Vote Sally Branson
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A letter from Sally:

 

Dear Family, Friends, and Friendswoodians,

It’s been a long, tough campaign and it is now winding down for all of us…tomorrow will be the last day to vote.  By now, many of you have heard the political reasons why I decided to run for City Council; and these issues have been passionately debated the past six weeks. Please allow me to share from the heart, what is my strongest desire to serve the City that I’ve called home for many, many years.

It’s quite simply, my deep love of this great community.

I love the Friday night football games and sitting next to my folks and Harold & Ann while listening to Tony's booming voice over the PA. I love the 4th of July celebrations and watching the high school bands marching down Friendswood Drive. I love seeing the Little League Opening Day parade and all the kiddos dressed in their brand-new uniforms. I love seeing the local merchants selling their goods at the Farmers Market. I love sitting in the Brasserie restaurant and having Chef Kris stopping by my table to just say “hi”. I love bumping into old friends at the tea room and having Carolyn ask if I’m getting my usual “sampler”. I love stopping by Dunn Bros for a cup of coffee and seeing folks debating the town’s issues, usually with the “mayor” of Dunn’s, Jerry, holding court. I love taking my grandson to Stevenson for the annual Santa in the Park. I love driving by the new mural each day on my way to work and being reminded of our rich history.

I love Friendswood… there’s no other place like it!

If you haven’t voted, tomorrow is the last chance to do so…and I’m humbly asking for your support. I’ve been deeply involved in our town by volunteering behind the scenes for over 20 years. I’m asking for your VOTE and the chance to lead our wonderful community.

With Love for Friendswood,

 

Sally

 

 

Traffic is a HUGE problem in Friendswood.  What are you going to do about it?

Traffic is a major concern in Friendswood and throughout the Houston Metro Area. Approximately 1,000 families are moving to the Houston area each month.  In order to effectively manage traffic issues in our community, we need to be at the table when decisions are made, regarding funding for major highway improvements to I-45, Beltway 8, Highway 35, the Grand Parkway and the like.  When decisions are made that affect roadways within our City such as, FM 518, FM 2351 and FM 528, we need to be in a position to give our input. At this time, the City of Friendswood does not participate as an active member on the Transportation Policy Council of the Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC), where these decisions are made. I believe we need to be actively involved.

Currently, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of all Traffic Signals at the intersections along FM 518, FM 2351 and FM 528. In order to maximize traffic flow on these thoroughfares, we need to work closely with TxDOT to correctly set and manage the timing of these signals. As a City with a population of less than 50,000 people, TxDOT has this responsibility, and we need to be actively working with them to manage the issue. Furthermore, if the City exceeds the 50,000 census population mark, these traffic signals will become the responsibility of the City. We need to plan in advance for this possibility.

 

What is your position regarding the rezoning on Friendswood Dr. (FM 518 and Leisure Lane)?

First, a Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) focused on this new development is warranted in order to determine how the proposed development will impact the traffic on FM 518, Leisure Lane and the surrounding areas. Second, I would like to hear more from the area residents that will be directly affected by the proposed zoning before I draw my final conclusions.

Furthermore, it is important to note that whatever zoning is decided for the site, only those types of permitted uses that are allowed in that specific zoning designation can occur. Zoning designations have specific requirements such as building height, landscaping, buffer requirements and allowed uses, to name a few. I want to make sure that the residents of the area fully understand the possible impacts of each zoning designation before we proceed.    

Short answer, in my opinion, the proposed zone change needs further deliberation on the matter before a final determination can be made.

 

The Trails at Sunmeadow: Why were 90 ft. lots not approved for the new development?

This is the first plan since the 1990's that residences of Sunmeadow have supported. To gain this support, an enormous amount of time was spent with residents of the affected area listening to their thoughts and concerns. The approved plan addresses drainage, traffic, green space, and density.  

Regarding density specifically, the number of homes was reduced from 700+ to just under 450 homes. This enabled two very important features: green space remains and apartments were eliminated.  The removal of the apartments allowed for the addition of garden homes which addresses an increasing demand for homes on less than 90 foot lots.

And, just as importantly, long-time drainage problems between the subdivision and the golf course will be corrected. Detention and storm drain requirements have changed significantly since Sunmeadow and the golf course were constructed. This development will follow all the new standards which have served our city so well in other areas.

 

How will the sales tax for downtown be used, and who will control the spending?

The City Council controls the spending of the new downtown sales tax. It is my understanding there has been no decision on how they are to be spent. The voters approved the tax, but state law specifies how it is controlled. The City Council created the Friendswood Downtown Economic Development Corporation (FDEDC) and the seven member board. I do not serve on that Board. The FDEDC Board is responsible for proposing expenditures regarding public improvements in the downtown district. A public hearing is required on every proposed expenditure, and each one requires City Council approval before any expenditure can be made.

Many are confusing the FDEDC with the Friends of Downtown Friendswood Association (FDFA). The two are very different. FDEDC is a government entity. The FDFA is a separate private nonprofit association specifically established to promote downtown. All funds utilized by the FDFA are private contributions and sponsorships. FDFA does not control or receive any sales tax money. I am an active member of the FDFA, serving on its Board since the inception of the Association.

 

Why do we need commercial development?

Currently, Friendswood consists of 90% residential and 10% commercial. In my opinion, we need to closely monitor this mix and look at attracting the right type of commercial development that will generate additional revenue, yet have little impact on City services. Currently, the majority of revenue to pay for City services is from property taxes. Property taxes are the most consistent revenue source received by the City. Developed commercial property is more tax revenue to the City than residential homes. If we are able to diversify our tax base and bring in more commercial development, the City will be able to pay for needed services such as, public safety, water/sewer, drainage and roads otherwise this burden will fall on us: the residential tax payers. The right type of commercial development will in fact preserve our property values and keep our property taxes lower and affordable.

As a property owner, I believe in the rights of the property owner to develop their property as they deem appropriate in accordance within the City’s approved Land Use Plan. The forefathers of this community decided a long time ago that they wanted Friendswood to develop in an organized manner that protected the rights of all land owners, and that’s why they decided to implement zoning. This is why our community stands out as a jewel in the region.  This decision, made many years ago, resulted in conservative, thoughtful-growth. I am committed to those same values.    

 

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