Monday, April 14, 2014

IMPORTANT: City Plan Commission public hearing THIS TUESDAY on a request for a change in zoning affecting the West Spring Valley Redevelopment Plan


I encourage you to make room in your schedule this Tuesday evening, April 15, 2014 at 7 p.m. to attend the Richardson City Plan Commission's public hearing on a request made by a developer for a change in zoning that will affect the West Spring Valley Redevelopment Plan (more specifically, the old Continental Inn site). The public hearing will take place in Council Chambers at Richardson City Hall (411 W. Arapaho Road, Richardson, TX 75080).

For those of you new to the neighborhood, the Continental Inn was once a full-service hotel that, in the course of several decades, deteriorated into a cesspool of criminal activity and became Richardson’s most notorious symbol of the creeping blight that threatened the vitality of Cottonwood Heights, other adjacent neighborhoods and the community at large. The situation festered until leaders in the Cottonwood Heights, Richardson Heights and Heights Park Neighborhood Associations banded together to come up with a set of grassroots proposals based on empirical evidence in other communities that, if implemented, could revitalize our area and make it desirable and relevant to the needs of 21st century families. After two years of collaboration between neighborhood leaders, city staff, elected officials, paid consultants and local businesses, the West Spring Valley Redevelopment Plan was presented to the Richardson City Council, who unanimously voted in favor of rezoning the nearly 200-acre area (which included the old Continental Inn) as a planned development. The City’s first major act in accordance with the Plan was the purchase of the Continental Inn property and its subsequent demolition in the summer of 2012. Simply put, the West Spring Valley Redevelopment Plan is an unprecedented example of grassroots neighborhood leaders coming together with other community stakeholders to formulate a long-term, forward-looking strategy for renewing and revitalizing our neighborhoods. In 2012, the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association even recognized the Plan as an exemplary project.

The public hearing on Tuesday is related to a developer's request for a change in zoning to allow for the development of multiple pad restaurant sites where the old Continental Inn once stood. The CHNA board believes that the development proposed significantly deviates from the West Spring Valley Redevelopment Plan and its quality is insufficient to justify the proposed zoning change. 

Please review the developer's proposed plan here, which begins at page 140 of the agenda packet. If you can make it, I strongly encourage you to attend Tuesday's meeting to show your support for the West Spring Valley Redevelopment Plan. If you feel comfortable speaking in favor of the City continuing its support for the plan the Council endorsed in 2011, please do so. If you would prefer not to speak, you can still fill out a speaker's card denoting your support for the plan. In the end, there is strength in numbers and we encourage you to step up in support of your neighborhood.

(Please note that we anticipate that this will be a long meeting, as there are multiple agenda items outside of this particular zoning case. On top of that, some of you may have RSVP'd to attend the 2014 Spring Neighborhood Leadership Workshop that will be held in the Grand Hall on the same evening. I will make every effort to keep those of you interested in attending both events apprised of progress at the CPC meeting.)

Thank you for all that you do to make our neighborhood vibrant, friendly and desirable. If you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,
Jason Lemons
CHNA President 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NEXT TUESDAY: 2014 Spring Neighborhood Leadership Workshop

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 15th, when the City will host its 2014 Spring Neighborhood Leadership Workshop. The event begins with a catered dinner and networking at 5:30 p.m. and the program will start at 6:30, with two breakout sessions covering the City's Cultural Arts Masterplan and changes to the Richardson Today newsletter that goes out to residents each month.

This is a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors better through networking and to learn more about important city initiatives. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Jenna Hite by Friday, April 11.

See the enclosed brochure for more information.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Get ready for the 2014 Neighborhood Pavement Repair Project

Some of you may have received the enclosed letter from the City over the weekend detailing its 2014 Neighborhood Pavement Repair Project, which will begin this week with construction at Newberry and Arapaho. Contractors will replace asphalt repairs from concrete streets in designated areas with reinforced concrete. In some areas, failed concrete pavement adjacent to asphalt repairs may require removal and replacement.

