Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Strategic Planning Meeting

Last Wednesday the City Council met in the UTA Planetarium for a four hour meeting concerning the City's needs, reaching into the future for the next 5-10 years.  It was a workshop session that had us identify factors that not only affect our city but also exist on a state and federal level.  In other words we were asked to consider all the factors that local government could face with consideration to all levels of Societal Trends, Political Factors, Economic Climate, Industrial Trends and Technological Factors.  We were also asked to consider what the Citizen Expectations were and also our Employee Expectations.  Then we were asked what our challenges were for the future in trying to attain these goals.  What supports success and what will be the obstacles confront us.  After about three hours we then voted on the top five goals that the Council should be pursuing.  These are the results:

                                            1.  Continue to focus on the Entertainment District
                                            2.  Economic Development
                                            3.  Update the Comprehensive Plan for the City
                                            4.  Intensify Code Compliance/Public Safety
                                            5.  Articulate and address Future Vision for Housing

Entertainment District-Arlington has become a destination city with events where people come from all over to see and participate.  The proximity of DFW, Dallas and Ft. Worth contribute to this venue.  We certainly want to promote our events and the attraction of new complexes such as a destination hotel etc.

Economic Development-It is important that the city invests within itself.  Once that happens then other investors will consider development of the city and as an end result our collective tax base will increase.  Which means your houses will be worth more.

Comprehensive Plan-The current comprehensive plan was update and adopted in 1992.  That's right its 20 years old.  We need to adopt a new plan for the city and we need to make sure that we update that plan in a more timely fashion.

Code Compliance/Public Safety-2/3's of our general fund is consumed by our requirement to keep our citizens safe.  We need to make sure that we have at our disposal the most progressive and advanced equipment and the best trained personnel to keep us safe from harm.  Also it is imperative that we maintain a certain set of living standards for our community.  These standards have to be modernized as technology evolves.  It is important that the city reconstitute itself, and maintain its stand of living through revising/complying with updated code.

Address Housing-apartments, that four letter word, are truly a dilemma in our city.  Planning and Zoning from the past has been very detrimental to the makeup of this city.  There are way to many apartments and I know we would all like more single family dwellings.  This however is impossible, due solely to the cost to reconstitute and develop the land.  To get an apartment building back to raw build able land cost millions.  67% of all the door knobs in District 1 are multi family.  Amazing isn't it!  The city simply doesn't have the funds to buy up all the apartments and give the land to developers.  As a Council we need to look at each project and insure that it benefits the city now and 30 years from now.  It can be done and it needs to be done right from this point forward.

Well this is the kinda stuff that I do in my spare time.  Just thought that I give you some insight as to what down the road looks like. 


  1. "67% of all the door knobs in District 1 are multi family."

    That is a very sobering statistic. I agree that the city cannot afford to just buy up these properties. All we can do at this point is not allow new apartments in and aggressively enforce code violations and existing laws.

  2. I have already advised one developer that raw land is not a player for multi-family. But if you tear down apartments the only way to go back in to redevelop is another apartment. You simply can't compete with a new home start at Viridian when it comes to lot price per sq/ft.

  3. Just recently, Cooper Ridge apartments were torn down and a gas station is being built. I would think apartments on Cooper would be ripe for retail development. Obviously when it comes to housing, its difficult (and expensive) to take the footprint of an apartment complex and turn it into single family homes. You point about Viridian is valid, but how many homes under 2K square feet will be built there? My understanding is most homes will be high end.

  4. There are no homes in Viridian less than 2,000 sq/ft. I think that the smallest is 2,400 sq/ft and it sells for about $280k.

  5. Are any action steps proposed to address the five goals? What are they?

    Where does mass transit fit in? Is it being promoted in a stealth sort of way? Will proposed free transit systems be viable when people have to pay for the service?

    Before writing new codes what steps are being taken to enforce the codes already on the books?

    The articulation of future houses seems to be already made - High End Expensive- this was made clear in the recent council rejection of one developers plans for homes less than in the neighborhood of $400,000.

    What if anything is being done to improve property values for the homes that already exist in Arlington? How does code enforcement fit in to this situation? How does the quality of education and the continuous expansion of Mission Metroplex in the Downtown area fit into goals?

  6. Tiger59, you have asked 10 questions. Would you like to select one because I have a great deal on my plate and point papers for random questions isn't one of them. Never mind. This is just asking questions that really have no continuity. They are all over the map.

  7. Once again, I want to thank you for providing this forum of communication. On the topic of apartments, I noticed that an apartment complex near the corner or Rogers and Collins was leveled a while back, but nothing appears to be taking its place. Was this due to code issues or is there a larger project that is just taking time to come to fruition? I am always happy to see decaying apartments in the area go away, but I would like to understand what the drivers for it are.

  8. What was the driver for the demolition of the apartments on near the corner of Rogers and Collins? I noticed that there has been no new construction to replace these, even though it is a prime location given the proximity to the stadium. I see this as a move in the right direction on apartments in Arlington.


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