Saturday, August 20, 2016
Cooler and wetter in Addison this week than New York City or Missoula, Montana! As a quick tie-in to the cooler week, the Athletic Club pool hours change starting today.
Now thru 9/5 the pool will be open only on weekends: Saturdays from 10:00 am-8:00 pm, and Sundays 1:00-6:00 pm. The final day is Monday 9/5, 12:00-8:00 pm. We are limited to these hours because our lifeguards go back to school and are unavailable for work.
We had a Special Work Session of the City Council on Monday evening, August 15, beginning at 6:00 pm at Town Hall. Council member Al Angell was the only council member not present for the meeting.
Our first item was an excellent presentation from resident Debra Morgan representing the Addison Legacy Foundation and her committee that has been working most of the last 2 years on the next Big Idea for Addison.
Her presentation highlighted the work their committee has done on the early analysis of a possible east-west connectivity project over the North Dallas Tollway connecting east and west Addison.
The presentation included the preliminary steps the committee has taken to obtain cooperation with the folks at the Tollway Authority and with the folks at ONCOR that have roadway and power lines in the vicinity that would need to be dealt with to fully develop the idea.
They have also contacted the owners of the proximate private property and obtained their enthusiastic support and cooperation including access to parking.
The next steps of the process are to obtain inclusion in this year’s Addison budget to pursue a much more specific development of the concept including an economic impact study, a more detailed cost estimate and concept development study.
You can view the PowerPoint presentation provided to council to support the Addison Legacy Foundation’s non-profit grant application for our review.
Our second work session item was a review of the Addison Grove Incentive Agreement. The staff presented the exact same presentation that they provided to our previous council back in February for the benefit of our new council members Duffy, Walden and Angell and for review purposes for the rest of the council. Here is a link to that portion of the meeting for your review.
Hopefully you will see that the entire incentive is actually an Infrastructure reimbursement agreement that requires the developer first to complete all of the necessary infrastructure, i.e., water and sewer lines, streets, curbs, sidewalks, parks, etc., to Addison specifications before he can seek reimbursement for any portion of the maximum $6.5 million incentive.
He will be eligible for further reimbursement when 40%, then 75%, of the Townhomes are complete. The Town is protected with these 1/3 payment increments.
The total amount of the reimbursement may be less than the $6.5 million if the actual costs of the Infrastructure come in below that figure; yet the reimbursement will not exceed that figure even if the Infrastructure costs exceed the $6.5 million ceiling. Our staff addressed and resolved all of the questions from council.
There is an expectation that the demolition of the existing structures will begin by early this fall and construction will begin soon thereafter.
Our third agenda item was an update on the Midway Road Reconstruction project. This same update was presented to the council several weeks ago in a work session that was not recorded and therefore not available for you to see or review.
Due to the shocking revelation that the originally estimated project cost of $16 million was now expected to be closer to $38 million, fulfilling our commitment to transparency required that we have a video presentation available of this report.
As you will see in the video none of current staff with responsibility for this project were with us back in 2011 or 2012 when the estimates were made.
In fact, our current staff is unable to find any documentation reflecting the process utilized to develop the $16 million dollar estimate that was the basis of the request for our community to support in the 2012 Bond Election.
Given the $22 million gap in available funding for the project, the council posed several questions for staff, i.e. “how did this happen?” and “how can we prevent it in the future?”, and “what are our options now?” Answers to those questions and others will help shape the council’s decision process on our next steps.
There was also the suggestion that we provide an open invitation to our previous City Manager Ron Whitehead to come to council with an explanation of how he arrived at the $16 million dollar estimate used and relied upon by council, the Bond Committee and the community for our supportive votes in 2012.
You may review the video of this portion of our work session here.
We adjourned our work session just before 8:00 pm.
Our Next Regular Council meeting will be the fourth Tuesday of this month, August 23, beginning at 6:00 pm with an Executive session and then a work session with a presentation and update on the Les Lacs Lake projects. The council then will continue a very important policy discussion regarding the Housing Policy and residential density for the Town of Addison.
The consent agenda will likely include the approval of the minutes of the last meeting, a renewal of a lease on our airport with Baker Aviation, the termination of a ground lease at our airport related to the estate of Jose Ortiz Avila, the maintenance and removal of the Holiday lights at Vitruvian Park, and a contract for custodial services for several of our Town facilities.
Our Regular Agenda items will include a discussion and consideration of a change to an Addison Ordinance to give the City Manager the authority to make decisions concerning traffic control devices.
We will also review the Third and Fourth Quarter Town of Addison Financial reports and possible options to address periodic flooding at the intersection of Sherlock Drive and Winter Park Drive.
Council Member Activities
All council members except Al Angell attended the Monday evening Special council meeting work session described above.
Deputy mayor pro tempore Ivan Hughes attended a “Hot Topics Seminar” for elected local officials held in Richardson and offered by Brown & Hoffmeister, LLP.
