I'm sitting here in front of my keyboard........and I don't have a clue where to start. There are too many Robertson Parks. There seems to be a horrible misunderstanding about what's really going on. I can only fault misinformation. The newspapers aren't completely accurate, and the city seems to be having a problem getting accurate information out to the citizens. It's probably nobody's "fault." However, I would like to think that a better effort of distributing accurate information will soon be forthcoming.......by the newspapers and Rowlett "officialdom."
I will start with the newspapers.
I read this week's issue of the Lakeshore Times. There was an article about Robertson Park. The article starts out with a commentary about Councilman Rick Sheffield's gray hair. I'm not really sure how Mr. Sheffield's gray hair is germane to the subject, but it did get a politician's name in the paper. I guess that's important......to a politician.
Next, the Lakeshore Times article reports that 257 acres of land is being sold to Rowlett for $31.4 million. Well, the acreage is accurate. Other DMN articles report the price as $31.8 million, but what's $400,000.00 among friends. Oh yeah, the article fails to tell you that the City of Rowlett will only own the land for about 10 seconds. The implications are that the City of Rowlett will own the land and a developer will develop the land for us. However, late in the article, it is said Donahue Development will provide all the money for the sale. No explanation is given why Donahue is paying for Rowlett's land. It looks like someone would ask a question.......but I haven't seen any questions about why a good Samaritan was paying $31.4 million for Rowlett's land. Do you think anyone is paying attention? Maybe the news writer's editor cut this little piece of information.
So......now we have a measurable amount of Rowlett's population thinking that Rowlett is buying Robertson Park. Now, the Dallas Morning News doesn't get a pass. They made the same stupid mistake in their articles.
There is an earlier post in this blog explaining what a "simultaneous closing" is. Apparently, that concept is way over the head of our local newspaper writers. A "simultaneous closing" is when more than one closing is taking place at the same time. The newspapers are technically correct when they say Rowlett was buying the property.........for about 10 seconds. Right after Dallas deeds the property to Rowlett, Rowlett then signs another deed conveying the property to probably Donahue Development, or one of Kent Donahue's other companies. That is why Donahue is paying the $31.8 million dollars. The City of Rowlett is not putting a dime into the deal!! Neither did they guarantee any part of any financing. The land will not be owned by Rowlett. Donahue will own the land. As such, Robertson Park will become private land. However, Rowlett will annex the park land and will have jurisdiction over the land with zoning approvals and building codes. Rowlett will have a big say over what is built. And......good people, that is the scariest part of this deal. The Lakeshore Times writes, "Marc Kurbansade, director of development services, estimated the area could support well more than 1,000 homes and a population of 5,000." That, good people is scary. I really don't think Marc meant that. If you get a density of 3.4 lots per acre, and that's kind of average, the 1,000 houses would cover the entire 257 acres. That would probably be the dumbest thing I have seen in my entire life.......and I've lived a long time.
So, I blew up the map that was in the newspaper article so that I could read it. It is below:
The Lakeshore Times reports that Dallas will participate in sales taxes. That's not as I understand it and explained by the mayor. Todd told me that Dallas will participate in real estate taxes......not sales taxes.....and their claim doesn't start for 21 years.
Then, I read the Rockwall/Rowlett special section of today's Dallas Morning News. The confusion in this article is a direct result of poor communication. There were 6 respondents in the "Sounding Off" article. I don't believe any of them had a clear understanding of what was coming down. First, the land would be owned by Donahue.......not the City of Rowlett. That makes it private land. Donahue can do anything the zoning ordinances and building codes allow. Secondly, the land goes on the tax rolls immediately after Rowlett annexes the land........unless the city allows a tax concession. That means $31.8 million goes on the tax rolls immediately, and there ain't been anything like that for the 40 years I've lived here. The developer hasn't even put a shovel in the ground, yet, and Rowlett added nearly $32 million to the tax base. As development progresses, our tax base will grow. However, we can't give away the store with tax concessions........we can help get it started, but the desirability of the land will not need much help, IMO.
Look, I have nothing against the newspapers. I started college as a journalism major, but they either are not asking the right questions, or the people they're asking are giving the wrong answers. Or.........I've been getting the wrong answers.
I would have to say at this point, that I strongly believe anyone would be getting more insight into the Robertson Park and it's subsequent development right here in this blog than anywhere else. Others may have more "insider" info, but I'll know what to do with it. There is a mountain of analytical work to be done here. It will be fun.