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Citizens focus on keeping up appearances

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When Ron Caron sees the tilting street lights, crumbling curbs, trash piled up next to houses, tangles of brush, dead trees, cracked sidewalks and general neglect in his older Flower Mound neighborhood, he wonders why it seems like town codes aren’t being enforced.

More than that, he and other homeowners wonder why it seems so hard to get elected officials to pay attention to it.

Besides being ugly to look at, he said that such neglect lowers homeowners’ property values.

Caron is chair of the Property Standards Committee, which gave a presentation on its concerns and proposed six changes to the town’s codes during the Town Council meeting of July 16.

The committee’s July presentation can be viewed online at flowermoundtx.swagit.com/play/07162012-29/11/.

Place 1 Town Councilwoman Kendra Stephenson said via e-mail that the “Town Council appreciates the work the committee did.”

She said the council will consult with town staff “to understand if the issues brought forward are currently addressed by our ordinances and where we can reasonably make improvements.”

The information is scheduled to be presented at the Aug. 16 Town Council work session, Stephenson said.

At the presentation in July, committee member Laile Neal related his story of moving from his former home and being advised to rent it out, after which prospective renters told him that while they liked the house, they didn’t like the neighborhood. “Which I found to be amazing” and unacceptable for Flower Mound, he said.

“This has come before councils before,” Neal said. “And the committee would really like that this council be the one that takes this and runs with it.”

Neal added that easily repaired issues such as weathered fences painted four different colors and neglected lawns ultimately negatively impact the town’s tax revenues by lowering the property values on which tax rates are based.

“I want to make sure that this gets done for the health and welfare of the community,” Caron, a 25-year resident, said about a week after the July 9 Town Council meeting.

“I’m not the smartest guy in the world and I don’t have all the answers, but I know that when I’m driving down the street and seeing some of the things I’m seeing, and you have people that are on the Town Council who want to close their eyes to them because they want to be everybody’s friend, instead of doing the job, then I have a problem with that.

“Trust me, I love Flower Mound; I don’t want anybody to get the wrong idea,” said Caron, who added that blight issues have been developing in Flower Mound since the late 1990s. “But if there’s a problem, I’m going to speak up. It’s always easier to do nothing and to pretend like the problem doesn’t exist if you don’t live where I live.”

Caron said it’s a matter of equal distribution of the services the town provides.

“Regardless of where you live or the cost of the home, everybody should be getting the same service,” he said.  “It depends on where you live in this town — if you live on the west side, everything’s hunky-dory and they take care of problems immediately.”

 

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