Ivan reports that the topics covered included Data Privacy and Security, Municipalities and Firearms, Public Information act or the Texas Open records act, Planning and Zoning issues and other Q&A topics.
On Wednesday evening council colleagues Ivan Hughes, Dale Wilcox and Paul Walden joined me to help host our first Inwood Road Corridor Special Area Study Community Workshop at our Addison Conference Centre.
Ivan Hughes, Dale Wilcox and I represented Addison at the Metrocrest Chamber’s annual Appreciation luncheon for the teachers and staff at our George H. W. Bush School at our Conference Centre on Thursday.
Ivan Hughes, Dale Wilcox and I held our monthly Finance Committee meeting at 4:15 pm on Thursday afternoon. City Manager Wes Pierson, Deputy City Manager Cheryl Delaney and interim CFO Scott Neils joined us to review our Quarterly Financial reports.
Ivan Hughes and Dale Wilcox joined me for the After Hours with the Mayor event at the Lion and Crown on Thursday evening.
Q&A with the Mayor
First, an answer: Several of you asked if the staff would be willing to present one more meeting to review the status of the work and give you an input opportunity on our Master Transportation Plan.
I am very pleased to report that our City Manager Wes Pierson and our team have agreed to hold one more meeting on Monday evening August 29 from 6:00-8:00 pm at our Addison TreeHouse on Midway Road.
This is above and beyond the several meetings we have already held and that very few of you have attended. This is a great example of the Addison Way, customer service that finds a way to say YES! Now you need to do your part and come to the meeting!!!!
I know some of you have said to me, ”Todd, does this really affect me?” My response is pretty simple: if you use a street or sidewalk in Addison, Yes, it affects you. Your choice, however. Please remember, this democracy thing takes work on both sides. It is a two-way street; you need to participate.
Question: “Mayor, what is going on with my Starbucks at the corner of Midway and Belt Line?”
Answer: Actually I received this question several times, usually with some panic in the voice. All is ok.
The Starbucks folks are just doing some major remodeling and should be open very soon, maybe even by the time you read this newsletter.
An interesting budget tidbit for you frequent Starbucks customers:
Did you know that if the council adopts the City Manager’s proposed budget for next year, the average Addison homeowner will pay just about the same for the full array of Addison services you receive–Police, Fire, Paramedics, Health Club, Parks, KaBoomTown, Oktoberfest, etc., as you pay for a serious Starbucks every day? About $4.46 per day or $134 per month. A very good value!
Question: “What is all that mess on the east side of the Tollway on Belt Line just east of the Finance Building?”
Answer: More progress! Finally we are underway with the desilting of the Winnwood ponds.
The pictures show the crews out there working under the supervision of the folks at Texas Parks and Wildlife removing the aquatic life in the ponds so that we can begin the very dirty part of the project and not harm any of the fish, frogs and turtles.
This project will take several months and we will keep you informed as we go.
Question: “Whatever happened to that case where an Addison Police Officer was accused of stealing money from the Addison Police Association?”
This is just one of those subjects we would rather not discuss for obvious reasons; however, if we are true to our commitment to transparency then we need to tell you about the good things as well as those that are not so good or are even embarrassing.
Answer: City Manager Wes Pierson provided the council an update that, “Former APD officer James Easterling was arrested and indicted by a Dallas County Grand Jury for a felony warrant related to theft of funds from the Addison Police Association.
“He has been released on bail and we are now waiting to hear details on what might happen next (trial or plea deal) from the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. I will provide another update when new information is available.”
ExponentHR has been with us in Addison for getting close to 10 years and President and CEO Larry Lacerte wants to get even more involved in what we are doing in Addison!
I dropped in to see Larry as a follow up to our visit about 2 years ago when he said, “Hey, Todd, if you guys ever think of trying to do something creative with Inwood Road and that area that is getting pretty run down, let me know.”
Larry, his son Adam and daughter Megan met with me for a bit to discuss our Inwood Corridor Study Committee and they all expressed interest in helping us out with the study!
Given that their location at 4970 Landmark Place literally looks right out on the corridor, they make great sense as a Study committee member.
By the way, their business that fills up their office building is doing very well. “ExponentHR redefines the way employees connect with organizations and the way organizations manage people and costs. Solution based technology is the tool, and ExponentHR is the platform specifically designed to help your organization reduce operating cost, retain valuable employees and create scalable infrastructure.”
We are proud to have Larry, Megan, Adam and the entire ExponentHR team with us here in Addison!
Have you noticed the activity at the empty big box entertainment venue that was Addison City Limits at 4050 Belt Line Road until about 2 years ago? Now it is the new home for Macklins Catering who moved to be with us from Farmers Branch.
