Plano City council candidate Rick Smith stands with homeowners against plans to overcrowd Plano’s future with apartments

Rick Smith says Plano citizens, voters and residents want safer and less overcrowded schools and streets. He says Plano voters want their voice to be heard at city hall.

If you listen closely, Plano voters are sounding the same alarm as residents in Allen, Frisco and McKinney this election.

Special thanks to the Plano Chamber for sharing videos on all participating candidates in #CollinCountyVotes project

Election day is May 6. This story is part of a series leading up to the May 6 election. The purpose of all of these stories is to get out the vote. Vote for the candidate of your choice.

CollinCountyMagazine.com shares local news inside the county line. Please share on your social media so that more of your friends can be engaged in the community.

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Plano TX: Get to know Ed Acklin

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A strong proponent of small business, Ed Acklin owned and operated his own electrical construction company for some 25 years.

Ed also has decades of experience in real estate. Taking on management of his parents’ real estate holding company upon his father’s death, Ed later became managing partner of the family company. He eventually bought out his sister’s interest.

Now, Ed is now ready to go to work in public service to the Plano community.

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Topping the broad list of Ed’s interests is his faith in Jesus Christ and the many Bible Studies that he has been a part of to grow his faith.

For 10 years (starting with Hurricane Katrina), Ed has volunteered to help disaster victims through Texas Baptist Men. His special expertise has been Mass Feeding and Inventory Control.

A student of World War II history, Ed has always been a staunch supporter of our nation’s Armed Services.

For many years, Ed was an avid snow skier and snowmobiler, as well as a hunter.  He studied Tae Kwon Do for almost 20 years.

Ed’s current passions include riding his CanAm Spyder motorcycle (that’s 2 wheels in the front), flying radio-controlled model airplanes and working in his garden-scale electric train layout. He also loves to shoot firearms at the gun range.

Did you know that Ed Acklin has ?

  • Appointed to Plano’s Building Standards Commission
  • Appointed to be a Collin County Poll Judge for the 2016 General Election
  • Holds an Electrical Masters License from the State of Texas
  • Served as past President of the North Texas Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association
  • Is a Certified Instructor for “ServSafe” Food Handling, a division of the National Restaurant Association
  • Served as Unit Director (Blue Hat-retired) with Texas Baptist Men
  • Long time Member of the NRA
  • Earned a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do karate

Ed Acklin has been listening to citizens and wants to fight Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan

By ED ACKLIN

Can you imagine a time when we will abandon our cars and our homes and live in multi-story housing and walk or take public transportation to work? Is this a vision of a better future or a delusion that will result in overcrowding, gridlock, high crime, and deteriorating schools? Well, this is what the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan envisions for our city.

PUT ON YOUR WALKING SHOES

One of the central themes of the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan is walking and cycling. This sounds a lot like college to me, and while I enjoyed college, I did not study so that I could live in a high-density, upscale dormitory and walk or cycle everywhere.

The Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan is trying to paint a picture of Plano that looks more like New York, Chicago, or a European City than a city in Texas. Furthermore, that picture is an idealized version of urban areas, ignoring overcrowding, congestion, and terrible public schools. The Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan paints an illusion.

PLANO TOMORROW COMPREHENSIVE PLAN’s World

IDEALY: In the Plano of the future, Auto Traffic is hopelessly gridlocked so all citizens find a place to park their cars (if they still own one) and start walking or riding their bicycles. The grocery, the dry cleaner, the pharmacy, the doc-in-the-box, etc. are all within walking or bicycling distance in the Neighborhood Center. The Neighborhood Center is key to the community because it is the Transit Station that connects the citizens to the rest of the world. Apartments, instead of single-family homes, will surround the Neighborhood Center because more people want to be able to walk to the Transit Station. People will ride the public conveyance to their office; enjoy their day in buildings surrounded by parks and green belts and return to their luxury apartments to enjoy the pool and exercise room in peace and comfort.

IN REALITY: Plano’s traffic is still hopelessly gridlocked, not by autos but by electric buses trying to move people around. If you thought there would be subways or surface light rail, forget it (far too expensive). You will likely find that you spend as much time getting to and from work as you spend actually working because the route from A (Home) to B (Office) will likely take you through C, D, E, F, G, H, etc.

Walking or cycling is the primary form of transportation of the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan. So you are forced or choose to do that…… even in the 100+ degree temperatures of Plano’s summer months. The Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan wants all buildings to provide locker rooms and showers for you to freshen up and change clothes before you go to your important meeting. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

Routine things such as grocery shopping will become a daily chore. Mom can’t go to the store with all of the kids in tow to bring home a week’s worth of groceries. Everyone will have to stop at the grocery in the Neighborhood Center, purchase what groceries that can be carried while walking or cycling the remaining 2-3 miles to the 5th floor apartment.

