Get To Know Frisco City Council Place 4 Candidate Bill Woodard
Get To Know Frisco City Council Place 4 Candidate Bill Woodard
Show Notes & Links:
- Bill Woodard’s Website
- Runoff Election Date: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco on:
Scott Ellis: Welcome to the Frisco Podcast. I’m your host, Scott Ellis. In this episode, we are here visiting with Frisco City Council candidate, Bill Woodard. He is running for place four, and now into the runoff elections. Bill, welcome to the show. Good to have you here.
Bill Woodard: Thanks for having me, Scott. I appreciate it.
Scott Ellis: Why don’t we start with giving people a chance who maybe don’t know as much about you a little bit about your background and why you would be a good city councilman and what made you want to run?
Bill Woodard: First of all, I’m an 11-year resident of Frisco. I’ve been in the same house that entire time. Happily married to my wife, Laura. We met about eight years ago. We’ve been married for six now. We have three boys, one in elementary, middle, and high school. We’re spread out with schools. We are a blended family, which makes for a lot of interesting household dynamics with three boys. It’s a lot of fun. They’re real great kids.
I actually got involved with the city back in about 2008. Helped out during some of the elections that year. Started getting to know people. Volunteered for some things. Ended up chairing the Census Committee back in 2009/2010. Served on the Zoning Advisory Committee and the last two Charter Review Committees. For the most time, I’ve spent the last five and a half years on the Planning and Zoning Commission and I’ve chaired it for the last two.
I decided to run last summer, once John Keating announced that he was going to run for State House. Looking at the makeup of the Council, knowing that we were going to have a lot of turnover because of term limits and John leaving and the possibility of some of the other councilmen running for mayor, thought that it was time for me to step up and volunteer my services at the council level.
Scott Ellis: It sounds like you have some very good experience in working with the city over the last six or eight years. Planning and Zoning has got to be a very busy department.
Bill Woodard: It is extremely busy. Frisco is growing in leaps and bounds. I think we can all see that on a daily basis. We are the spot that everybody wants to move to now, especially with the $5 Billion Mile and Legacy West down in Plano. Everybody is moving to this area. Managing that growth is our number one issue right now. That growth causes issues with traffic. It causes challenges for our Police and Fire Departments. When we start adding venues such as the Star and basketball center here, as well as the RoughRiders across the street, and then the soccer stadium, that adds a level of complexity with all the visitors coming in that our Police and Fire have to deal with. It creates a lot of challenges, but it’s been a lot of fun working with the various different departments and learning about those things over the last five years.
Scott Ellis: Is preparing for that something that you just manage as much as you can, or is it something where you’re actually trying to control or moderate how fast that growth happens so that it doesn’t run away from you?
Bill Woodard: The growth is actually market driven. If a landowner wants to develop their property, in Texas we’re a very strong property rights state, and they have the right to develop that property. We have plans in place that guide how that happens, but the speed at which it happens is really not something that we can control. What we can do is we can put that roadmap in place. We can make sure that we have the infrastructure there to deal with all those different developers coming in and wanting to do things, making sure that we have the staff resources to do it, making sure that our Police and Fire can handle their jobs and that we’ve got the level of services that our citizens have come to expect.
It’s a lot of work for the city staff, as well as for Planning and Zoning and City Council and all of the other boards and commissions. We’re all meeting on a regular basis. I personally, with Planning and Zoning, get to meet with Engineering and Police and Fire on a very regular basis. They’re almost always at our meetings to answer questions on issues as they come up. It’s been an interesting process getting to know all the different departments and all the different inner workings of everything.
Scott Ellis: Very good. I know that the growth of Frisco is certainly something that is on everybody’s mind because it is happening so fast. I’m about to leave town for three weeks. I’m almost afraid I won’t recognize it when I come home. My landmarks will have moved. Outside of the growth and trying to manage that as much as possible, what are some of the other issues in running for City Council that you’re hearing about that are maybe hot-button items for you or the people that you’ve been talking to?
Bill Woodard: Obviously the alcohol election, which just happened, was a big issue. I think that’s been obviously decided for that specific issue, but I think that’s going to open up some conversations for Council to have with our residents in the next few months as to the question of liquor stores more than anything else. That was a subject that I heard a lot from people on was, “Well, what are we going to do about that? Are we going to allow them or not?” I think we’re going to have that conversation here in the near future.
The other big thing for me that’s really popped up over the last couple years through our hike and bike plan master planning and our parks master planning was the desire that we have different types of venues for older teens and adults to use and not just the standard ball fields and football fields, baseball fields, that type of situation. I’ve always been a big proponent of the open spaces, making sure our developers are putting usable open spaces in the neighborhoods, and not just space that’s between a wall and a street that nobody’s ever going to use.