They are currently using the kitchen, with plans to offer the front of the building for private events like wedding receptions. This is likely a very good fit for the neighborhood: pretty quiet and not any big parking issues. You can check out their menu and services at macklinscateringco.com.
Addison resident and Soma store manager Yvonne Mollica reminds me that it is Friends and Family weekend at her store in Village on the Parkway! August 19-21, 25% off everything in the Soma Intimates store located at 5100 Belt Line Road, suite #812. Shop the Village and keep the sales tax dollars here in Addison!
We had a really nice turnout of very interested Addison residents, property owners and business owners for our first Community Workshop that will be part of our 12-week Inwood Road Corridor Special Area Study project.
Council colleagues Ivan Hughes, Dale Wilcox, Paul Walden and I helped host the event led by our staff, Assistant Director of Development Services, Charles Goff, and Director of Infrastructure and Development Services, Lisa Pyles.
The formal presentation was led by our outside consultants from the Gensler Design firm who began their presentation with a report on what their first several weeks of work have revealed in terms of current conditions.
A review of the 60-acre study area included an analysis of site conditions, zoning, ownership, current uses, and how they may not fit the highest and best uses. They also reviewed the proximity to our airport and the noise corridors that limit the permissibility of any kind of residential development in this area.
The next parts of their presentation included a market analysis and then the fun part, a discussion of the opportunities and possibilities! This is when our very attentive audience had their opportunity to engage … excellent ideas and suggestions flowed with plenty of opportunity to express them.
Our next steps in the process will be for our newly formed Study Committee of 7 residents and 7 members from the business community to meet and review the research, hear feedback, and begin to develop the ideas further.
The next Community Workshop is scheduled for September 26 at our Addison Conference Centre.
Stay tuned to this very exciting opportunity to plan the best possible uses for this historically significant piece of Addison into its next meaningful new place in our economic portfolio.
Each year about this time I look forward to the opportunity to thank, in a very special Addison way, the teachers and staff that shape our collective future with the young students at our George H.W. Bush School.
Our partners at the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce led by President Erin Carney put this program together to begin the school year with a very positive, upbeat message of appreciation for the educators who have the passion, energy and enthusiasm to teach the kids that will be our future!
With a room full of very excited and vocal folks, we heard from new Principal Carol Crowling, who outlined her goals to make the Bush School the school of choice for all in Addison and to prepare at least 95% of the kids for college or to be able to make their own choices after high school.
Her role will be to help and support every educator to be the very best they can possibly be and to be focused on the students’ education. Carol summarized our role as a community: to visit and know about the school, be supportive with our time by volunteering and with our finances by helping beyond the budget of DISD.
As we all know, our Bush School is the only public school in Addison and they want and need our help so that each of those kids has every opportunity to be successful.
Addison does a great job of helping to make sure the building, grounds and landscape measure up to our Addison standards, which is highly commendable, but we can do more with our time volunteering as mentors, reading buddies and tutors.
As the saying goes, “a school is four walls and roof with the future inside!” The email address for Principal Carol Crowling is CCROWLING@dallasisd.org. Drop her an email and let her know how much you appreciate what she and her team do for us and how you would like to help out!
Our largest ever Third Thursday of the month crowd showed up for our After Hours with the Mayor at our new venue, the Lion and Crown at 5001 Addison Circle, at 6:00 pm. We had a last minute change in venue since our previous location, Sidewalk Café, unexpectedly closed their doors on Wednesday afternoon.
The Lion and Crown folks took great care of us and it sounded like everyone had fun. We had excellent conversation about everything from our exciting new Big Idea opportunity, the Cotton Belt, the new Inwood Road Corridor study project, to the “whys” of the missed estimate on the Midway Road project, video at work sessions, our budget and the Addison Grove reimbursement agreement.
All very solid and important subjects for us to be discussing. The questions and comments demonstrated the intellectual capital that we are so fortunate to have as one of our greatest assets here in Addison!
I hope to see you next month for our First Wednesday of the Month Coffee with the Mayor at Dunn Bros on Belt Line at 10:00 am on Wednesday, September 7.
Music is back at Beckert Park with Suzi and Rick tonight beginning at 8:00 until 10:00 pm … free, of course!
Regular Council meeting, Tuesday, August 23, 6:00 pm work session, 7:30 pm Regular Session, Town Hall.
Wednesday, August 24, Council budget work session 4:00-8:00 pm, Addison TreeHouse.
Thursday, August 25, very important!!!! DART meeting at the Addison Conference Centre to hear about the Cotton Belt plans … please join us at 6:00 pm.
Saturday, August 27, join us for our last night of the Summer Series in Beckert Park, 8:00 pm.
I hope you are enjoying this unseasonably cool weather, not quite sweater weather, however, much, much cooler than our traditional dog days of summer. Thanks for staying in touch; I really enjoy the two-way conversations we have all week with your feedback and questions, so keep them coming.
See you soon,