Richardson Living published a great article where Mark Steger asked the candidates the following two questions. Kyle’s answer is below:
What can the City do to protect public money already committed to the Palisades development and to ensure that the development is completed in a form that is in the best interest of the City, undoing any corrupt influence in the past.
More generally, what changes are required to the City’s code of ethics, planning process, and business practices to restore public trust in City government?
The most important thing we can do as a council is to not allow complacency or have a wait and see mentality. The job now is to ensure the completion of the project. Either it is with the current owners or a new set of developers that buy the remaining portion of the land. We need to make sure all the agreements tied to the 47 million dollars remain in place and the correct infrastructure is completed fully before releasing funds. The scope might have to change. We are heading fast into a contentious 2020 national election that is rife with uncertainty. With that on our horizon getting a corporate anchor will probably be more difficult, but that should not stop us from completing the project.
As a candidate, I can only speculate about the outcome. I have personally already talked to developers and retailers interested in this parcel of land mainly looking for ideas. I have also polled hundreds of residents in the adjacent neighborhood with a lot of great feedback. A few strong concepts came across after talking to everyone that I engaged in the discussion.
It’s going to be hard to fill 2.5 million SF of office space.
Palisades has to be connected to Galatyn station either over 75, under 75, or a shuttle system (Palisades was marketed as a mass transit friendly location)
Alternative anchors would be welcome such as a Trader Joe’s (or similar business), hotel/condo highrise project, or movie theater.
Neighbors were more interested in entertainment focused businesses than traditional retailers. The scope of what one council person can do is limited but at minimum, I will continue the conversation and push for completion.
Recently Richardson was awarded a recognition for transparency. We need to strive to be as transparent as possible. All incoming and current council people need to review the code of ethics, find the loopholes, and close them to prevent further messes like Palisades from happening again. Richardson is a great city and had multiple commissions run by volunteer citizens. These meetings are open to the public and should continue to be open.
Once again I strongly believe in the development of our city is that when a project makes it through the planning commission, recommended and is approved by the council, we should not variance the project into something different than the original plan. It’s something that happened with Palisades. Developers should strive to stay with the original plan as closely as possible. Any project that changes more than predetermined percent should have to go through the planning process again.
I strive to be extremely accessible to the citizens of Richardson as we all should. City council service should take 20 to 30 hours a week and we should dedicate that time to our city. During this and all future elections we should look at our candidates and evaluate them by many measures.
One of which is, “do they have the time to serve?” Most people can’t carve out an additional 20 to 30 hours to do this position and that is why traditionally council people are either retired or have their own businesses that can be run by employees.
We can restore trust by always putting the needs of our citizens first. I think Richardson learned an important lesson with Palisades and you can see a shift in focusing on the needs of the surrounding neighbors more now in the current developments being planned. We need to continue this focus.