And what is the effect on the Senior Citizens? Many Seniors are on fixed incomes and have precious little money on which to survive, much less for luxuries like public transportation. How do they carry a bag full of groceries while using their walker? Many have difficulty walking across their tiny apartment, much less two blocks or two miles to the Neighborhood Center! They become virtual prisoners of their apartments.


Transportation

Public Transit is envisioned to be Trolley Services. That in itself is confusing. Trolleys usually call for overhead power lines. Elsewhere in the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan, it calls for utilities to be underground. So the power lines are taken down for one reason and put back up for another. Interesting!

The Automobile

And what has happened to our cars, SUVs and pickup trucks? Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan makes no mention of automobiles or trucks yet, strangely enough; Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan does talk about parking. It mentions reducing parking spaces for vehicles, while increasing parking for bicycles, as if we are all going to get around on bicycles like the masses in China.

To illustrate this, we can look at the property on the west side of Highway 75 between Legacy and Spring Creek Parkway that was formerly owned by Texas Instruments. That zoning plan, developed under the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan, is a mixed-use development made up largely of apartments. That plan allows for only one parking space for a 1-bedroom apartment and 1-1/2 parking spaces for a 2-bedroom apartment. One bedroom apartments are not likely to be occupied by just one person. The spouse or roommate will be out of luck for a parking space. The second occupant of a 2-bedroom apartment will have no place to park either, to say nothing of any visitors or over-night guest. One might assume that the occupant of bedroom #2 is a child, but when asked about the impact of high density housing on Plano schools, we are told that Parents don’t live in apartments. Someone forgot to tell that to the people who actually live in the apartments. You can gain first hand knowledge of this when you sit in traffic, waiting behind a line of school buses loading up kids at most any apartment complex in Plano.

The point is, private ownership of automobiles will be discouraged under the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan. If it is good enough for New York City or many of the Cities of Europe, then it should be good enough for Plano! Not!


Apartments

The Plano Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) largely developed the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan. As far as apartments are concerned, P&Z is paying little attention to what the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan says. Many of the guidelines are ignored as P&Z passes their cases on to the City Council. Under the current City Council, these cases are passed right through. Rarely is a case sent back to the P&Z for additional work. Once passed by the City Council, the developers, in concert with the P&Z are given a great deal of latitude to revise the plan that was presented to the Council, without the need to re-submit it.

Under the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan, as first passed by the City Council, only vacant property that was already zoned “residential” would be set aside for apartments. One Councilman went so far as to boldly declare in Open Session, that, “No more single-family houses would be built in Plano.” But P&Z was even more aggressive. They set a course to use available commercial property for apartments by re-zoning it to be “mixed-use” making it mostly apartments with one small portion of the property designated Retail.

One of the first studies compiled by a citizens group, called Plano Future, indicates that as many as 40,000 apartments could likely be built under the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan. This could easily bring an additional 100,000 citizens to Plano. The current population of Plano is 275,000. It is easy to envision the negative impact this kind of growth will have on our streets, schools, and public services.

Mobility studies, conducted by engineering firms hired by the Collin County Commissioners Court over the last 10 years have been predicting total traffic gridlock in Plano. Yet no consideration has been given to the impact this massive growth will have on our streets and thoroughfares. And this is as if the Plan had been followed as written.

Schools are already overcrowded and will be more so when this additional 100,000 people arrive. PISD is doing all it can with temporary classrooms, but the growth created by high-density housing will continue to compound over crowded classrooms.

Other infrastructure services will become overloaded as new people move to Plano. Recent rains have filled our lakes but the North Texas Municipal Water District is already sounding the alarm about future water shortages. Police, fire, and other public services will be spread thin as more and more people are packed into Plano.

Plano will likely find that it has overbuilt apartments and there is a glut in the inventory. When considering the need for additional apartments, the inventory in surrounding cities must be considered. Frisco is building thousands of apartments just on the other side of Hwy 121 from Plano, and that will have a major affect on Plano’s inventory. There would seem to be no attention being paid to the actual need for more apartments.

And how will this affect property values in Plano? The first to be affected will be the older existing apartments. As the new units get harder to lease, those rates will start to decline. The older units will start losing tenants to the newer units so their rates will decline as will their up-keep. That will spill over to single-family homes. Houses closest to the apartment complexes will decline first but the adverse effect will spread like a cancer.

Comprehensive Plan or Zoning Ordinance?

