"Welcome to a brand new blog site. It is hoped you can take away some thoughts about Rowlett, Texas, and the Lake Ray Hubbard area. It is further hoped that you can contribute to discussions about our area. This blog site should provide an additional opportunity to discuss our town. Rowlett can be a really great place to live, but it needs some help from its citizens. That’s you. Every town or city reflects the personality of its citizens and their elected officials. It all starts with you and your thoughts that are forwarded to the people you elect to office. Pretty simple, huh?
Well, maybe not so simple. There are approximately 37,000 registered voters in Rowlett. I think about 1400 persons voted in the last local election. That’s about 3.7% of the voters. Stated another way, each person that voted controlled the future of 26 other voters. That hardly seems fair, but only your involvement can change the ratio, and have a more meaningful and representative say in Rowlett’s future. Over the years, I have served on many committees and one term as City Councilman. Involvement in city affairs gave me some insight into the Rowlett’s citizenry and its participation in the city’s blood flow. The launching of this blog site hopes to provide an informal place to discuss our town. My unabashed goal is to coax, embarrass, or argue, in hopes of convincing citizens of Rowlett to take a greater interest in city matters. It’s not important that you agree with me. It’s only important to know why you agree or disagree."
There's been some "action" since I first started writing. Unfortunately, there's been some "inaction," too.
Four years ago, Rowlett 2020 was the word. Everything revolved around Rowlett 2020. The jury is still out, but I don't think Rowlett 2020 has lived up to it's hype. I think a lot of that hype was designed to convince you that you were a major player in designing Rowlett's future. I think that was a con. I think Rowlett 2020 was designed to give our previous city manager what she wanted. I would not have minded it quite so much if she knew what the hell she was doing. IMO she didn't.
But, it wasn't a total loss. I think The Villages of Rowlett, the proposed downtown apartment project, is a direct result of Rowlett 2020 and will add to the town's charm and "marketability." I like the project, however I side with Debby Bobbit. "It costs too much." I don't mean the developer. I mean we taxpayers gave away way too much money. Much of the success of this project (and it will be) is a result of DART. Those plans were made a very long time ago. The staff needs a severe tongue lashing for telling P&Z, City Council, and the citizens that Rowlett was only going to invest $6 million in the project. P&Z and City Council needs a severe tongue lashing for not questioning Staff's numbers. I am at $11 million, and still counting. There is a post in this blog that backs up those numbers. There is more to come.
People, that is lying, misdirection, manipulation, or conniving; maybe all four. Somebody should get fired over that. It will take us 58 years to get our $11 million back. There is absolutely no excuse for that behavior.......even if it means taxpayers will get riled up.
We're getting some pretty good development along Highway 66 (Lakeshore Pkwy). Most of that growth is a result of Rowlett just growing because of Dallas and the economic buzz of North Central Texas.
We are also getting a couple of apartment projects in addition to the Villages. One looks pretty upscale.......starting at $1,150 per month for a one bedroom. That ain't for the welfare crowd. I don't know much about the other one, except it is being built on pretty expensive land and that suggests it ain't gonna be cheap either. We needed the apartments.
We still need some retirement developments. There were a couple being discussed, but I don't know where they went......probably lost in the canyons of Rowlett's engineering department.
The saddest events were a direct result of the very poor logic of our previous city manager, and what became her personal consulting firm. Two very upscale residential developments were denied zoning all in the interest of preserving the new zoning criteria of Rowlett 2020. These two developments were specifically designed to take advantage of the new tollway and all the new jobs being created in Plano. Plano is experiencing unbelievable growth and can not house everybody that will be working there. Rowlett's most suitable land for providing this upscale housing (over $300 K per house), was soundly defeated by "officialdom" that had the real estate underwriting experience of a doorknob.
I have written this before, but it's good review. These brain dead "officials" blocked the best thing ever to happen to Rowlett.........and nothing has exceeded the benefits to Rowlett since. These two subdivisions were located on each side of the tollway. There was very easy access to the tollway and all the employment centers in Plano. There was (and is) marketing information that each of these subdivisions would sell one house a week. Average sales prices would be about $360-370 K. There were about 250 lots in each subdivision. Here's what that arithmetic means:
Two houses a week at $350 K each = $700 K on the tax roles each week!!........and there is no tax abatement!!
When built out, the 250 houses per subdivision would produce 500 houses at $350 K each, or (grab your seat, people) a total of $175 million on the tax roles. All of that would now be going on the tax base. People......no deal has even come close to equaling those numbers.
If you vote for anyone again that voted to deny zoning for either of the above projects, you need your oil checked, too. Or, you're not getting enough air. These two developments were entry level real estate thinking.
There isn't going to be anyone riding a white horse come into town to work on Rowlett's real estate tax base.