The first thing I heard upon returning was that Rowlett was preparing a proposal to purchase Robertson Park. I was delighted. That was good news and certainly I will comment on this effort soon.
The second thing I learned was that in last Tuesday's City Council meeting Jim Douglas' rezoning request for the proposed mixed use development on Liberty Grove was not only denied, but was also denied the option of sending the package back to staff for further discussion. That was a sad day. In fact, it was a public execution. No......not even that. An execution suggests a trial with evidence presented. There was no evidence. It was an assassination. If you don't know by now, I will reiterate: I am for development of north Rowlett into upscale (above $250K) residential development. I do not feel a market exists now or within the next 10 years (if ever) for office and warehouse development. I have set out my reasons for this opinion thruout these "posts." I do this sort of thing for a living.........and have for the past 50 years.
I'm going to ask you to do something simple. It will take a few minutes.....about 25. There is no hard work; just watching and listening. First, go to the City of Rowlett website: http://www.ci.rowlett.tx.us/
Then, find "Steaming video" in the upper right corner. Then, click on "City Council Meetings." Then on the above tabs, click "City Council" again. Find the date 5/4/14 (it should be at the top of the list), and click "Play." Scroll down to item 8-A and click on it. You are now about to watch the presentation and vote on the Liberty Grove rezoning request.
The developer, Jim Douglas, appeared. The owner of the land, Mr. Monday, appeared. Mr. Douglas is a respected and very experienced developer. He does this for a living. He stated that the proposed project would contribute $75-$80 million to Rowlett's tax base when fully developed. Mr. Monday stated that he owned the land for about 30 years and the only ones to have approached him to purchase the property was for residential development. No one in 30 years has approached him for commercial development. Yet.......our consultant in Denver, and our "officialdom" who, to the best of my knowledge has never underwritten a real estate development deal in their entire lives, thinks the land is suitable only for office and warehouse use.
What evidence does "officialdom" present in their denial of the request? Nothing.......nada.........zero. Their entire rationale is "we have spent too much time deciding the land should be commercial." Now there is a solid piece of evidence if I ever saw any. It is stacking mistake on top of mistake. This type of solid logic wouldn't know an absorption rate analysis if it hit them across the head. If they had an absorption rate analysis on office and warehouse for Northshore, all they had to do was reference it. That's all they've ever had to do. That is called evidence. Anyone seen it....or any? It would appear that all the facts that is presented by "officialdom" is the opinions developed by people that have never developed and sold real estate in their lives. Maybe we could do better with tool and die makers.
Doug's vote is a big non-surprise. He would not vote for anything unless it had Lynda Hubble painted all over it. Carl and Michael voted true to form. They have successfully blocked the development twice. They will both be running for mayor in the next election. That is hardly a comfortable feeling. Tammy has only had the opportunity to defeat this type of development once, but does it with flair, usually without any meaningful discussion. However, she did attempt to send the proposal back to staff for review. I'm a little disappointed in Debby, but she didn't have the firepower to put up a fight. Todd voted for the proposal, as before. Chris was absent, but he voted for an earlier proposal.
With the above voting, an $80 million development was stopped from contributing to our tax base. This is in the face of overwhelming evidence of the need for upscale housing. It was voted out because of the imminent arrival of ...(?). As proven by ......(?). The disposable income of families that will not be living in Rowlett will never demand other needed goods and services, like upscale restaurants and shops. That will be substantially delayed. Rowlett taxpayers are going to have to "take up the slack" of the absence of tax revenue from the contribution to the tax base. However, the most un-American disservice was done to Mr. Monday. He had owned the land for 30 years. He paid taxes on the land for 30 years. He tried to sell his land twice to Mr. Douglas for a perfectly legal purpose. In fact, a purpose that was highly benifical to Rowlett. I could understand the council's denial of an animal carcass rendering plant, but a subdivision of homes averaging $400K per house in value? No evidence was presented as sound evidence against the proposal. The reason was just because the council didn't want to. Mr. Monday was denied his civil rights. That is a shame. I think he has a legal cause.
Well, keep up your hopes. After all, Carl, Michael, and Tammy will all be running for mayor next election. What could possibly go wrong? The only refreshing thing about this rejection was that the credit card service center was not mentioned as a potential purchaser. I guess it has been used up. It never worked with sane people, anyway.