As if things were not confusing enough, what is this thing called Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan? It says right on the cover that it is a Comprehensive Plan. The P&Z and the City Council treat it like a Flexible Plan, using it when it is beneficial and disregarding it when it is not.

But when Plano Citizens petitioned to put the issue on the ballot so that citizens could have a voice in the matter, the City said No…. it is a Zoning Ordinance and cannot be subjected to a referendum according to State Law. The City is currently spending Tax Payer Funds to defend that “Zoning Ordinance” position.

So which is it? Is it a rigid Zoning Ordinance or a Flexible Plan? The Courts will decide that question, but can the City have it both ways?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Hopefully, the P&Z and the City Council won’t be able to cover every square foot of vacant land before the Council Elections on May 6th, although I believe they are trying to do so. I sincerely hope that at least three of the conservative candidates that are running for City Council are elected (and yes… I want to be one of those). I believe that it is important for the Council to put a temporary hold on all apartment construction until a true study can be made to determine what Plano’s actual need is, and then start building again in a controlled manner if conditions warrant it. Plano needs to catch its breath.

If we don’t control the beast, the beast is capable of turning and devouring us. A major excess apartment inventory can permanently damage all real estate in Plano, including our homes. We are not in a race with Allen, Frisco and McKinney. If the need is there, the need will always be there in Plano.

So What is My Position with Regard to the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan?

The Plan can best be described as an Idealistic Vision of Some Place far, far away from Plano. It just does not fit the foundation that is Plano Today. If we try to force Plano to fit the Vision, we will create a mess that closely resembles New York City or Chicago. Plano is still a wonderful place to live, but if we try to force it to be something that it is not, we will ruin it. Over-building apartments will do just that.

I strongly believe that we should put a temporary hold on the number of apartments that we approve for construction. We should commission a study to determine what our needs actually are. If the study shows the need for even more apartments, then we can start building again.

About My Opponent

My Opponent served on the Planning and Zoning Commission during the period that the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan was developed, and she was instrumental in its authorship. She was a leading proponent in presenting it to the City Council and encouraged its passage.

Plano Mayor’s race, council election turning nasty as opponents of Harry, Prince, Valente smeared

More than $100,000 is being spent in money raised outside Plano to keep Mayor Harry in office. The campaign is running the Good Old Boy style campaign where the Mayor smiles in every picture and says nice things, while using slight of hand to send out negative dirt on opponents.

When we opened the mail box this week and found a expensive front- and – back full-color mailer from Ben Harris we thought this looks brilliant as he leaves office because of term limits. It looked like a positive mailer thanking voters. But, it was something else in disquise.

It would have been brilliant all the way through if Ben Harris had just said positive things about some candidates we really like in this May 6 election. But, it went from brilliant to bad in seconds for us.

The latest negative ad dressed as a positive advertisement contains some nasty information on the opponents, who are all against Plano being overcrowded.

Negative campaigns and mud-slinging have historically worked nationwide and across the state but the David Dewhurst dark and nasty campaign probably cost him the State Senate election.

Negative campaigns are generally used to cover-up and hide the real problems of candidates running them.

There’s a new mailer out touting Plano’s Best Candidates, but it is loaded with negativity and smears. Just look at it. Dripping with mud.

In his expensive mailer, Ben Harris is the face of Harry’s negative campaign against Lilly Bao.

Now, Ben Harris is also the face of the negative campaigns against Ed Acklin and Anthony Ricciardelli.

We suggest Ben Harris say positive things about the candidates he supports. And stop there.

And, usually when someone comes out campaigning negatively while pretending to be a positive, you know that means that person wanted to run for Mayor but calculated that he would lose in a race with Harry. These negative nasty words against Acklin and Ricciardelli are just the stepping-stone to a later run for mayor by Ben Harris, if history helps us predict future Plano campaigns.

You may have also seen Harry’s other latest mailer that blames all of Plano’s problems on Frisco’s growth. True, Frisco is the fastest growing city in the USA. That all happened while Plano was putting all its efforts into that bizarre turn-around traffic system on Preston Road and Legacy. Frisco also took off while Plano was watching neighbor Richardson build its new huge CityLine around State Farm.

Plano is a great city. Let’s don’t go blaming Plano’s problems on Frisco.

Good luck to all, including Ben Harris, who did a fine job getting Plano to where it is. Again, he is not running this time, but we expect to vote for him again in the future.

Ben if you paid someone who told you it would be a good idea to attack opponents, you might consider getting your money back. All you did was turn a brilliant positive into a real negative. Polling before the election showed that Harry could win this election by just putting his feet in his cool socks up on his desk and taking a nap. He has all the name recognition. Voters know his smiling face. He landed several big companies. And, he has that colorful sock collection. … Just shake hands and smile. … But now polls are showing his campaign made a mistake by going negative. The way voters know if polls reveal that a popular Mayor is nervous is when a candidate launches a negative campaign through the mail and makes personal attacks. We will never understand why Harry has his friends even mentioning the opponents. Build up Harry not tear down concerned citizens.