The connections of our trail systems and how those integrate not only with the residential developments but the commercial developments, and how we get people across town through some of those green belts and some of those creek corridors has been a big thing for me that I’ll continue to focus on, as well. It’s something that I’ve heard from our residents that they really want. We’re a very active community. I think our residents are really looking forward to having more of those connections.
Scott Ellis: I think it’s safe to say that in Frisco we don’t necessarily have the opportunity to do things outdoors that you have if you live in, say, the Bay Area or in Colorado or something like that. There are a number of initiatives, trails, and other things that I know the city has been working on. One of those is I think only fairly recently finished. It’s a trail that runs from where I get on it, from about Wakeland High School, and it ends at Teel, overlooking the golf course. Is there a name for that particular trail?
Bill Woodard: That’s Cottonwood Creek Trail.
Scott Ellis: Cottonwood Creek Trail. That’s a super nice trail.
Bill Woodard: That’s great.
Scott Ellis: It’s very well done. Are we going to be seeing more of that kind of thing around Frisco?
Bill Woodard: Yes. We’re actually in the middle of our hike and bike plan master plan update. Several years ago, we laid out a master plan that says, “Here’s where we want everything.” It’s been so many years now, I want to say six or seven, probably, since we’ve revisited that there’s been so much growth. It’s time to go back and look at that again and say, “We’ve put in some of these connections. We need to validate that some of the others are still where we want them. Are there new ones that we need to make?” We’re going through that process right now with the Parks Department.
I was appointed to that by our mayor back in, I believe it was December. We’re having meetings on that and reaching out to residents. I’d encourage all the residents to go to the Parks website and provide input to that so that we can continue that trail update and figure out where some of those new connections are going to go.
Scott Ellis: Love to see more of that happen. It definitely contributes to the quality of life in Frisco. No question. Any other particular issues, things that are high on your list of things to keep an eye on?
Bill Woodard: Police and Fire is a big one, I mentioned, because of growth. With the amount of venues that we have and the increasing number of special events that we have, that puts a strain on those resources. We need to make sure that we’re providing those two groups in particular, in addition to the rest of the City Services, but those two groups in particular, so that they can provide the protection and the services that our residents want. It’s one of the reasons why they’ve chosen to endorse me in my race, because I’ve spent some time with them and really come to understand what the needs of those two associations are.
Scott Ellis: That’s a good one. In terms of zoning and planning and growth, what about the traffic? I don’t know how much control or influence you and the organization you’re a part of has over that. I’ve certainly noticed, even just in the last couple years, the traffic seems to be getting almost exponentially worse year after year, and it’s only going to go further and further. Are there things in Frisco that we can be doing about that, or is that really up to the NTTA and other outside organizations?
Bill Woodard: There are local approaches and there are regional approaches as well. We have a thoroughfare master plan that lays out where all of our major thoroughfares are going to be. Frisco has done some really smart things with their road planning over the years. We tend to build four-lane roads, but we buy the right-of-way for all six lanes. When the traffic on a given road gets to the point where it warrants the additional travel lanes in both directions, we can take that out of the median and we’ve got those lanes available. It helps in the master planning process and the construction process that we’ve thought ahead far enough to go, “Okay, we know this road is going to need something more later on.” It saves some money for the residents now by not building it out to full scope when it’s not needed, but it enables us to expand later on.
We’re looking at technology changes. There’s software now that will change the timing of lights literally on a second-by-second basis, on a dynamic basis, so that it can look at the traffic, know that it needs to change the timing at an intersection, and it just does it automatically. Right now, the way most software works is it’s pre-programmed. It’s on a cycle of some sort. It may realize that it needs to change that cycle, but you’re still on a timing of some manner. There’s some technology things that we do.
We’re working with the surrounding cities, Plano in particular, with the connections down near Legacy West and where our streets connect with those down in that area. We’re looking at roundabouts in some areas. We’ve already got about 30 of those in neighborhoods around town. If you live in a neighborhood with one, you’ve probably seen one. There’s a couple of larger ones that are being installed new, up at Teel, and north of Teel and Rockhill, I believe, we’ve got one going in.
Scott Ellis: Is that north of Eldorado, even? [crosstalk 00:10:33]
Bill Woodard: That’s actually north of Lone Star High School.
Scott Ellis: Wow. Way up there.
