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What’s Happening in Copper Canyon – May 2015

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Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml
Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml

Dallas Morning News recognizes Copper Canyon as # SIX of 2015 Ten Most Desirable Neighborhoods in Dallas/North Texas Metroplex!

Our Town recently received notice by the Dallas Morning News that it was recognized as #6 of the 2015 “Ten Most Desirable Neighborhoods” in the Dallas-North Texas Metroplex!  Did our homeowners already know that?  Absolutely!  Were we surprised that others also recognized our unique small town “rural atmosphere” – Yes, we were!

But, happily surprised at the recognition! Look for the May 17th Dallas Morning News special 47 page edition of the Ten Most Desirable Neighborhood-Towns  in the Dallas-North Texas Metroplex chosen for 2015!

In 2014 the Dallas Morning News recognized the following ten communities:
(1) Central Plano, (2) East Plano, (3) Frisco (east of Preston), (4) North Richardson, (5) McKinney West, (6) Frisco (north of Eldorado), (7) Frisco (southwest of the Tollway), (8) Keller, (9) Southlake, and (10) our neighbor Highland Village.

Our fiscally frugal Council declined to place an ad in the Dallas Morning News adjacent to photos of Copper Canyon, saying that the newspaper’s recognition was publicity enough.  Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hill said “He appreciated it when people did NOT know where Copper Canyon was located!”  It makes our Town the “best kept secret in North Texas!”

NOTE:  How interesting that our Town achieved this metroplex honor with our “rural atmosphere,” attributable to our traditional minimum one acre home sites, and no retail-commercial areas within our boundaries.  Evidently families appreciate an “uncrowded” neighborhood with ample “green space” around each home!

Joint Meeting May 11th of Council and P&Z to decide Home Density along FM 407 only.

Copper Canyon residents continue to consistently express a preference for the Town’s traditional one acre lots – even adjoining FM 407 in what has previously been referred to as the “Town Center”.  The marketability of the residential lots is NOT an issue.  Large homes on large lots or small homes on smaller, more dense lots. Whatever the size of the lots, the homes will sell in Copper Canyon!  Both the acreage north and south of FM 407 are in prime school districts – Marcus High School in Lewisville ISD and Guyer High School in Denton ISD!

At present, Copper Canyon has approximately 500 homes in Town.  The two Developers propose an additional 436 home sites on FM 407 – or almost double the current number of homes in our Town.

At present, Copper Canyon has approximately 500 homes in Town on 44.1 square miles.  To put the proposed residential density by the relevant landowners and developers in perspective:  North of FM 407 – 85 home sites proposed on 28 acres; south of FM 407 –  161 age-restricted home sites proposed on 34 acres and 190 home sites proposed on the adjacent 55 acres.  Total proposal by the two developers is 436 home sites along FM 407 – in comparison to 500 homes on minimum one acre plus lots in our Town now.

Town Attorney reiterates that currently No Town Center Landowner nor Possible Developer has a legal “Entitlement” to either Wastewater or Residential Density

The final decision on both issues remains solely with the Town Council.  Residential density is the key issue.  It can be defined as lots per gross acre or minimum lot size per net acre. The simplest path to a decision is as follows:

(1)    Set the minimum percentage of “green space” for the development.
(2)    The developer decides the percentage of land required for roads.
(3)    Set the minimum square footage required for residential lots in the remaining net acreage.

Example:  For a 100 acre tract, require 15% green space (15 acres) with an additional 10% in roads (10 acres). For the remaining 75 net acres, require a minimum one acre lot size (75 homes) or a minimum half acre lot size (150 homes.)  An acre is 43,560 sq. ft. – a half acre is 21,780 sq. ft.

The timely input of suggestions from homeowners in Copper Canyon will be much appreciated by me, our Council Members, and our P&Z Commissioners! The Joint Meeting of Council and P&Z is 7 pm Monday May 11th. Copper Canyon residents are welcome to come and express their views in person or send emails to townadministrator@coppercanyon-tx.org.  Please include your name and street address in Town.

Copper Canyon has no contested positions in the May 9th Municipal Elections

Thanks to retiring Council Members Charlie Nicholas and Darrin Peterson!
Welcome to new Council Members Bill Castleman and Dave Svatik!

Both Nicholas and Peterson have increasing business responsibilities that conflict with the time that they can dedicate to being on Council.  Council Member Nicholas’ decision to withdraw came after the filing deadline.  So he asks that no Town resident vote for him, though his name remains on the ballot.  Former Council Member Dave Svatik is automatically elected to Nicholas’ Council Position without opposition.  Long time Town resident Bill Castleman is the successor to current Council Member Darrin Peterson.