Stop smearing opponents and their families like you did to Bao, Riccardelli and Acklin. What that tells residents is that if you stand up to city hall and ask questions, you will be smeared. We don’t want that.

Stay positive.

#CollinCountyVotes

LWV-CC Plano Candidates Forum Saturday, April 8 at Haggard Library – League of Women Voters of Collin County

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LWV-CC Candidate Forum: Plano. Candidates in contested races for Plano Mayor/City Council, Plano ISD, and Collin College.

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Haggard Library is at 2501 Coit Road between Park and Parker in Plano, Texas

When: Saturday, April 8, 10:30 a.m. to  1:40 p.m.
Where: Haggard Library, 2501 Coit Road, Plano, TX 75075

Go to League of Women Voters of Collin County LWV-CC for the schedule, format, list of candidates, campaign literature information, and candidate’s statement. This event is not sponsored by the City of Plano nor the library.

LWV-CC Plano Candidates Forum Session 1 – 10:30-11:45

Mayor
Attending: Lily Bao, Harry LaRosiliere, Bill Lisle, Douglas Reeves

City Council Place 2
Attending: Ann Bacchus, Anthony Ricciardelli, Al Valente

City Council Place 4
Attending: Ed Acklin, Kayci Prince

City Council Place 8
Attending: David Downs, Stirling Morris, Rick Smith

Learn more about the League of Women Voters of Collin County

LWV-CC Plano Candidates Forum Session 2 – Noon-1:00

Plano ISD Trustee Place 1
Attending: Carissa Picard, Tammy Richards

Plano ISD Trustee Place 2
Attending: Amanda Jackson, Jack Liu, Angela Powell, Sree Yedavalli

Plano ISD Trustee Place 3
Attending: Nancy Humphrey, Nathan Rylander
Not attending: Yvette Jackson

Plano ISD Trustee Place 6
Attending: Marilyn Hinton, Greg Myer, Trish Patterson

LWV-CC Plano Candidates Forum Session 3 – 1:10-1:40

Collin College Trustee Place 1
Attending: Greg Gomel, Fred Moses

Collin College Trustee Place 2
Attending: Jeri Chambers, Nancy Wurzman

Collin College Trustee Place 3
Attending: Stacey Donald, Larry Wainwright

This CollinCountyMagazine.com story is part of a series leading up to the 2017 May 6 elections.

COMING UP NEXT

Want to know more about the candidates – Attend the Plano Chamber Candidates Forum on April 11 and the Mayor Forum on April 13. #CollinCountyVotes

This CollinCountyMagazine.com story sponsored by the Lincoln Society of Collin County

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Learn more about the candidates #CollinCountyVotes

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This page sponsored by the Lincoln Society of Collin County

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Get out the vote: Meet Ed Acklin – Plano City Council Place 4 #CollinCountyVotes

Video: Plano Chamber of Commerce #CollinCountyVotes

Election stories sponsored by the Lincoln Society of Collin County.

Early voting begins April 24. This story is part of a series leading up to the May 6 election.

CollinCountyMagazine.com shares local news inside the county line. Please share on your social media so that more of your friends can be engaged in the community.

#CollinCountyVotes
Plano Candidates Forum – April 11 #PlanoChamber
#CollinCountyVotes
Get to know the Candidates in Plano for the May 6 election

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McKinney TX candidate forum April 1; Plano candidate forum April 8 – Thanks to League of Women Voters of Collin County

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Where and when will the League of Women Voters of Collin County McKinney Candidate forum be offered?

MCKINNEY TX CANDIDATE FORUMSaturday, April 1
McKinney Senior Center, 1400 S College St, McKinney, TX 75069
Session 1 – 9:30-10:20 – Mayor and City Council At Large
Session 2 – 10:30-11:20 – City Council Districts 1 and 3
Session 3 – 11:30-12:00 – ISD Trustees

PLANO CANDIDATE FORUMSaturday, April 8, 10:30-1:40
Haggard Library, 2501 Coit Road, Plano, TX 75075
Session 1 – 10:30-11:45 – Plano Mayor and City Council
Session 2 – 12:00-1:00 – Plano ISD Trustees
Session 3 – 1:10-1:40 – Collin College Trustees

Find out more about the League of Women Voters of Collin County

 

This page sponsored by the Lincoln Society of Collin County

 

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