) to affect how long one sits on other commissions. I agree, people should be allowed to serve as long as possible on boards and commissions. That will prevent any fresh ideas or independent thinkers from affecting the political machine.

VI. Appointments.

1. (new) P&Z Chair Phillip Herbst.

First item "approved", second item denied a manufactured home in the Zoo to have vinyl siding.

2. Main St Advisory Board requests that the holly bushes on Rusk between San Jacinto and Goliad be removed. Businesses located there don't like them, including Councilman Farris who apparently has an office there. Passed.

I didn't hear that the city would be replacing trees (somewhere) for those they removed as they require of citizens and businesses who do the same.

Note: Trees were removed and replaced with flower planters in less than 24 hours. Amazing how fast the city worked without having known beforehand what the vote of council would be.

3. Tom Thumb's want's to have a pumpkin patch of there own. Because of the confusion created by the myriad of ordinances, many were confused why they needed a permit.

Confusion was "cured" and Tom Thumb gets a pumpkin patch.

VII. Public Hearing Items.

1. Walgreens (from last meeting) still wants to increase the products they offer customers, yet council is still opposed. Motion to allow Walgreens to commit capitalism failed 3-3. Mayor Cecil, Councilman Sweet, and Councilman Russo supported the free market. The rest opposed.

Mayor Pro Tem Farris explained the PD was sacred like Ground Zero and should not have outside displays of items nor Mosques adjacent. He continued that Walgreens knew the rules when they built.

Councilman Sweets alter ego showed up to explain all levels of management change and business plans change and the store is try to change and compete with others (specifically CVS across the street that CAN do all the Walgreens cannot). He added that the city is preventing one business from competing with another. (Well, that is why we call it GOVERNment and not ALLOWment.)

Margo Nielsen and Cliff Sevier stated that similar SUP's accross the city might indicate that the zoning is improper and needs to be re-examined to prevent the constant flow of SUP's.

Glen Farris noted, as former CEO of Walgreens and therefore the expert on Walgreens, that Walgreens doesn't need to sell propane, outside "displays" are too much like signs (Glen Hates signs) and this is nothing more than some sneaky attempt on Walgreens part to increase their market visibility and make money.

Ms. Nielsen made a motion to allow only the propane tanks to be displayed outside. Passed 4-2, Farris and Sevier opposed Walgreens propane market greed.

A motion was then made to look at the hyper-restrictive ordinances dealing with outside displays. (I could give em a list of all the small business folks I met a few months back who would whole-heartedly agree. The former owner of a once very prominent local business told me he would never open another business in Rockwall for this very reason.)

2. 7-11 up north wants the same thing as Walgreens. Council is willing to give in to the propane tanks, but not the Red Box. Councilman "Sweet" once again defended the free market and stated the city must be flexible to the businesses that must be flexible to the market.

Council hates Red Box. They believe Red Box dispensers are worse than Heroin/Cyanide/C-4 vending machines and would cause more harm to Rockwall than Fat Man did to Hiroshima.

Note to Red Box - invent an invisible box and it will be welcomed in Rockwall.

7-11 can have propane ONLY. 5-1, Farris threw the anti-business vote. Again.

VIII. Site Plans.

1. Single mom with 3 kids, including one with special needs, wants to have a manufactured home moved into the Zoo without meeting the oppressive "masonary" requirements of the city.

No one on council made a motion to approve or deny the request, so that none would look like a jerk denying a single mom with 3 kids, including one with special needs, a decent home in Rockwall.

(Didn't work)

2. In-N-Out coming to Rockwall. The first obstacle is the roof design. In-N-Out want's the restaurant to look like an In-N-Out. City design standards require a variance for them to achieve this.

IX. Action Items.

1. In-N-Out wants a taller sign than the self-described "sign Nazi", Glen Farris, wants anyone anywhere in the universe to have. In-N-Out wants a 60ft sign in order for people to see it from a greater distance than 10ft away.

Glen Farris opposes of course. Glen hates signs. Glen doesn't think businesses need signs because we have the internet - yes he said that. (Not this meeting, but a previous.)

Cliff Sevier suggested the sign not exceed the elevation of the Toyota sign OR 60ft.

Margo Nielsen explained in her expert opinion as director of a charity that a tall sign is not necessary. She also noted that Toyota got a taller sign because the building is "special". (LEED certified isn't "special", it's a waste of money and feel good crap. But with our earth-worshiping "green" council, anything that pretends to counteract the effects of the Sun's superheated nuclear output is "special". )

In-N-Out explained in their expert opinion as super successful hamburger sellers that a tall sign is necessary for that location.

David Sweet's doppelganger once again defended the business' need over the sentiment of council.

First motion failed 4-2, due to lack of super majority.

After further discussion, which included Mark Russo accusing the In-N-Out folks of a deceitful presentation and Glen Farris crying like a baby and stamping his feet at the thought of a 50ft sign (Mark Russo tried to convince In-N-Out that by Glen going to 50ft he was really sacrificing something and they should be on their hands and needs kissing the feet of Glen Farris for allowing a 50ft sign.) In-N-Out is getting a 50ft sign.

Glen Farris' toddler-like attitude and council's refusal to tell Mr Farris where to stick his attitude and stand up for business nearly cost Rockwall an In-N-Out.

50ft sign passes 6-0.

2. Some 212 agreements as part of annexation procedures passed 6-0.

3. City yet again annexing land. Passed 6-0.

4. Cliff Sevier wanted to know if the city should waive building fees for non-profits. It was thought it could look too much like funneling money to non-profits. Mrgo Nielsen noted that when Helping Hands asked for a waiver, it was granted. Hm.

No action.

5. Cliff Sevier and Chief Moeller want K2 (fake marijuana) banned. Everyone on council agreed that a substance with no confirmed ill-effects should be banned 6-0.

Tobacco related deaths per year: 400,000+ (Legal in Rockwall, 18 or older to buy)
Alcohol related deaths per year: 80,000+ (Legal in Rockwall, 21 or older to buy)
Legally obtained prescription drug related deaths per year: 32,000+ (No age limitation with prescription)
Aspirin related deaths per year: 2,000+ (Legal in Rockwall, no age restriction to buy)
K2 related deaths per year: 0 (Illegal in Rockwall, regardless of age)

Also to be banned is a plant (and it's processed derivatives) Salvia Divinorum. God made a mistake?

Ordinance to be drafted for next council.

--From miscellaneous, the Toyota Triathlon is going to being in huge amounts of revenue to save the failed Harbor project. How much?