The City has designated three separate areas for replacement of asphalt, with work in the first area taking place on Waterview Drive and a number of adjacent streets from Beltline up to Arapaho. The second area will affect a significant section of Cottonwood Heights, including streets adjacent to the length of Waterview Drive from Beltline down to Spring Valley AND all residential streets in Cottonwood Heights east of the creek and west of Hyde Park and Weatherred. Work in the third area will affect residential streets in the Arapaho Heights area that are south of Arapaho, west of Floyd and east of Waterview Drive. (For more details about affected areas, please review the enclosed project map.)

The City estimates that it will take approximately two months for work crews to complete work in each of the project areas. To ensure that the work is done quickly and efficiently, crews may work on more than one street at a time. If your street is included in the affected areas, the contractor will distribute door hangers with information about the project prior to beginning work on your street. Note that street parking and driveway access may be temporarily limited when work is being done on your street.

If you have questions about this project, please contact Project Engineer Brad Bernhard.

Monday, February 24, 2014

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: RPD's 2014 Faith Based Crime Prevention Conference is coming in March!

Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 22 from 8 a.m. to noon for the 2014 Faith Based Crime Prevention Conference, which will take place at Arapaho United Methodist Church. At the free event, "attendees will learn how organizations can stand together to prevent a criminal event from occurring at their place of worship."

For more information or to register, please visit the Richardson Police website.

THIS SATURDAY: The 2nd Annual Eagle-Mustang 5K Run and Food Truck Festival

Looking for something fun to do around the neighborhood this Saturday morning? Look no further than the 2nd Annual Eagle-Mustang 5K Run and Food Truck Festival, which will take place near Richardson High School. The food trucks arrive at 8:30 a.m. and the race begins at 9. Registration fees are $15 for students (RISD or ages 18 and below) and $30 for everyone else. A list of the vendors is below:

For more information and to register for the race, please visit the official Facebook page. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dover Drive Construction Update

Some of you may have received the following letter from the City this week, which details progress on the Dover Drive construction project. Despite severe weather, it appears that the City has made significant headway on the project. Storm drain pipe installation on Dover Drive from Dumont to Beltline is nearly complete, which will allow the contractor to begin street paving work in this section and pipe installation in the section of Dover Drive from Dumont Drive southward to Colfax Drive.
Note that traffic on Dover from Dumont to Beltline will change very soon from one way southbound to one way northbound. As always, exercise caution around the construction areas and pay attention to all traffic control signs.
For more details, please review the letter below.

Monday, January 13, 2014

City Seeks Resident Input on Residential Recycling Program

Later this month, the City of Richardson will host three community meetings to receive public input on the current residential recycling program and what improvements could be made to increase residents' participation in the program. The first meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Huffines Recreation Center. The final meeting is likely to be most geographically convenient to CHNA residents, as it will take place at Heights Recreation Center on January 28 at 6:30 p.m.

If you have issues with the way the current recycling program is administered or if you have ideas for ways to improve the program, please take some time to attend one of these meetings. Please review the press release below for more information about these meetings.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

42nd Annual Richardson Christmas Parade is Saturday (INCLEMENT WEATHER UPDATE)

From the City of Richardson:
The 2013 42nd Annual Richardson Christmas Parade is currently planned to take place as scheduled this Saturday at 9:00 a.m. on its northbound route along Plano Road between Belt Line and Apollo Roads in Richardson.
Organizers of the parade are working with Richardson’s Emergency Management team to monitor winter weather conditions forecasted to impact the North Texas area this weekend and will make decisions on cancellation based on changes in the forecast or current weather conditions. 

Anyone wishing to find information in the event of a cancellation of the parade can visit the following web sites or call the number below:  
In the event of the cancellation of the parade, the City will also send out an e-notification to members signed up to receive the Week in Review News and Notification e-mail blast. People can sign-up for the e-notification list at
Parade officials will make every effort to create and provide a safe and enjoyable parade if the impending storm is less severe than expected and the opportunity to conduct the parade presents itself.
Cancellation of the parade is not taken lightly, and would be due to safety concerns of participants and spectators.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fall Neighborhood Meeting recap

Thanks to everyone who attended last night's CHNA Fall Neighborhood Meeting last night. We tried to run a fast-paced meeting that was rich with valuable neighborhood information, while also making things fun with door prizes and interactive discussions and Q&A sessions.