World War Two Artillery Shell found in Copper Canyon;  Detonated by Air Force at midnight with no damage to Persons or Property.

As a parent and grandparent, I am incredibly leery of midnight phone calls.  Not usually good news.  But this April 10th midnight call came from Code Red with my neighbor Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger’s familiar voice.  He said, “DO NOT Call 911.  You may or may not hear an explosion shortly.”  Shortly thereafter, I did hear a loud explosion.  And again our telephone rang with Code Red and Chief Hohenberger’s familiar voice:  “DO NOT CALL 911.  The artillery shell was detonated with no harm to persons or property.”  My sleepy husband Emil was a tad irate at this point, having been twice jolted awake with our phone ringing.  “Who on earth keeps calling us at midnight!” he asked.

Well, I did have some advance warning.  Copper Canyon had done an “administrative warrant” search that Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. during an ordinance violation investigation.  The search was for possibly hazardous material in or behind a large metal building alongside the railroad track that passes through town.  There was no hazardous material apparent at this home site, but there were 50-60 old tires holding stagnant water which needed to be immediately removed.

In the process of the search, our Argyle Fire District Inspector Mike Lugo noticed a two and a half foot tall artillery shell standing near the homeowner’s front door – somewhat like an 8” diameter upright decorative door stop.  He noted that it had not been marked as “not-a-live” shell.  The owner of the 3.5 acre site and home said he had seen the point of the shell sticking above ground and dug it up.  The owner had no idea where the shell had come from.

Chief Hohenberger called the Denton County bomb squad.  They suggested the Fire Chief call the Air Force in Fort Worth.  The Air Force’s technicians responded and x-rayed the 155mm shell.  The Air Force decided to NOT carry a possibly “live” shell back through community roads to their headquarters in Fort Worth.  Instead, they located vacant acreage on US Corps of Engineers land east of the horse trailer parking lot on Old Alton Road.  The Air Force dug a hole in the ground, placed the old artillery shell in the hole, and detonated it with C4 explosives.  No person or property was harmed in the controlled explosion.  However, the blast was heard several miles away in Lantana, Highland Village, and Denton.  After the blast, Air Force technicians determined that the shell did not appear to be live.

Our Town Administrator is coordinating with the Air Force to have them come back with their sophisticated metal detecting equipment to determine if there are any other unexploded artillery shells on the 3 plus acre site.  We hope not!

Copper Canyon has “clean audit” again!  Council follows tradition and transfers end-of-fiscal year unspent $194,169  into the Road Fund.

Our Town has many successive years of “clean audits,” according to auditor Bill Spore.  Town Administrator Donna Welsh said the Town underspent its annual budget by approximately $60,000.  The extra funds of $134,000 were mainly attributable to a sizeable increase in building permits.  The residential permits were for individual new homes being built on multi acre lots or renovations of older homes.  And there was one large commercial building permit at Briarwood Retreat Center.  (TA Welsh said that it is easier to forecast building permits from planned subdivisions, than those of randomly built individual homes.)

The Council followed tradition and transferred the end-of-fiscal-year surplus of funds over budget into Copper Canyon’s Road Fund.  The Council has accumulated excess funds over several years to rebuild Woodland Drive in concrete.  Woodland Drive is easily the most heavily traveled residential road in Copper Canyon.  This method of accumulating road funds is often referred to as the “pay as you go” method for road rebuilding.

Sheriff’s Deputy Jess Moran videos “on camera” Non-Resident Teen rutting Copper Canyon Right-of-ways!

For months the Town has been trying to identify the person or persons purposefully rutting our road right-of-ways.  The deep ruts make it very difficult for Copper Canyon resident John Brothers to use his heavy commercial mower.  And, after recent serious rains, the deep ruts hold stagnant water that breeds all types of mosquitoes including the deadly West Nile variety.

One white super cab truck with a massive front bumper guard has been witnessed tracking our right-of-ways on Chinn Chapel between Harlington Drive and the Woodlands entry.  The Council just approved $2,750 to replace a heavily damaged guard rail in that area.  The guardrail may have been knocked over by a vehicle unintentionally out-of-control – or on purpose. If unintentional, the driver did NOT report the accident to the Town.  If intentionally destructive, the driver must have been driving a truck with a heavy duty front bumper guard to protect the vehicle from serious damage.

Sheriff Will Travis witnessed and stopped a young man in a black truck that had just rutted the right-of-way adjacent to the Chinn Chapel round-about.

