CVS Pharmacy is finally ready to come to Lantana, but they need a little help first from Copper Canyon.
Officials from the drugstore chain on Feb. 13 asked Lantana’s Fresh Water Supply District (FWSD) #7 board for permission to annex their site into Copper Canyon to allow the sale of beer and wine.
“We have found through research over the past two months that beer and wine sales are no longer allowed in this part of Denton County,” said Michael Doggett, a civil engineer with Winkelmann & Associates in Dallas representing CVS.
According to Clay Crawford, Lantana’s legal counsel, off-premise alcohol sales were never allowed at that site.
CVS purchased the 1.6 acre lot on the northwest corner of FM 407 and Copper Canyon Road in 2008 but sat on it until more homes were completed.
“We’re ready to develop now, we have all of our permits and everything’s in order to start construction, but the beer and wine issue is problematic,” said Doggett. “That is a big part of our sales and we would have to re-evaluate building the store if we cannot sell beer and wine.”
CVS officials reached out to the Town of Copper Canyon for help since a FWSD cannot conduct an election to legalize alcohol sales.
“We were totally surprised when CVS approached Copper Canyon to be annexed,” said Mayor Sue Tejml. “They are between a rock and a hard place.”
Town Attorney Terry Welsh explained the legal ramifications of annexing the CVS site to the Copper Canyon Town Council in executive session at the March 10th council meeting. No council member present expressed any opposition to the annexation.
Under state law, a municipality must have a population of at least 5,000 to be eligible to pass a Home Rule Charter. Copper Canyon has a far smaller population, and cannot unilaterally annex any land. However, residents and landowners in Copper Canyon’s geographically adjacent “extraterritorial jurisdiction” (ETJ) can petition Copper Canyon to be annexed. The CVS site is in Copper Canyon’s ETJ.
“We can expedite and complete the annexation in about 60 days,” said Tejml. “Then CVS will have to get a petition to our residents for a beverage election this November to sell beer and wine for off premises consumption at that site. I don’t foresee any reason why the beverage election would fail. It is a win-win solution for all involved – CVS, Copper Canyon, and both Lantana FWSD #7 and Development District #4.”
The process would be similar to an arrangement Lantana forged in 2006 with Bartonville to accommodate beer and wine sales at the Kroger under construction in Lantana Town Center.
Lantana’s FWSD #7 will still be able to collect its full share of property taxes from the shopping center, according to Crawford. Copper Canyon will also collect property taxes from the annexed site, but the landowners have agreed to the additional property taxes by petitioning to be annexed.
In addition, Lantana’s Denton County Development District (DCDD) #4 will share sales tax revenue with Copper Canyon. DCDD #4 receives a half-cent of Lantana’s current 6.75 percent total sales tax (6.25 cents is the state sales tax portion). The DCDD is charged with allocating its sales tax dollars in an effort to drive tourism to Lantana. Copper Canyon would in the future receive up to 1.5 cents in sales tax for a total sales tax of 8.25 percent.
“We’re looking at a five year period of $8.7 million dollars in sales,” said Joe Mutter, CVS construction project manager.
Another bonus is that Copper Canyon would provide police protection to the pharmacy through the town’s contract with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office.
Lantana General Manager Kevin Mercer said that the annexation agreement with Copper Canyon would allow Lantana to retain control over the architectural design approval for the drugstore.
The FWSD #7 board voted to study the issue further and bring it to the DCDD #4 board for approval in March.