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Vote in bond election November 7, 2017

Proposition A – Pike Street/DART Station Area Improvements

Bond Amount: $4 Million Project 

Location: Pike Street from I-35 to Bee Street

Project Details: Approval of this bond would allow for a new streetscape on Pike Street from I-35 to Bee Street, a key piece to bringing to life City’s Station Area. The plan includes creating a more walkable, visually appealing street that would include new pad site opportunities for future restaurants or entertainment venues. The updated and expanded sidewalks would create connectivity for residents and visitors to the Farmers Branch Market, the Farmers Branch StarCenter, Firehouse Theatre, the upcoming Bee Restaurant Park, and the DART Station.

Branch Forum Recommendation – AGAINST: We applaud the city for looking to expand Farmers Branch’s dining, retail and entertainment options, and further developing the DART Station area. Additionally, relocating the city center from the Four Corners (Josey and Valley View) to an area near the DART Station is a good idea.   

However, we believe having the city pay for these improvements are premature. Instead of residents paying $4 million for public improvements, the city should focus on finding a developer first who could potentially foot the bill for these costs.

In this instance, we believe Farmers Branch is putting the cart before the horse and recommend voting AGAINST Proposition A.


Proposition B – Trails & Sidewalks

Bond Amount: $7 Million Project 

Location: All Central Area of the City and the John F. Burke Nature Preserve located on the west side of the City at 1111 Valley View Lane

Project Details: Approval of this bond would allow for further implementation of the City’s Trail Master Plan which prioritizes creating a more connected City with safer, walkable streets. Trails and sidewalks in a community make it easier for people to incorporate exercise into their daily routines, they are safe havens for walking and jogging, bicycling, family and social outings that connect people to places they want to go. This bond would allow improved City infrastructure and would help connect destinations within the City between neighborhoods, schools, parks, transportation options, and surrounding cities.

Branch Forum Recommendation – FOR: We strongly believe that creating a trail network for bikes and pedestrians to connect the center of the city to the east and west sides of Farmers Branch will make the city more attractive to new residents.  

The benefits of a trail system are numerous. Most people tend to focus on the recreational or environmental aspects of trail systems, failing to see the total package that a trail system can provide to communities, including public health, economic and transportation benefits, and even the effect on community pride and identity.

A trail system can create healthy recreation and transportation opportunities by providing people of all ages with safe, accessible places to cycle, walk, hike, jog or skate.  In addition, trails often function as viable transportation corridors. 

Trails can be a crucial element to connect businesses to our bus lines and to the Downtown Farmers Branch DART station. The ability to avoid congested streets and highways, and travel through natural areas on foot or bikes, is a large factor in a community's "livability."   

Vote FOR Proposition B.

Proposition C – Neighborhood Revitalization

Bond Amount: $4 Million Project 

Location: All Farmers Branch residential areas 

Project Details: Approval of this bond would allow for the continuation of the City’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program and the Demo/Rebuild Residential Incentive Program. The Demo/ Rebuild Program allows the City to offer incentives to residents to build new homes in the City which improves neighborhood desirability and property values. The Neighborhood Revitalization program allows the City to identify and purchase properties that are either in major disrepair or strategic to new development and demolish and sell them on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for residential redevelopment, further improving the City and residents’ property values.

Branch Forum Recommendation – AGAINST: When deciding how to vote on this proposition, ask yourself this question – “Do I want to vote to raise my taxes so someone can get a subsidy to tear down a house in my neighborhood, or build a larger and more expensive house, causing my appraisal to go up, and raising my taxes?” 

If your answer to this question is “yes,” vote for Proposition C. If your answer is “no,” vote against Proposition C.

If we're going to attract young families, we must preserve our lower priced homes. We should be creating and emphasizing remodel incentives for existing homes rather than having teardowns as our only option.  

Look at the remodel incentives our neighboring cities of Richardson and Carrollton have implemented. In fact, Carrollton offers many different incentives to neighborhoods and homeowners for improvements.

Besides being concentrated in just a few neighborhoods where subsidies are not needed to drive revitalization, demo/rebuild is a form of gentrification. We believe that part of the reason residents choose to live in Farmers Branch is the fact that we have a variety of neighborhoods with larger yards and big trees.  

The diversity of our city helps it retain the "small town" feel which new and longtime residents love. We will have enough McMansions on the Westside without tearing down our existing homes and driving out less affluent residents and seniors.

With $3 million already set aside for Demo/Rebuild, the city would be better served by creating a package of "Home Improvement Incentives" for current residents and our neighborhoods. That is what Metrostudy recommended to the Council in 2014
As voters, we should not ignore what will help the residents of our city. Vote AGAINST Proposition C and demand that remodel incentives be made available to everyone.

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