On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, the City Council discussed the Envision Oak Point Plan. Ms. Day, from the Planning Department, gave a presentation on the plan. Since the plan first came out, the Planning Department has reduced the number of apartments from 1,600 units to 990 units.
Residents are still concerned about the amount of density in the plan, and taxpayer-funded economic incentives that may go to developers. Councilman Ricciardelli asked for a disclaimer in the plan. He wanted the disclaimer to say, "The following is a list of economic development tools that the city may consider in the future. In approving this plan the city council is not taking a position on whether any of these tools are appropriate or inappropriate for Oak Point." The Mayor was against that. He loves giving taxpayer money to developers. Councilwoman Prince was fine with the disclaimer to help reduce public confusion. In the end, Councilman Ricciardelli won and a disclaimer will be added.
As for the density, that remains the same. The plan predicts a population for the area of 7,630 residents. That is 7,630 people for 1.5 per square miles. Right now Plano has about 4,000 residents per square mile, so the plan calls for squeezing more people together. Does the city council think we are sardines that should be squeezed into a can?! Councilman Ricciardelli suggested reducing the density. The Mayor would not hear of it, and no one else would back Councilman Ricciardelli up. In the end, he lost that battle.
During the discussion, the Mayor kept saying, “The reason for a plan is so we can drive this [type of development] to what we want this to be. We can do nothing, and just let it happen or we can drive this.” He also said, “If we did not have a plan, we will have a hodgepodge [of development] in this area.” Councilman Ron Kelly stated, “This is just a vision." Councilman Rick Smith said, “The plan is a road map of what we want to see.”
Here is the problem with these statements, the residents and the free market are not doing the driving. Instead, the Mayor and bureaucrats are making the road map and doing the driving. The residents and the free market economy need to be in the driver's seat. Only the market will know what kind of development will be successful in this area. Only the free market can meet the demands of the residents who live there. For example, Councilman Ron Kelly said that people in this area say they want less fast food and more destination restaurants. If that is true, an entrepreneur who thinks an upscale restaurant will do well in the area will open one. The same applies to any kind of shopping. Store owners are the best people to predict what has a chance of being successful in an area.
The government, however, is terrible at predicting that. Usually, when the government is the driver, it makes things worse. To exemplify this the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman once said, “If the government was put in charge of the Sahara, it would run out of sand in 5 years.”
If you don't like this plan, and you want the government out of your driver's seat, write to
Christina Day, the Director Of Planning - Chrisd@plano.gov
and City Council
Rick Grady – email@example.com
Ron Kelly – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Harry LaRosiliere – email@example.com
Angela Miner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kayci Prince – email@example.com
Tom Harrison – firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Ricciardelli - email@example.com
Rick Smith – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell them what you don't like in the plan, and how they should fix it before the City Council votes on July 23, 2018.
This is Plano's Political Pit Bull signing off.