But our Deputy Sheriff Jess Moran videoed “on camera” a non-resident teen rutting our right-of-ways where Copper Canyon Road curves west into Hickory Hill Road.  Deputy Moran contacted the teen’s father, who seemed to be very embarrassed over his son’s conduct.

Town to Apply to Denton County Crime Stoppers to Identify Intentional Rutting of our Road Right-of-ways

Town Administrator Donna Welsh has been asked to contact Denton County Crime Stoppers and ask if Copper Canyon’s problem with road right-of-ways being intentionally rutted would fit their financial reward program for anonymous tips leading to conviction of the violator.  If you have any clues as to persons intentionally rutting our road right-of-ways, please contact Town Hall 940-241-2677 #3.

Copper Canyon Seniors Elizabeth Schattle, Melissa Morales and Morgan Nicholas share $3,000 in College Scholarship Awards

High School senior Elizabeth Schattle received a $2,000 College Scholarship funded by donations to the Town’s Cookbook Scholarship Fund.  (The Town cannot legally fund scholarships with resident property taxes or municipal fee revenue.)  Elizabeth aspires to a degree in veterinary medicine.  She is the daughter of long term Woodland residents Paul and Susan Schattle.

Melissa Morales
is the daughter of long term Woodlands residents Art and Sheila Morales.  Melissa aspires to a degree in international business management.  Marcus High School Senior Morgan Nicholas grew up in Copper Canyon and is the son ofAndre and Patti Nicholas.  Morgan has been accepted at San Angelo State University and aspires to a degree in animal husbandry of cattle raised for beef production. All three scholarship winners are seniors at Marcus High School.

Thank you to our 2015 College Scholarship Judges!

Copper Canyon Resident Judges consisted of Janet Aune, as Chairman, and Dr. Travis Lilly, M.D. (The physician in charge of HCA Denton Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Room), and Katie Lybbert, R.N. (Emergency Room nurse at HCA Arlington Regional Medical Center.)  Non Resident Judges were Kathy Duke (Nine year member of the Lewisville ISD Board and currently serving as Vice Chair.) and Police Chief Andy Kancel (in his second year as Flower Mound’s new Police Chief.)  Our sincere Thank You to these five judges who willingly volunteered their personal time to review the three applications for college scholarships by Copper Canyon seniors!

Copper Canyon Honors its 11 Graduating High School Seniors!

Our Town’s 11 graduating seniors were honored at a Reception at Mayor Sue and Emil Tejml’s home last Sunday.  Each non-scholarship senior received a $100 scholarship towards their college tuition and a full size Lone Star State flag with a certificate in their name that their individual flag had actually flown over the Texas Capitol in Austin.  The certificates were complimentary from our State Legislator Tan Parker and his Executive Director Trish Robinson!

The other seniors honored were:  Micah Burwell, daughter of Larry and Amy Burwell of Knollridge Drive; Madi Keunzli, daughter of Don and Mary Thorp of Orchid Hill Lane; Samantha Knizner, daughter of Joe and deceased mother  Carol Kniznerof Meadow Drive; Ahn Nguyen, foreign exchange student living with Don and Mary Thorp on Orchid Hill Lane; Priscilla Olivas, niece of Lucy and Rodney Smithey of Mahogany Lane;  Raegan Robertson, daughter of Scott and Wendy Robertson of Canyon Bluff Court; Will Shearer, son of Bill and deceased mother Lorie Shearer of Orchid Hill Lane; and Will Wolfendale, son of Eric and MaryCarol Wolfendale of East Woodglen Drive.

An incredible Thank You to Town Administrator Donna Welsh, who has the Event’s organization down to a science; to Town Secretary Sheila Morales, who is Donna’s right hand; and to Municipal Court Clerk Carol McLeod, who keeps our extra-large event nametags always up-to-date!

And thanks, as always, to veteran Hostess Committee Chairman Pris Johnson and her right-hand and my neighbor Kaye Hill, and to former Cookbook and Hostess Committee Member Mary Maddoux!  Town cooks were:  Mary Alexander (her “to-die-for” deviled eggs and lemon cake); Kaye Hill (Pris Johnson’s ham sandwiches); Pris Johnson (her traditional sugarless banana pudding); Mary Maddoux (beautiful Fresh Fruit Plate); Andre Nicholas (his homemade Italian sausage); Patti Nicholas (her homemade Mac and Cheese); Lucy Smithey (her famous homemade salsa); Louise Stoddard (her coconut pecan cookies);Pam Warren (her delicious brownies); Donna Yetter (her “never-a crumb-left” Italian Cream Cake); and Cristina’s Mexican Restaurant (homemade chips, queso, and guacamole).

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About The Author

Sue Tejml is mayor of Copper Canyon, TX.

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