Friday, January 11, 2008

Well...I'm Back after a Hiatus

Took a blogging break after my spouse started her IV chemotherapy.

It's been a rough Christmas break but we'll waddle through. She's lost about 20+lbs. Hell of a way to lose weight however. "Chemotherapy" is an oxymoron. We treat cancer like the 16Th century philoso-physicians treated the common cold or pneumonia. We don't know what causes the problem so we depress the immune system, make the person physically brittle, hold our breath and cross our fingers that all the "bad vapors" are gone from the body. I understand the theory behind this-used to sell oncology drugs for a major pharmaceutical house. I'm just bitter that my wife is fading in front of my son. She's a shell of whom she was a year ago. Folks this is bad stuff (I'd use an harder metaphor but am assuming that young people may read here).

The political season is heating up a bit. I watched a Republican "debate" last night and will post my reaction to it later. It was good for some comedic relief. There are some local issues that are moving forward. I'm on the Planning and Zoning Commission so my comments will be guarded at this point. School board seats become "open" (that's an oxymoron too) this spring. Any rumors on who's running yet? I'll blog on that too later.

Anyway, please keep checking in and contributing if you're so inclined. If not, don't forget this is my own personal view and I'll write from my perspective.

Adios mis amigos!


Admin said...

Steve, do you weigh on the side of property rights on the P&Z, or are you inclined to saddle business and property owners with layers of regulations?

Do you realize - just a general question here - what would happen if cities slashed or repealed their permits from everything to fence posts to shrubbery to detached garages or to signs? There would be a free-market boom this county has never seen before...

If you don't think a P&Z record is indicative of a potential city council slot, you're gonna have to explain long and hard for the other side.

I'm not "going after" anyone or anything, but I see the erosion of property rights at every flipping meeting of some sort.

And it's dangerous.

Steve Miller said...

Thanks for the post! Let's do a little self analysis on my P&Z thinking. It will be short and sweet from the experience side since I've only been a full member for three meetings. Most of the issues were pretty cut and dry lately. This may be a little boring.

Oh, BTW, I'm not angling for a Council seat by working P&Z. I do feel Allen Haynes has modeled the best role for any P&Z member; that of stewardship. Serving rather than dictating. Seeing through the profit interests of business, city staff, and property owners to come to an equitable decision that works in the best interest of all (above).

As a Conservative Republican, I do tend to the side of property rights and feel onerous layers of regulations are more than property owners can bear. I also feel Red Oak is at the cusp of growth and staying to the 2020 plan in spirit is necessary. I don't happen to think keeping Red Oak "old" is good for attracting business but the plan is "who we brung to the prom" presently. Some regulation is definitely necessary and ensuring quality growth is needed. Look on Hwy 342 near my home on Pierce to Ovilla Road. It looks like Jefferson Blvd. on the way to Grand Prairie out by Loop 12. The only new businesses in that area are actually old...the McDonald's comes to mind. The 342 corridor is our major internal north-south corridor and needs to be a showcase rather than an eyesore. It will be expanded to 6 lanes in the growth plan. Hopefully we'll see a growth of service or shopping businesses to support the huge residential tracts adjacent to the area. The plethora of steel structures next to 150K+ homes gives evidence to the issue. We had liberal/minimal zoning and minimal planning for years. Don't believe me? Take a drive through the city. There's very little planned growth in the older parts of town. I give kudos to our new city manager and staff for beginning to get that house in order. Good transition to your other question eh?
I think your second question is sorta' trolling (no flame intended) but there's a definite line between organized and disorganized growth. I do believe as you that the market would then dictate what and how new construction would occur. I do have reservations that the county would look like it was "growin' up like Topsy" with cash advance stores next door to upscale homes or pawn shops, tattoo parlors, and yet more hair salons (Red Oak has more hair salons than churches...)next door to 1.5 acre homesites. Again it's a question of balance. I've lived in Oak Cliff most of my life before moving to Red Oak. There's very little enforcement of zoning there at the present time. I'll pose a question back to you since I've been there and done this already...what do you tell potential buyers about the net value of your home when the house next door has cars in the front yard, two doors down is painted turquoise, three doors down-cars and old crap in the yard and painted white and orange, cars illegally parked up and down the street, trees on the parkway that are dropping good sized branches onto said cars? You don't get to tell them take the offer and go. We had to eat a lot to get to Red Oak. I'm not whining, just using a personal example of no regulation enforcement. Sure the rules are on the books, and yeah in this case they were not being enforced. That's the same thing as not having them at all. This tome begs the question of how we want Red Oak to grow? Do we want it to look like Oak Cliff or do we want our property investments to grow as per Frisco and the Northern Sector of Dallas? We've got the most space for growth. The issue is whether industry will build in the "southern sector". They won't because historically the "southern sector" has always been associated with the "oh" part of Dallas. " live in Oak Cliff right?".

I'm not concerned with my record on P&Z impacting a city council spot. I'm not inclined to run since my professional expertise does not lend itself to that position. I am interested in some other positions but am keeping those cards close to the vest at this time due to my wife's illness. Your statement is a little transparent however, I don't know if Chris Moses is going to run at this time, but would assume it's a definite possibility. You should have a cup o' java with him and get his take. He won't bite your head off...

I'd like to see some specific examples of how the P&Z board has eroded property rights since I've been on it. I don't think we have but am open for some education. :) I'll be as specific in answering if you'll be specific in asking. That's fair? Agree?

Let's roll...:)

Anonymous said...

I find it very funny that this person thinks he or she knows what goes on at every P & Z meeting. When many times their is only the P&Z members, City Engineer and Todd Fuller at the meetings.

And if anyone else shows up it's because they have something on the Agenda in regards to their property.

Steve Miller said...

Agreed totally with you. This person was just trolling for some controversy IMHO

I do have several concerns and will post them in a bit...

Been of P&Z B4 said...

Ok Steve, I’m glad you’re in a position to influence the growth of Red Oak. Red Oak needs all the help they can get and I for one think it can become a great place to live.....

It isn't hard to see what communities in Ellis county are doing it right. I know I'm biased since I happen to live in Midlothian but the proof is in the numbers. Although new home starts have slowed values are still averaging about $240,000 on new single family construction, they were just awarded one of only 3 statewide planning awards, our city council CUT the tax rate last year, is putting roads in right and left, passed a road and parks bond that will facilitate needed infrastructure for the next 10 years. Is constructing a new water treatment plant that will provide water for the next 3 decades (without a rate increase to users), was granted AAA bond coverage by NY underwriters because of its healthy financial situation and future financial outlook (savings tens of millions of dollars in interest monies).

But the lack of regulation is NOT what brought Midlothian to what it is today. Free market is fine in principle but expect the cheap and ugly and growth that will NOT age well. You will have fly by niters converge on your city that only wishes to make a buck and move on the next unsuspecting community to prostitute. Midlothian has some of the highest development costs in the North Texas area and still brings in quality. It should ALWAYS be quality over quantity. It’s taking its sweet time and will allow the “Free Marker” to decide when it’s right to bring a project worthy of calling Midlothian home!

Your council and P&Z better start looking at charging impact fees on development or you will be over run with capital debt that will have to be borne by your CURRENT taxpayers.

Like I said, do a little research and see what other communities are doing right. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Best of luck.. I hope to see great things for Red Oak in it's future!

Anonymous said...

xdomgtrTo: Been of P&Z B4
I hate to break the news to you but where ever you did your little research was wrong because the parks bond did not pass because of lack of votes from the voters!!!
Although this city really needs a good park the voters just did not think so.

But the council is working on a deal for a large park off of ovilla road! keep your fingers crossed it pans out!!!