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Holliday Park isn't a park!

From: Jeannegenie
Subject: New Fire Station - Deja Vu All Over Again?

In 1997, the City of Farmers Branch planned to sell Holiday Park to a developer for a parking deck and child care center. Neighbors objected and City Council responded to public pressure and supported the community.

Now a new proposal has come forward to turn this little park, which functions as an important buffer between private homes and commercial enterprise, into a new fire station. No one doubts the need for new facilities for our fire department. But many of us believe Holiday Park is the wrong location.

FIRST: It is a Park!
Although the land was zoned "excess-right-of-way" in 1997, it was subsequently re-zoned as a park to protect future incursions on the property. In the Great State of Texas, designated parkland is zealously protected. Under the Texas Protection of Public Parks and Recreational Lands, Chapter 26, Section 26.001, the City is obligated to demonstrate that "there is no feasible alternative to the use or taking of such land." This burden of proof has not been and cannot be met. In fact, three alternative sites were considered, any of which would negate the necessity of desecrating parkland.

Moreover, the Chapter 26 stipulates a specific series of public notifications that must precede any action to re-use parkland. The City has not met these requirements.

SECOND: Who owns this property?
In 1997, the city sent letters on official stationery to homeowners near Holiday Park informing them of the decision to sell the land. The property was described as "excess right-of-way owned by the City." Now we are told that the City does not own the land and intends to purchase it from Dallas County Community College District at full market value.

There being no economies to be gained in building on land the City already owns, there is absolutely no justification for choosing this site over others.

THIRD: More Noise, More Traffic Hazards on Valley View

Unfortunately, only two roadways connect the eastern edge of Farmers Branch to its western limits--Valley View and LBJ Freeway. As a result, virtually every fire and ambulance call anywhere in the City travels along Valley View to respond. Multiple times daily the homes in some of the City's nicest sub-divisions between Webbs Chapel and Midway are blasted with the noise of racing fire trucks, screeching sirens and blasts from an air horn that are deafening. The proposed fire station will make a bad situation worse.

Sound pollution in our community has reached the point where it is detrimental to the health of the citizenry, hampers the sale and resale of residential property and degrades the quality of life in the City. Our elected representatives must decide if they really want to make Farmers Branch livable for human beings.

To consider adding more traffic and noise onto Valley View without exploring sound abatement issues is simply irresponsible. With the incredible volume of traffic (including big rigs escaping congestion on LBJ), homeowners need to be shielded by an eight-foot sound wall.

The Fire Department could also do its part. As thousands of communities across the country know, it simply is not necessary for a fire truck to chaperone every ambulance. Large metropolitan cities throughout the nation and across the globe separated ambulance services from their fire and police departments decades ago. Ambulance staff world-wide somehow manage to do their jobs without fire personnel cheering them from the sidelines.

The apartment fire last week drew support vehicles from Addison, Carrollton, and even Coppell. We watched truck after truck race past our house, all with sirens far less offensive than those we typically endure. The only vehicle that found it necessary to lay on that awful air horn was our own Farmers Branch Fire Department.

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