Saturday, January 21, 2017
We will have our next Regular council meeting on Tuesday, January 24, at Town Hall.
We will begin the evening’s work with an executive session to review of our applicants for our Associate Judge position on our Municipal court.
During our Work Session we will discuss financial policies and possible revisions to those policies, naming and recognition elements for our new dog park and discuss the findings of the Inwood Road Special Area study.
Our Regular session will begin at 7:30 and will include our Public Comment Section, an ordinance calling for an Election on May 6, 2017, for mayor and 3 council positions and an important update on our recent pay for performance pay increases for our current employees.
In other work, we will consider approval of our minutes from our last meeting, an agreement with Garver LLC to provide on-call engineering services for our airport, and renewal of a hangar lease at 4700 Airport Parkway.
There will not be an item on the agenda to revisit the stop signs at Beltway and Les Lacs.
On Tuesday evening I attended the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at Town Hall to congratulate, welcome and thank new commissioners Kathryn Wheeler, John Melekey and Tom Braun.
Within the context of those comments I added a few words of guidance gleaned from my over 15 years of public service; Do’s and Don’ts of public service, if you will:
- Don’t be in a hurry, take your time; your decisions have long term consequences and patience in the process is a good thing.
- Don’t be a rubber stamp for council or the staff; what we need and want is your own independent thinking.
- Do your own thinking; read, study the materials and think, not just about your own individual perspective, but always what is best for Addison.
- Do think out loud; work collaboratively and together pursuing what is best for Addison.
- Do listen to our community; listening is an important part of fulfilling your role of representative.
Lastly, the old carpenter’s adage; “Measure twice, cut once”. Mistakes at the P & Z level are very costly.
Just a few minutes later the Commission began consideration of a proposal to add 349 more apartments in Addison.
After a brief discussion about a motion to table the item to give the Commission and staff time to explore more options and address several well framed unanswered questions, the Commission failed to pass the motion to table for just one month for more time to address those questions.
Voting in favor of the motion to table were Debra Morgan, Tom Schaeffer and Jim Robinson.
Voting against the motion to provide more time for thinking and discussion were Kathryn Wheeler, Tom Braun, John Melekey and Stacey Griggs.
Moments later and with virtually no discussion or collaboration, a motion was made by brand new Commissioner Kathryn Wheeler and seconded by new Commissioner Tom Braun. The motion passed 4-3 to rezone commercial property to add 349 more apartments in Addison.
Commissioners Wheeler, Braun, Melekey and Griggs voted in favor and Commissioners Morgan, Schaeffer and Robinson voted opposed to rezoning commercial property to add more apartments in Addison.
What this means is that with the narrowest majority possible, a recommendation will come from the P&Z Commission to council to rezone a 5 acre tract of commercial property to add 349 apartments in Addison.
If you have thoughts about this action or issue, I encourage you to contact me or any of my council colleagues before the council takes this matter up for consideration next month.
Council member activities
I received notification this week that council colleague Bruce Arfsten, acting as our representative to the North Central Texas Council of Governments Regional Transportation Council, has had a 100% attendance for all of 2016.
The RTC met 13 times in Arlington and Bruce attended every meeting! Thank you, Bruce, for your service.
Attendance at all meetings at any level of service to our town is very important and shows you take the assignment or election seriously.
Council member Bruce Arfsten joined me for the Dog Park meeting with the Addison Legacy Foundation, the Addison Arbor Foundation, and our Dog Park committee for a feedback and update session with Parks Director Michael Kashuba on Wednesday evening.
Council members Bruce Arfsten, Ivan Hughes, Dale Wilcox, Paul Walden and Jim Duffy joined me for our Quarterly Meritorious Service luncheon at our Addison Conference Centre on Thursday.
As you may know, Addison has a local election every May! Since this is an odd numbered year there will be an election for mayor and three council seats.
Former 3 term council member and former mayor pro tempore, Blake Clemens, filed on the first day of filing to run for mayor. Since then current council member Ivan Hughes has filed for reelection. Lori Ward has filed as a candidate for council.
Last Saturday our Police Department, as part of our Community Policing model, helped sponsor an all-day Women’s Self Defense class at our Athletic Club. Chief Paul Spencer, Lieutenant Denise Keith and Nelly Garcia worked together to organize the free program.
About 25 women from all around our area attended this intense training that was run by Grant Magers, a trainer at North Texas Martial Arts with over 20 years of experience in various martial arts including Tae Kwon Do, American Kenpo and Mixed Martial Arts.
