Friday, May 30, 2014

Not Lots Happening At LOTS

Speaking of LOTS, when I last checked in on the long-running saga surrounding the reconstruction of the trash transfer station on Lookout Drive in Richardson by the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), it was to note that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) had prepared a draft permit for the enlarged operation. That permit was being challenged by a neighborhood group and a hearing was scheduled in Plano on January 8 regarding that appeal.

After the jump, an update.

The group that originally challenged plans for reconstruction of LOTS, "Neighborhood Protection Alliance of Richardson" (NPAR), has apparently morphed into "Lookout for Richardson" (LFR), a single issue group challenging the permit.

One of NPAR's other issues was opposition to the nearby CityLine development. Now, ironically, LFR is trying to enlist CityLine businesses in its opposition to the LOTS reconstruction. Politics makes for strange bedfellows.

According to LFR, that hearing in Plano in January was only a minor procedural hearing to confirm LFR's standing to contest the permit. TCEQ won't make a decision on the appeal itself until later this year, perhaps November.

I've always thought there were two issues with LOTS: location and operation. With regard to location, if it's going to move, it has to move somewhere. If LFR could find a neighborhood that wants it and could get them to petition NTMWD to situate it there, I'd be with them all the way. Otherwise, I have a hard time supporting NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) arguments.

With regard to the operation of LOTS, I'm all for making it more environmentally friendly, improving its containment of trash, noise, and smells. Since LOTS is already in the neighborhood, let's make it as unobtrusive as is practical. LFR performs a valuable service acting as watchdog on this front.


Katherine Cargile said...

I write this not to the author, but those who follow this blog:

Unfortunately, this most recent post demonstrated what I've feared (of any blogger) but simply didn't think was the case on

The Wheel... an uninformed opinion passing as an informed opinion. But what actually disappoints more, the author was given

multiple opportunities, at his convenience, to become more informed before writing this... he showed no interest.

Briefly, a few corrections and clarifications:

1. TCEQ did not prepare a draft permit... this was done by the North Texas Municipal Water District... an imperative

distinction as those most impacted by LOTS have lived with windblown trash, smell, noise for years with no action to correct

taken by the District until recently (when they began the permit process in an attempt to win favor from impacted

neighbors)... all while the TCEQ has stood by and taken the most minimal action on behalf of impacted residents.

2. As was explained to the author, NPAR did not "morph" into LFR. NPAR was an alliance of neighborhoods focused on improving

communication with the City of Richardson. While LOTS was an issue that NPAR was involved in, it would have had no standing

in the contested case hearing process. LFR was created as a single issue organization of the most impacted residents... those

that would have standing in the hearing. While some individuals involved in NPAR are also involved in LFR, there are several

additional individuals... specifically on the LFR board.

3. NPAR was not opposed to CityLine... admittedly, I'm trying to track down the actual statement, but a more correct term

would have been "strongly concerned". If I recall, NPAR but together a list of 30+ concerns in an attempt to encourage the

City to consider items like traffic, density, water runoff, etc... things that are normally not addressed until the design

phase. Again, as I recall, the position of NPAR - and I could be projecting on my own personal opinion of the TOD - was that

development was inevitable... so let's do our collective best, in what was a new zoning concept to most of us, to make the TOD

the best it could be from the beginning.


Katherine Cargile said...


4. To say there are only two issues with LOTS is beyond comprehension for someone that has been so involved for 6 years... but

I'll play along. In that vein, I think there is actually a 3rd issue... land use. It's a simple question... with 52+ acres

of land (directly adjacent to LOTS) now available for redevelopment, why should LOTS and its 5 acres drive the redevelopment?

It is LOTS that will keep the zoning of 52+ acres Industrial & Manufacturing... despite what developers may want to put there.

5. NIMBY... I can only sigh when someone says this. Haven't we paid our dues after 35-40 years? When they are rebuilding and

expanding in a new location, doesn't that change the game? When the entire surrounding area is now the "crown jewel" of

Richardson, shouldn't this be a factor? When there is significant existing Industrial & Manufacturing area just 2 miles

north, could that be considered? When we are still waiting on the District / City to demonstrate why LOTS is anything more

than a convenience based on current capacity / throughput, transfer station best practices (specifically coverage) and long-

needed adjustments to Richardson's Solid Waste / Recycling Master Plan, can't we all agree this isn't just a NIMBY issue?

6. LOTS cannot be unobtrusive... it cannot contain all the trash, noise and smells... it cannot reduce the endless line of

trucks carting trash from one place to another.

Again, we are all responsible for verifying information and forming our own opinions. In the future, please don't make the

same mistake I did and (1) presume the author of this blog is informed before posting his option and/or (2) use his uninformed

opinion as input on your own... take it with a grain of salt. If you would like to become more informed about the LOTS

rebuild and expansion issue to make your own opinion, please reply to this post... and Mark, the offer still stands.

Mark Steger said...

Katherine Cargile, thanks for the detailed response.

You say "TCEQ did not prepare a draft permit... this was done by the North Texas Municipal Water District." In fact, NTMWD submitted an application. The Executive Director of TCEQ "completed the technical review of the Application on December 6, 2012, and prepared a draft permit" as stated in this TCEQ document.

As for your other objections to my post, some rest on things like the meaning of "morph"; the meaning of "opposed" vs "strongly concerned"; and the meaning of "location and operation" vs "land use". I'm open to other word choices, but don't consider my own word choices to be in error.

You have disputed my use of "NIMBY" without correcting what I now realize was an assumption on my part that LFR's membership is neighborhood-based. Did I assume wrong?

I called for making LOTS "as unobtrusive as practical." You say "LOTS cannot be unobtrusive." These can be mutually true.

I thank you for stating your position in your own words. Despite your characterization of my post as "uninformed opinion," I fail to see any factual errors needing correction. I'm sorry that you feel otherwise.

Katherine Cargile said...

I guess we must just agree to disagree on what "fact" means... as well as the importance of word choice... but even more, someone with clearly the most peripheral knowledge of the issue is considered "informed" and supportive of his original assessment. And I note, still not interested in learning more.

I'm sorry that you feel this is enough.

Richardson Citizen said...

Strange that the perspective of NIMBY keeps coming up in reference to LOTS a waste transfer station that takes in more than its share of garbage from cities to the north. Five cities - Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco and Richardson use three transfer stations - 2 in Plano and 1 in Richardson. Why is 90% of Richardson's total amount of trash only roughly 50% of what is dumped at Lookout? Why are our tax dollars going to pay for road up keep on Plano Rd. and the rebuild of Lookout (2010 Bond package) to service the increased trash traffic? NTMWD letter to TX DOT (in relation to new LOTS), proposed an estimate of 360 to 612 trash trucks per day going up and down Plano Rd. to LOTS. This is an increase of 300 to 400% from what is currently happening now. These estimated projections were submitted before the CityLine concept was born. Since Richardson is mostly built out and the growth comes from the North, where do we assume these trucks and trash are going to come from?
NTMWD received a grant of $60,000 dollars over 9 years ago to find a location to the North to better serve the needs of growth and to balance the placement of waste management. That still has not happened and why would it if LOTS is the end all to serve our sister cities for the next 40 years.
Again I don't see this as just a NIMBY issue when children, bikers, hikers, soccer players and park patrons from all over the metroplex come to enjoy our beautiful parks, nature and bike trails right along side the garbage trucks. LOTS is located in the heart of all these wonderful amenities that are enjoyed by everyone!
Sherrill Bodie