Commercial real estate agent challenges rental property investor in … – Waco Tribune-Herald

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A commercial real estate agent is challenging a rental property investor ending his first term for the at-large seat on Woodway City Council in the May 6 election.
Incumbent David Russell, who owns and rents three houses in North Waco and lives in Woodway, has held the at-large seat on the Woodway council since running unopposed in 2020.
His challenger in the upcoming election, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Commercial, Gregg Glime, received an endorsement from Woodway Mayor Amine Qourzal and Waco Mayor Dillon Meek on Tuesday. Meek said the city does not involve itself in municipal elections of surrounding cities and his endorsement is as an individual, not a representative of Waco.
Russell, who retired from the grocery business 10 years ago to live on income from his rental homes and his stock portfolio, has resided in Woodway since 1999. He began to do volunteer work in Woodway’s parks in 2013 and served on the city’s parks board for six years before filing for the at-large city council seat.
He said he filed initially to improve the parks and would like to “make Woodway a beach again.” But while serving on the council he realized the real issues were to be found in the real estate laws and development projects making their way through the planning and zoning committee and the council.
Russell said that with earthmoving equipment Woodway already owns and employees the city already has, it could create a beach on city’s lake frontage at low cost to the taxpayers. He said the city of Granbury did it, and Woodway could too. It would be a tourist draw to Woodway and the area, he said.
The incumbent said a proposal to streamline development processes has aroused his suspicion and his ire.
“The proposal would take development decisions out of public debate in the planning and zoning board and away from the city council,” Russell said. “It would give all the development approvals to city staff. And I believe that department that has two staff members, right now.”
Another real estate-related issue Russell called attention to was a recent housing development built in the city that was found to have inadequate water lines.
“We had to spend $900,000 of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 relief money to run water lines to that development,” Russell said. “I would rather have seen that money spent for sidewalks near our schools.”
He also said he opposes a proposed housing development, Starlight Estates, which neighbors have spoken out against.
“The original study of that land indicated the soils would shift,” Russell said. “This could cause the roads to buckle.”
A study conducted by the developer includes recommendations for stabilizing road bases in the geologically challenging area. The city required the study under a longstanding ordinance that adds requirements for development in the escarpment zone that covers much of Woodway, including the established neighborhoods surrounding the planned 30-lot subdivision spread across more than 90 acres between other houses and Lake Waco.
“If homes are built out there, the taxpayers of Woodway would have to pay to fix the roads when they buckle,” Russell said.
The parks enthusiast also wanted to clear up a couple of misconceptions floating around about him including votes on the short-term residential rental ban and the most recent property tax rate.
Russell emphasized that he voted against a short-term rental ban that the city council passed last month.
He said he believes short-term rental homes are better cared for than those with long-term leases, or those with Section 8 tenants.
“I was also the lone dissenter on last year’s property tax rate reduction, but there’s more to it than that,” he said.
Russell said he voted against the reduction because he wanted to propose a slightly lower tax rate, not because he wanted higher property taxes. He proposed a slightly lower rate, but his motion died for lack of a second.
The challenger for Woodway’s at-large seat, Glime, who graduated from Baylor University in 2010 as a scholarship athlete and then played professional baseball in the Florida Marlins organization, returned to Waco in 2014. He also became a commercial real estate agent soon after returning to the area. He and his wife built a home in Woodway in 2015, where they have lived ever since. The couple has two children.
“Some of my friends approached me and said I should run for city council,” Glime said Wednesday.
He said he has not served on any city of Woodway boards, committees or commissions.
“I have served on the board of a bank and on the boards of several nonprofits,” Glime said. “I have leadership experience from that. I have also taken real estate proposals into many city councils and planning boards around this area. I have seen the efficient ways to plan for development and the inefficient ways.”
He also said two of the hot button issues in Woodway right now are the short-term rentals law and the Starlight Estates subdivision.
“I don’t know enough about that development to speak about it,” Glime said.
He also said that if residents of Woodway do not want short-term rentals in their city, the city council should be able to ban them.
Regarding future development in the city, Glime said the proposal to streamline the process would not actually take decisions away from the planning and zoning board or the city council.
“As I understand that proposal, it would shorten the application process,” Glime said.
He said many developers who build projects all over Texas no longer do business in Woodway because of the city’s process.
Glime gave an example of a conversion of an auto repair shop to create the Milo All Day restaurant in Waco and a similar conversion planned in Woodway.
Approval in Waco took 60 to 75 days in Waco, compared to almost 190 days in Woodway, he said.
“The zoning laws in Waco make it clear to developers what zoning can have an auto shop, or a hair salon, or homes,” Glime said.
He said many of those decisions in Woodway are made individually, project by project, in the planning board and the city council.
The process in Woodway required developers to spend tens of thousands of dollars before knowing whether the project would be approved, Glime said.
He said the proposal to streamline the approval process would codify many requirements.
“That way the staff knows what can and can’t be done,” Glime said.
The proposal would save time and money, he said.
“I like Woodway as a residential, bedroom community,” Glime said. “I don’t want to bring in a bunch of commercial development or industrial parks.”
Early voting started Monday in the May 6 city and school elections and will continue through Tuesday at the McLennan County Elections Office, 214 N. Fourth St.; Waco Multi-Purpose Community Center, 1020 Elm Ave.; West Waco Library, 5301 Bosque Blvd.; and Hewitt City Hall, 200 Patriot Court.
Early voting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, then 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.
Through the first three days of early voting, 729 people cast an early ballot in-person in the elections the county is conducting for 15 entities, and another 115 mail-in ballots have been submitted in those elections.
Twenty-one Election Day polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 6, a Saturday. Go to for more information.
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Christopher De Los Santos is a U.S. Army veteran with a master’s degree in journalism from The University of Texas. He previously worked at the Williamson County Sun in Georgetown.
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