Community Impact Newspaper sent Woodard a set of questions about his candidacy. This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. His answers have been edited for publication style.
Why did you decide to run for this office?
I’m seeking re-election because I believe strongly in paying it forward and giving back to the community. In my 10 years of service to the city, my focus has been and always will be trying to make the best decisions for the entire community.
I chose to live in Frisco because of the quality of the community and schools. My oldest son graduated from Heritage High School after starting in Frisco ISD as a kindergartner, my middle son is currently a sophomore at Heritage, and my youngest is an eighth-grader at Maus Middle School. I want to ensure we have a community that they want to come back to after college. Frisco is an incredible place to live, with a vast array of opportunities, but we’re entering a transitional period in our growth where we can no longer just focus on building new but must also pay attention to our older areas of town and reinvest in them, to maintain the exceptional quality of life that we’ve built.
As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, I believe it's important that we elect experienced people to ensure the city we love continues to grow, develop and prosper in the way in which we've all come to love. Keeping Frisco on track is my focus, and I look forward to serving the residents in a second term.
What do you think is one of the biggest issues facing Frisco today, and how do you plan to address it on the City Council?
Balancing our resources. With Frisco’s growth, we are seeing residential, commercial and retail development. The emphasis of where we should focus can change in a very short amount of time depending on a variety of factors. Areas like the North Platinum Corridor and PGA have attracted a lot of news and are important to the city, but we regularly see large residential developments as well as commercial redevelopment. Council and city staff have performed admirably in balancing these various projects. It takes a talented group of people to go from looking at residential developments to big projects, such as The Star, Frisco Station and the PGA, and then to commercial redevelopment, such as the mall or Hall Office Park.
We've completed the most recent update to Frisco's Downtown Master Plan and are finalizing plans for the US 380 corridor, and it will be important we continue to use these as road maps for our continued growth. We’re also looking at how we reinvest in assets, like the mall and Hall Office Park, to ensure their continued success. In addition, many departments are looking at aging infrastructure, including roads, parks, among other city buildings, and we must upgrade and maintain those facilities in a cost-effective manner to ensure they provide value to the residents for years to come.
Being on Frisco Planning and Zoning Commission for six years and now on City Council for three, I have a strong knowledge of these plans, and I have discussed redevelopment challenges with many residents. I intend to continue to focus on a well-planned growth as well as continued communication with all citizens.
Traffic is one of the top concerns for Frisco residents. What do you think are viable solutions to address traffic congestion in Frisco?
In a growing city like Frisco, traffic will always be a focus. Frisco has done a great job balancing the need to build roads with maintaining a low tax rate. We continue to plan and build roads or expand roads as our population increases, and look at innovative ways to move traffic more efficiently. There is no single silver bullet that will eliminate all issues, but combinations of things, like additional right turn lanes on Preston and roundabouts where possible, all assist with better traffic flow, and we are implementing newer technologies that enable our traffic engineers to better identify breakdowns with signals or make adjustment to light timing. As the new technology rolls out, we expect to proactively identify and adjust in real time the necessary adjustments. We’ve partnered with DCTA for a Transportation Management District near Hall Office Park, The Star, and Frisco Station, and have programs such as Drive.ai. I will continue to support a variety of innovative solutions that will improve our commute times.
What is your stance on apartment and/or affordable housing development in Frisco?
History has shown a thriving community must have a mix of housing types, but a balance is also important. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, a large amount of property was zoned for garden style multifamily housing, and if all of that were to build out, we would be out of balance with too many garden style apartments. Because of this, I have supported a reduction in that housing type. In some cases, the city has bought the zoned land, such as the Panther Creek Park (formerly part of Brinkmann Ranch), and in some cases, we’ve negotiated with developers to reduce the multifamily numbers.
The biggest driver of housing affordability is the cost of land, which is a market driven force and not one that council can control.
We do have programs that I wholeheartedly support, including our Home Owner Assistance programs and our Housing Rehabilitation programs. Many of these are funded through federal grants. The city also supports Frisco Family Services, Meals on Wheels and The Samaritan Inn, among others, through our Social Services and Housing Board.
The city in the past has used economic incentives and tax grants to attract companies. What means, if any, would you support the city using to attract companies in the future?
I support our 4A/4B (Frisco Economic Development Corp. and Frisco Community Development Corp.) programs. Without these, Frisco could not have accomplished what we have in the last 20 years. By encouraging visitors to visit Frisco and spend their money here, we increase our revenues from sales tax, which assists in keeping our tax rates low. In addition, the increase in commercial tax base has allowed us to implement a homestead exemption, which now sits at 10 percent. A diverse tax base takes the burden off our residents, and I will continue to look at ways to reduce those burdens.
What else do you want voters to know about you?
I love the outdoors and enjoy camping at our state parks every year.
I spent a half year on a commercial container ship in college at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
I am, and always will be, available to residents to discuss any issues or concerns they have.