(April 19, 2012) A recent direct mail piece has been distributed to Frisco citizens entitled “WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?” and the City of Frisco has received some emails inquiring about it. On behalf of the Mayor and Council, we offer the following response:
1. The City did not prepare or endorse the direct mail communication and it was not asked to review it for accuracy or comment on it before it was mailed.
2. The City of Frisco has initiated amortization. In accordance with the City of Frisco‘s zoning ordinance, the City Council requested the Frisco Board of Adjustment establish a compliance date for a non-conforming use, if the non-conforming use is adversely effecting the area surrounding the Exide plant, and a compliance date to terminate such use if deemed necessary. The initial hearing of the Frisco Board of Adjustment has been set for June 18. An earlier hearing date was rescheduled to accommodate the schedules of the various interested parties and witnesses needed at the hearing.
3. In an amortization proceeding in Frisco, the owner must be a nonconforming use. Unlike the cases in Dallas of which we are aware, the business’ nonconforming status was not an issue. In the Frisco amortization, the status of the use is at issue and Exide contends it is a conforming use creating another level of proof necessary before the business can be amortized.
4. Some maintain amortization is a simple process. It is not. There are many safeguards in place to assure an existing business is treated in a lawful and fair manner. Failure to follow the law and treat the existing business fairly could subject the City of Frisco to other liability that could cost taxpayers if a judgment is awarded by a court against the City. As such, it should not be assumed that all one has to do to close a business is set an amortization hearing and the case is closed or that speeding through the process is an advantage to the citizens of Frisco.
5. Although not in the brochure, a recent amortization case in Dallas is being used by some to suggest Frisco is ignoring the Exide problem. Those people are mistaken. In the recent Dallas case, the Columbia Packing Company deposited pig’s blood in a river in violation of existing law. Press reports suggest the business owner never contended it was a conforming use or that it had not violated the law. Dallas had the evidence it needed to proceed. The Exide situation is different. Exide was in compliance with applicable lead emissions law until the Federal government changed the law by lowering the amount of lead emissions that could be exposed. Exide is not in compliance with the new law but it cannot be cited for violations of the law because the Federal government gave Exide until 2016 to comply. The cases are not comparable and to suggest otherwise ignores the facts.
In closing, the City of Frisco is using all of its legal resources to determine the best way to move forward.