A big thank you goes out to Dover Elementary Principal Brona Hudson and Assistant City Manager Don Magner for speaking and fielding questions at last night's meeting on upcoming construction plans at Dover and ongoing construction pursuant to the 2010 Bond Package. They both can boast deep knowledge in their particular professional fields, and it was a privilege getting their expert take on issues important to our neighborhood.

Another thank you goes to our special guests, advertisers and event sponsors. We were honored to have Mayor Maczka and City Councilmen Bob Townsend, Mark Solomon, Scott Dunn and Steve Mitchell take part in the meeting. In addition, it was a pleasure visiting with the candidates in the race for Texas House District 102 who joined us at last night's meeting.

If you were unable to join us last night, I have enclosed a copy of the PowerPoint presentation from last night's meeting. I hope you have some time to review it. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions about discussion items from the meeting or anything else.

One last thing... if you have not yet joined or renewed your membership in Cottonwood Heights Neighborhood Association, please join us. A regular membership in CHNA costs only $20 per year, and it's a great way to show your support for our efforts to improve the neighborhood through programs and advocacy. (Lifetime memberships are available for a one-time payment of $1,000, and it's the ultimate way to support CHNA's efforts to keep our neighborhood great!) Again, if you have any questions about the benefits of membership and how to join, feel free to email me.

Best regards,
Jason P. Lemons
Cottonwood Heights Neighborhood Association

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New class date set for Crime Watch Patrol training: Thursday, December 5

If you have an hour or two to spare each month and would like to help with neighborhood crime prevention, please consider joining the Crime Watch Patrol for your neighborhood.

What is Crime Watch Patrol? Designated Crime Watch Patrol areas have a coordinator and area residents as patrol members. Upon completion of mandatory Crime Watch Patrol training, the patrol members volunteer their time and vehicles to patrol the neighborhood and report all suspicious activity to the Police Department. (Note that the program exists to observe activity only; patrol members are prohibited from carrying any type of weapons while patrolling. That includes CHL holders that are patrol members.) The City provides patrols with reflective vests and Crime Watch Patrol magnetic vehicle signs to ensure that patrollers are visible to everyone in the neighborhood.

Can it make a difference in preventing neighborhood crime? Absolutely! Richardson Heights Neighborhood Association's Crime Watch Patrol, active since 1992, resulted in an initial 83% decrease in residential burglaries.

The next training class will take place on Thursday, December 5 from 6 to 10 p.m. If you're interested in joining the Cottonwood Heights Crime Watch Patrol, please submit your online application (available here) as soon as possible.

For more information, contact the Richardson Police Department Crime Prevention Unit at 972-744-4955.

Vigilant residents are the best way to prevent crime in our neighborhood. Please consider joining the Crime Watch Patrol!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

RISD to Recommend Adding Six Classrooms to Dover Elementary; Board of Trustees to Vote on Recommendation this Monday, November 4th

RISD has another update regarding its proposed construction plans for Dover Elementary. In the letter below, Superintendent Waggoner confirms that the District will recommend the addition of six classrooms at Dover Elementary to accommodate current and projected enrollment growth. The Board of Trustees will vote on the District's recommendation at the November 4 Regular meeting. If approved, the District will move forward immediately "with architectural and engineering phases to assess the sites and design plans."

Note that Dr. Waggoner's recommendation did not include any plans for cafeteria or gymnasium expansion, as she has concluded that current space is sufficient. However, if enrollment increases further due to the expansion, the District would work with the campus to adjust student schedules and operations to enable more efficient use of this common space.

As for the effect that expansion may have on traffic around the school, Dr. Waggoner noted that traffic committee recommendations for Dover will go into effect this coming Monday, November 4. If the Board of Trustees approves the District's expansion plans, a traffic study will be conducted and the District plans to work with the City of Richardson to ensure the safety of students and residents.

For more details about the District's plans for Dover Elementary, please review the letter below.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Upcoming RISD Board of Trustees meetings on Dover Construction Plans

RISD announced earlier today that it plans to submit the feedback it received from the neighborhood regarding proposed construction at Dover Elementary at two upcoming Board of Trustees meetings.

The first meeting will take place Wednesday, October 30th, and will consist of a Study Session in which the board will review the district's construction plans and the feedback it received from the public on this project. Note that there will be no opportunity for attendees to address the board directly at this meeting.

