the Controversial Committee Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”
“ High Octane Torofeca© ”
Well, dear readers, the staff of the CCR is still awake and aware. While keeping an eye on local bureaucratic issues, it actually appears things have been running rather smoothly under the new regime. The ex-queen is not even missed and city related issues are actually being accomplished. Such a relief!
However, it does seem as if a few of your elected officials have decided to forgo the staid processes, of those who sat in their seats of governmental authority before them, by charting a new and deleterious course in addressing zoning issues for ‘beautiful downtown Irving.’
The latest council action, on denying Zoning Case #17-0030, could have a long lasting effect on the city if not addressed in a rationale manner. And the possibility of legal issues could exist if not addressed.
It has been the general rule for city council zoning cases, until the October 17, 2017, meeting, that the process of zoning basically upheld: “property is zoned, not people.”
Sadly, one council member, Allan Meagher, recently led the charge to deny the zoning on a chunk of property at Northgate and the Bush Turnpike due, in part, to his personal feelings and apparent disdain for the developer. Meagher’s derision of the developer centered around a current business the developer has in Irving.
(Note: The other business owned was not part of the zoning case before the council.)
The property actually being zoned was slated to be modeled in the same fashion as a Quik Trip operation. Sounds good right? After all, on the Bush Turnpike from I-20 in Arlington north to I-35, there is not a facility for motorists to utilize off the freeway ramp when needing gas, refreshments, or relief.
And the Planning and Zoning Commission had approved the project development on an 8-1 vote.
If the Planning and Zoning Commission considered the zoning to be acceptable, then what could cause the city council to deny the zoning on an 5-4 vote?
Actually, the zoning denial by the council could be condensed to two issues fraught with irrelevant facts: Allan Meagher and the city manager/staff recommendation.
While Meagher’s comments were totally off target during the case discussion, his rationale of supporting the city manager/staff recommendation for denial just couldn’t fill a Mini-Cooper gas tank. His high octane verbiage reeked with fumes of personal disdain for the developer. This was evident when he accused the developer of gasoline price gouging at another business location during the Harvey hurricane days. What?!
Even when the developer offered to share all of his price and cost information, for gasoline pricing during the Harvey hurricane aftermath, Meagher responded that he wasn’t interested and didn’t want to see the actual data. Really?!
It’s a sad day when facts are not relevant to an issue before the council.
Why was Meagher reluctant to see the developer’s data which might indicate he had not been involved in gasoline price gouging…even when it was noted the State’s Attorney General had declared the pricing actions as not being in violation of the law, or price gouging? Better yet, where is possible gasoline price gouging noted in any zoning criteria as a useable defense to deny a developer their zoning?
If the gasoline price gouging Torofeca-rhetoric wasn’t enough to fill Meagher’s shallow tank of ridiculous counter points for the developer’s property, then he weakly hid behind the city manager/staff recommendation to deny the zoning case. Apparently, the realization of gasoline price gouging wasn’t working in his favor, so he shifted octane levels and relied on the flimsy city’s denial rationale for protective cover.
And to later question, by asking the developer, if his current business was a “big part of the community,” as a consideration for zoning, was just another disingenuous load of Torofeca which Meagher piled on the discussion. How many small businesses in Irving are a “big part of the community?" What defines being a “big part of the community” for a small business in Irving?
Will future zoning applicants need to file and receive certification for being a Big Part of the Community from council member Meagher to receive future zoning approval?
Resident’s of ‘beautiful downtown Irving' should thank council member Dennis Webb for his level of concern and astute remarks regarding what property zoning in the city should be all about.
Webb proceeded to accurately dissect the flaky comments contained in the city manager/staff denial recommendation. He noted several of the recommended items failed to pass the fume-test of validity on many points. He listed how the recommendations identified factors which were either not relevant to the case before the council, or plainly failed to be a mitigating circumstance for consideration in a denial.
As noted, the council voted 5-4 to deny the property zoning apparently based on the developer involved with the project, not the absolute criteria of zoning requirements which have been recognized by councils in the past.
Not only does Meagher’s disingenuous actions, boorish behavior, and the council's denial of the zoning case establish a precarious precedent for future zoning cases in ‘beautiful downtown Irving,’ but the denial vote was based on Torofeca rhetoric, developer personality and non-consequential actions with another business, and weak issues noted in the overall denial recommendation by the city manager/staff.
When you thank councilman Webb for properly considering that the city should prescribe to the facts of property is zoned, not people, be sure to give a nod of appreciation to the other council members who voted with him to approve this zoning case — Riddle, Ward and Danish.
Perhaps, Webb should request the city provide a remedial course in zoning for the council members who need a refresher course on how to properly zone property, not people.