Grant earned his BA and MS from Texas Tech and MBA from SMU. Grant and his team volunteered their time to design and instruct this course for our community. On Saturday participants learned risk assessment, conflict avoidance, and physical defense.
This women’s self-defense class was very much hands-on, teaching simple and effective techniques for women that find themselves in the unlikely yet very serious position of being attacked.
As you can tell, the poor guy in red helped these women develop real world techniques to avoid becoming a victim. Let us know if you would like to participate if this program is offered again. Free lunch was generously provided by Taco Diner.
On Sunday I had the real honor of welcoming the Dallas Fort Worth area chapters of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority for their annual Founders Day celebration at our Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Alpha Kappa Alpha is our country’s first Greek letter organization founded by African- American college women. The uplifting and inspirational event was a celebration of the 108 years of service since the founding in 1908, and was particularly special on the eve of Martin Luther King Day.
I have heard concern expressed about a new Gun Range that will be opening one block east of Midway on Proton in Farmers Branch. Please know that the land use decision for that business was made by the Farmers Branch City council since that property is in Farmers Branch. Therefore, none of our Addison council members or staff had a vote.
On another matter, I have heard some concern expressed about the removal of the playground equipment located in the ONCOR easement on Redding Trail and off of Azure Lane.
Unfortunately, 3 years ago ONCOR informed the Town that they would no longer permit the use of their easement for purposes of a playground. Apparently their lawyers and engineers determined it was an unjustifiable risk.
At the time we were able to negotiate a three year delay in the implementation of their new policy. That three year window is coming to a close this spring and the playground equipment will need to be removed. I am hopeful that the council and staff will work together this spring and summer to find a suitable alternative and include that study and work in our budget for next year.
On Wednesday evening Parks Director Michael Kashuba updated members of the Addison Legacy Foundation Board, The Addison Arbor Foundation Board and our Dog Park Committee on the progress of our new Dog Park at Spruill Park in Addison Circle.
In addition to the update Michael listened to valuable feedback from the attendees determined to make this a very nice dog park. The group also began work on a “wish list” that will be fulfilled as donor funds become available over the next several months.
The council plans to take up and hopefully finalize the naming policy and opportunities for this new publicly and privately funded amenity at our next council meeting.
On Thursday we celebrated anniversaries of employment and many well deserved recognitions for our employees at our Quarterly Meritorious Service luncheon at our Addison Conference Centre.
Council members Dale Wilcox, Ivan Hughes, Jim Duffy, Paul Walden and Bruce Arfsten joined me to honor all of our folks that make the Addison Way happen, in addition to recognizing the one year anniversary of our City Manager, Wes Pierson.
On Thursday evening at our Third Thursday of the Month “After Hours with the Mayor” event, I was able to finally recognize outgoing P&Z Commissioner Randy Smith for his 2 years of service. Randy is a full time Firefighter and was unable due to his work schedule to be with us when I recognized other outgoing Commissioners Skip Robbins and Jason Ennis.
After the recognition we had a very lively conversation about upcoming and current council issues, the most notable being the very clear message that there is significant opposition to anymore apartments in Addison.
Most in attendance seemed to know that our housing mix already skews heavily towards apartments, with over 85% of our current housing being rental units. However, very few in attendance realized that, in addition to the current inventory of apartments, previous councils have approved over 4,700 new apartments that have not been built yet but will soon begin construction.
The question posed to me was, “When is enough, enough?” My response? Based on the recent activity of the P&Z Commission it looks like the council will very soon have a chance to answer that question.
On Thursday evening with food and fun, we held our Athletic Club Winter Open House from 5:30 till 8:30 pm. Our entire Athletic club staff put in an extra-long day making sure all of the tours, class demos and healthy refreshments were just right.
Deputy City Manager Cheryl Delaney was on hand making sure everyone was signed in and welcomed with that special Addison Way greeting. By the time I left after greeting and thanking all of our vendors, there were over 200 residents that had come through and were making plans to be even healthier for 2017! An excellent and very well run event!
Citizens’ Academy reminder: There are still places open for this great course on all things Addison. Anyone who has lived here a year is eligible. Go to the town website for the form to sign up. The deadline is February 1.
Off to get the Hot Cake Hustle started today over at our Conference Centre with a Fun Run at 8:00 am and the more serious run at 8:30 am. Thankfully the weather is cooperating very nicely.
Please let us hear from you! Email, call or reach out in any way to me or my council colleagues to let us know what you think about adding more apartments in our Addison.
See you soon,