The second meeting will take place Wednesday, November 4th. This will be a Regular Meeting, in which the Board will vote on the proposal. The agenda for this meeting also includes an opportunity for the public to address the board directly about the proposal.

For more information about the Dover construction plans and these meetings, please review the letter below. And please consider attending one or both of these important meetings.

Monday, October 28, 2013

City to Modify Stage 3 Emergency Water Management Plan Effective November 1

The City of Richardson announced earlier this morning that it would modify its Stage 3 Emergency Water Management Plan based on critical shortages the North Texas Municipal Water District faces due to below average rainfall, declining water levels in reservoirs and the continuing prohibition of water pumping from Lake Texoma due to zebra mussel infestation. The modified watering schedule will take effect THIS FRIDAY, November 1.

The modified schedule allows for twice a month watering, based on NTMWD guidelines:
  • If the last digit of your address ends with an even number (0, 2, 4, 6 or 8), then you may water on the first and third Saturday of the month (at any time of day, as needed).
  • If the last digit of your address ends with an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7 or 9), then you may water on the first and third Sunday of the month (at any time of day, as needed).
According to landscape experts, lawns become dormant in winter months and require less water. You may continue to use soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems to water your foundation, trees and other ornamental landscaping, as needed.

Note also that no outdoor watering is allowed at times of precipitation (including rain, snow, sleet, etc.).

For more information, visit the City website. General water conservation tips are available here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

NEXT WEEK: RHS Repertory Theatre presents HalloWonderLand, Phobia!!! and Penny Dreadfuls

Get ready for some Halloween thrills and chills for all ages, when the Richardson High School Repertory Theatre presents HalloWonderLand, PHOBIA!! and Penny Dreadfuls on October 28-31:
Scared of snakes, bugs, clowns, or tight spaces?  Then we DARE you to visit RHS’s PHOBIA!!, a new haunted experience for ages 12-73.  We’ll take you through the RHS auditorium, now haunted by escaped convicts from an insane asylum.  Their fears become your nightmares!!! 
If you’re under the age of twelve and want a gentler haunted experience, we invite you to follow Alice as she wanders through WonderLand, meeting all the famous WonderLand characters, in search of the Queen of Heart’s missing Halloween candy!  No scares—just chocolate and fun!! 
October 28-31, 2013.  HalloWonderLand runs from 6-8PM [and costs] $5.00 and Phobia!! runs from 7-9:30PM [and costs] $8.00.  Bring your friends, bring your teams, bring anyone that dares!
This is a great opportunity for family Halloween fun in the presence of some truly talented students. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

MARK THE DATE: Fall Neighborhood Barbecue Social and Seed Swap to take place Sunday, November 3

Please join your neighbors at Durham Park on the afternoon of Sunday, November 3rd for Cottonwood Heights Neighborhood Association's Fall Barbecue Social and (first ever) Seed Swap!

In past years, CHNA hosted a hot dog social on a Sunday afternoon in the Fall at the Cottonwood Park pavilion. Now that our new neighborhood park is completed, your board decided to shuffle the deck a little this year:
  1. Instead of serving hot dogs at this year's event, Wendy Wright Realtors has generously donated ten pounds of barbecue beef for sandwiches. We'll have all the trimmings on hand, so be sure to stop by for some delicious barbecue.
  2. This year, we'll also add a "seed swap" to our social activities. What is a seed swap? If you have some extra seeds that you don't have room for in your garden, gather them up and put them in envelopes labeled with the plant name to share with your neighbors. Obviously, plants that spread by seed are accepted, but you can also dig up plants you love that are now spreading in areas where you don't want them. (Perennials are also a great choice for sharing, as they establish in the wintertime and bloom in the spring.) We'll have a plant exchange table at the social, where you can trade plants and seeds with your neighbors.
The Barbecue Social and Seed Swap will begin at 3:30 p.m. (after the Cowboys game, of course) at the covered pavilion at Durham Park. Please bring a favorite side or dessert to share with your neighbors, as well.

If you have any questions about this event, please let me know. We hope to see you there!

Best regards,
Jason Lemons
Cottonwood Heights Neighborhood Association