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P&Z vice-chair's half-truths and misrepresentations

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I recently read the letter in the Flower Mound Leader “Why we said ‘no’ to Kroger” written by Mr. Dennis McKaige who signed it as the Vice Chairman of the Flower Mound Planning & Zoning Commission, and had to respond.

In his first paragraph the reason he states for writing the article was the “folks who engage in half truths, misrepresentations, inaccuracies and general prevarication…” around the elections underway in our Town.

I have done some research of my own and have listed below the complete facts in relation to the four reasons he outlines for denial of the 14 million dollar Kroger expansion and fuel station.  His statements are quoted below under Statements, the Facts are my research.  After you read ALL the facts, you determine who is slinging half-truths, misrepresenting facts or generally not providing ALL the information.  In addition, not one of these reasons for denial was brought up by Mr. McKaige at the Planning and Zoning meeting that occurred almost 6 months ago.   And this individual is our Vice Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission in our Town…..Really?

Statement: “The Alexandria Kroger fuel pump fire that destroyed a pickup”
Fact: Kroger installs state of the art in both Leak Detection and Emergency Safety and Shut off equipment in all of its Fueling Stations.  The incident referenced by Mr. McKaige is in Louisiana and occurred in March of 2008.   It is reality that from time to time people handling gas are not as careful as they should be and unfortunate things do occur.  Mr. McKaige in his article wants you to believe that this was Kroger’s fault which is simply not true.    Perhaps we should close all fueling stations in town since all major brands have also experienced this type of unfortunate incident at one or more of their facilities across the nation.  To single out Kroger for an incident which they could not have prevented is simply a prevarication of the facts. 

Statement: “There was the 10,000 gallon fuel delivery tanker that would hang into FM1171.”
Fact: It is untrue to say that Fuel Delivery Vehicles would be hanging out into FM1171 while filling the stations tanks.  Not to mention that a fuel delivery truck CANNOT be blocking a roadway while delivering fuel according to state law.  One can only conclude that either Mr. McKaige cannot or did not read the plans submitted by Kroger.  In either case, a person in his position making this statement is misrepresenting the facts. 

Statement: …”the five Pearland, TX drive bys/muggings/car thefts.”
Fact: Flower Mound has not had a drive by shooting in the 16 plus years that I have been a resident.  Mr. McKaige stated that one reason that the P&Z denied the Kroger expansion was that there were “five Pearland TX drive bys/mugging/car thefts”.  I assume the leap of faith that Mr. McKaige is making is that Kroger would bring a criminal element into our Town that does not exist.  This is just absurd, and quite frankly somewhat along the lines of fear mongering. 

Statement: “The Atlanta Kroger price gouging convictions by the state attorney general…”
Fact: March 2009, the state of Georgia Office of Consumer Affairs, not the Attorney General investigated 200 stations for price gouging with many names that sell fuel in Flower Mound including Citgo, Chevron, Shell, Pilot, Marathon, Stop and Shop Coastal, etc….  I was able to find that 26 were cleared, 33 struck deals, and 141 were still under investigation at the time the article was written.  They were issued citations and ordered to pay fines and restitution.  The fines ranged from $1,000 to $20,000.  Kroger‘s fine was $1,333 for their stations involved.  While this was an unfortunate event in 2009, it involved virtually the who’s who in petroleum retailing in Atlanta in which their Consumer Affairs Division did their enforcement job.  Check out www.dallasgasprices.com and enter in zip codes where Kroger has fueling stations.  You will see that typically Kroger has the lowest priced gas or are within a penny or two of the lowest price.  I searched the 75006 zip code for example.   Either you did not do your homework Mr. McKaige, or you chose to report a half-truth to the residents of Flower Mound.

From the Town minutes of the P&Z meeting in October of 2011, Mr. McKaige stated that he ”thought this was another one of those little steps they took as a community that ate away at their desire to be a rural town with a small-town feeling.”  Mr. McKaige, in case you might not have noticed, this is an existing business sitting at an intersection of two 6-lane state roadways with an average daily traffic count of 80,000 vehicles.   I think the rural feel for this corner is long gone.  What are you going to say to the people of the Town when Kroger, who wanted to improve this location by investing 14 million in renovating the entire store, taking over existing empty retail space and adding a small fuel kiosk, leaves Flower Mound and we are looking at the empty building sitting on that pad?

Mr. McKaige, you voted “no” just like Al Filidoro and Stephen Lyda did when it came in front of the Town Council.  Just so we have full disclosure, I have not provided any campaign financing to any candidate for Town Council but have signs in my front yard for Tom Hayden, Steve Dixon, and Bryan Webb.

I pray that they are elected and remove individuals like yourself from the Town’s recommending boards and commissions and bring transparency back to our town.

Mark Levenick
Flower Mound, TX

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