Good afternoon, all. Here is my usual brief summary of last night's Dickinson City Council meeting. Please feel free to share it with any one whom you think would be interested.
We began with a workshop to discuss the Eagle's Landing Townhome Development on 15.4 acres off Golf Road. Council had been given a briefing on the project by the developers at our last meeting. It had generated a lot of opposition from the community, so the meeting was scheduled to hear from them and get the response of the developer.
After the developer and the company's asset manager gave a brief presentation, we heard from about a dozen residents from the area. There were well over 100 people total in attendance, so an overflow area was set up in the lobby outside the Council Chambers.
In general, those opposed referred to potential increased criminal activities, traffic problems, the impact of low income housing on property values and increased stress and pressure on DISD. No one spoke in favor of the proposal.
We then began our regular meeting at 7:26 PM, delayed to hear from all those who had signed up to speak.
Mayor Masters announced that she had created two new awards to be given annually. They were announced at a Keep Dickinson Beautiful event on Saturday night, February 11. One is to be called the "Mary Dunbaugh Community Spirit Award," named for Councilwoman Mary Dunbaugh, who is also the first recipient. Mary was present at the KDB event and had already received the award. It is certainly an appropriate award for Mary.
The second award was quite a surprise to me - the "Kerry Neves Community Service Award." Mayor Masters presented me with the award, and made some very nice remarks about my activities within the City. My comment was the picture of me on the plaque was not quite as gray (silver?) as I have become since it was taken.
Chief Morales then introduced John Snelson, the new Head Coach and Athletic Director for the Dickinson High School football team.
A presentation was made by the Texas Police Chief's Association, formally awarding the Dickinson Police Department its certification under the Best Practices Program. The DPD had to meet 164 standards to receive that certification, and then only after the Department was approved by a committee of nine current police chiefs. The vote by that committee was 9 - 0. DPD is the 52nd recognized agency within the State of Texas.
A number of people spoke to Council opposing the Eagle's Landing project during public comments. The developer then had the opportunity to make comments in response.
Mayor Masters then moved the action items for the Eagle's Landing project up, since there were many people who had stayed after the workshop. Councilman Decker made a motion to deny support for the project from the City, which I seconded. After a number of comments from Council members, the motion was approved unanimously. Councilman Decker then made a motion to deny approval of the Community Revitalization and Redevelopment plan for the project, which I seconded. That motion also was approved unanimously.
Those votes in themselves do not end the project, but the reality is that without City support, the chances of getting funding through the state are very unlikely. I would expect the developers to abandon the project in the near future.
We then received reports from our Public Works Department on a number of projects within the City. In particular, the Hughes Road project is complete, and Owens Drive has been opened to traffic in both directions.
A local resident, Jeff Nuss, spoke to Council about concerns of the neighborhood around Water Street. The City recently purchased property to the South of the old Sussan's building, with the intent to protect that property's development, and to possibly combine it with the Sussan's property for some project down the road. The neighbors to the west are concerned about traffic, noise and disruption of their neighborhood. We pointed out there is no development or project planned yet, but we committed to keep them informed about anything which does come up.
We were briefed on the status of the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) dealing with Hurricane Ike recovery funds. We were then briefed on recent actions of the Dickinson Economic Development Corporation (the 4B Corporation).
The dispatchers at the Dickinson Police Department have implemented a program and become certified in the Missing and Exploited Children Program. Vernita Rawls, the Dispatch Supervisor, described the program and the training they received to become certified. The Dickinson Police Department is the fourth agency in the State of Texas to become certified, the only agency to do so within the Houston-Galveston area.
Mayor Masters announced that Keep Dickinson Beautiful had won the Governor's Cup Award for the fifth time, which deals with beautification efforts. The award is for $180,000, and will be used to plant trees on Highway 3 and FM 517, along with a number of other beautification efforts.
Council voted to cast the City's ballots for the re-appointment of Russ Furley to the Board of the Subsidence District.
We then adjourned for a brief executive session. After that session, we approved the terms of a settlement agreement between the City and Tracy Keel, a former employee of the Dickinson Police Department.
I was, of course, honored by the award announced in my name by the Mayor. I am, however, only one of many people in Dickinson who are volunteers and involved with the various community groups. There are a number of people who would have been as deserving, if not more, than me. I also want to give credit to my wife, Sharon, who has had to live with my inability to say "No." I am truly humbled by Julie Master's action in creating this award, and thank her and the City of Dickinson for it.
Our next meeting will be February 28, beginning at 7:00 PM. You are invited to attend and be a part of the governance of our City. I look forward to seeing you there.