Rob Murphy: Why Frisco should vote NO
April 4, 2009
In Don Cacace’s recent column, he laments that “For the seventh time in 16 years, Frisco citizens have been forced to rally on land issues.” He’s referring to the citizen initiative that created the petition and election, but there’s another Frisco citizen group that’s been forced to rally around this land issue, Families for Frisco, who urge you to exercise your right to vote NO on your mail-in ballot.
We’ve watched the arguments in support of the ballot measure shift over the last several months. At first, backers of the initiative acknowledged that “the Peak One parcel brought this to light,” and framed things in terms of “Defending Frisco’s Open Spaces.” However, the focus soon changed, possibly for the following reasons:
” Frisco residents already have the right to vote on designated town open spaces and parks
” The Peak One parcel is 12.68 acres backing up to 2.3 million acres of national forest
” Peak One parcel guidelines call for preservation of 30 percent open space for any large development
The new focus is Frisco’s “voice on open land sales,” or the “right to vote.” The argument that citizen involvement and opinion has been excluded or ignored, and that the upcoming vote is the way to remedy this, is equally dubious.
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Surveys showing that a majority of Frisco voters consider affordable housing as a high-priority issue, and statistical data on housing needs led the town to rightly consider the Peak One parcel as a potential spot for housing development. This was followed by public meetings demonstrating that, while some participants opposed any development, “the majority of participants felt that the Peak One Parcel was a favorable location for a mixed income neighborhood.” Perhaps the best illustration of the effect that public input had was the reduction in density by more than 50 percent, from well over 100 units to around 60-65.
Friends of Frisco Open Spaces claim to have put forth this vote as a way of ensuring “true consensus building” and a balanced development plan. They ignore, intentionally or unintentionally, the fact that a balanced plan already exists, shaped by public input, and subject to additional citizen input in the future. They also ignore, intentionally or not, that the risk of being shot down will likely scare off any developer who would otherwise be interested in submitting a quality development proposal. Hardly consensus building (unless your definition of consensus is no development at all).
Since this ballot measure would place a likely insurmountable obstacle in the way of any development, this vote, regardless of wording or stated intentions, is essentially about affordable housing on the Peak One parcel, and the future of Frisco’s middle class.
“Vote yes” supporters have also submitted a number of misleading, erroneous, and even contradictory assertions about Peak One parcel development. One supporter in a letter to the editor was concerned that the neighborhood would be filled with overcrowded rental units contributing three cars each, while another at a town council meeting suggested that Peak One parcel was inappropriate because people who need affordable housing don’t have cars, and need to be by the bus station. Others have compared proposed development to a parking lot, or Xcel substation. Obviously, none of these people have paid attention to the actual plan.
Join us in voting NO on your April mail-in ballot, in support of a vibrant Frisco through preservation of our middle class workforce, and in opposition to misleading and self-interested attempts to block development of housing on the Peak One parcel.
Families For Frisco