Bill Woodard: It’s almost up to 380. Then, of course, there’s a couple here, at the Star, that there will be some roundabouts there. The thing with those is, once people get used to them, it keeps traffic flowing so you’re not stopping and starting. That’s a big plus. On the regional level, obviously, NTTA is expanding the tollway to four lanes south of 121. There’s always conversations with them on what changes that they can do to their main lanes. We’re adding service road lanes right now at the tollway through Frisco. Those things are always being looked at. Unfortunately it’s not just a function of us. It’s also a function of what Plano is doing and what Prosper is doing and what McKinney and Little Elm and everybody else, because everybody funnels through.
Scott Ellis: One way or another, you’ve got to work with all these different organizations. I’m sure that is just all kinds of fun on a daily basis.
Bill Woodard: Exactly. The city staff has relationship with those, as well as the councilmen. We’ve got some pretty good working relationships with the surrounding areas.
Scott Ellis: Very good to know. I think your experience with planning and zoning would go a long way towards helping to oversee a lot of the things that are going to be happening in Frisco in the future, because, as it turns out, growth is not going to slow down any time soon I hear.
Bill Woodard: No. I don’t believe it will. Everybody wants to be here for the quality of life, the quality of the schools. We need to make sure we elect people that can keep us on track and manage that growth and make sure we make smart decisions going forward.
Scott Ellis: Very good. Well, Bill, thank you very much for joining us today. I want to wish you well in the upcoming runoff election.
Bill Woodard: Thank you.
Scott Ellis: I realize that nobody got quite enough of votes to just take it outright, but now it’s down to two candidates. In the next one, it’s whoever gets the most votes wins?
Bill Woodard: Our charter and state law requires that the winner get 50% of the vote plus one. It’ll be whichever the two of us, and I expect to be me, get more than 50% of the vote.
Scott Ellis: Very good. We’re going to wish you well. We’ll hopefully have you back on some time soon.
Bill Woodard: Absolutely.
Scott Ellis: This is here to talk about you and to let people get to know you a little bit. I know, no matter how things turn out, we’re going to have a lot to talk about. It sounds like you’re very involved with the city. I know that people have a lot of questions about the growth. I’d love to have you back on from time to time to update us and let people know what’s happening and give us a chance to address some of the aspects of the city’s growth that people don’t always know and understand very well.
I brought this up several times in the past, but one of the things that was interesting for me to learn was that when I interviewed Mayor Maso about a year and a half or so ago he talked about the ISO 1 status that the city has and all of the things that go into that and how that is important to us, in terms of the money that we save on insurance, and things like that. I know those are a lot of considerations that you guys have to take into account when you’re planning what’s going to happen in the future, as well.
Bill Woodard: Absolutely. Our Fire Department has to go through re-certification for that periodically, too. It’s important that we maintain that. Like you said, one of the biggest benefits is the insurance rates stay low because of that. Not to mention, our Fire Department and our Police Department can get to the residents in a timely manner if needed.
Scott Ellis: Very good. Bill, thanks again. Appreciate you coming out today. We’re going to have you back on very soon.
Bill Woodard: I appreciate it.
Scott Ellis: I’m going to go drum up a bunch of questions for the audience.
Bill Woodard: There you go.
Scott Ellis: I’m sure they’re going to have a ton.
Bill Woodard: Questions about growth, questions about parks. I’ve been pretty involved with our parks program with the mountain bike trail that we’ve got up north of Lone Star High School and with some of that master planning.
Scott Ellis: Is that expanding, by the way? I’ve been up there a couple of times.
Bill Woodard: We’ve got eight miles up there right now.
Scott Ellis: Is there that much?
Bill Woodard: Yeah. There’s actually eight miles of trail up there.
Scott Ellis: Wow.
Bill Woodard: I think we’re done with expansions for now. We’ve used what we’re allowed to use with parks. It’ll keep you busy out there for a while in the afternoons.
Scott Ellis: I did a little two-mile, but I must have missed the right turnoff or something.
Bill Woodard: The other turnoffs. There’s five loops out there. It’s a lot of beautiful property up there that I think the residents really appreciate.
Scott Ellis: It’s good to have. Thank you, again. Thank you for all of your service to the city.
Bill Woodard: Thank you very much for having me.
Scott Ellis: Guys, next up we’re going to be talking to, I believe, Cindy Asche is going to be our final interview, and then it’s time for elections. Be sure to get out and vote. Local elections more than any other impact your life on a daily basis. Your vote definitely counts. There’s no electoral college between your vote and the people that you’re voting for, so it really matters. Get out there on Saturday, June 18th. It only takes a couple of minutes. I’ve never seen much of a line when it comes time to vote, so no excuses to not make it happen. We’ll talk to you next time.