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What’s Happening in Copper Canyon: March 2016

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Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml
Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml

Three Current Council Members Unopposed to Serve Another 2 Years

The current Council team has worked well together.  It includes both veteran financial advisor to Copper Canyon Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hill – and – more recently-elected Council Members Valerie Cannaday and Bill Castleman, who have contributed professional experience in different business backgrounds.

The six of us on Council – Mayor and 5 Council Members – all have homes in different geographical parts of Copper Canyon.  This spread of representation from across the Town helps the Council make balanced decisions that are in EVERY Copper Canyon resident’s best interest.

Copper Canyon’s next Municipal Election was scheduled by State Law on Saturday May 7th, 2016. Our three current experienced Council Members are unopposed for an additional two year term each: Steve Hill, Valerie Cannaday, and Bill Castleman.  The Town always budgets approximately $1,000 yearly for a contested Council Member election.  If none is needed, that amount is traditionally rolled over into the Road Fund for maintenance and new construction.  This year the town will be canceling its scheduled election, as no Council position is contested.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hill Will Begin His 13th Year on Council!

Steve Hill graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy.  He received a Masters in Business Administration from a Harvard sponsored executive graduate course in Vevey, Switzerland.  He was a consultant with McKinsey and Company before joining the world wide accounting firm KPMG.  Steve is now KPMG’s Global Head of Operations and Investments for large corporate and governmental clients.  He is also a retired US Naval Reserve officer.

As an Eagle Scout, Steve is a big supporter of the Dallas Circle 10 Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  He has also served on the Board of Governors of the Dallas Symphony.  Steve drives Ferrari race cars competitively.  He also teaches high performance drivers and has trained law enforcement officers in safe vehicle pursuit techniques.

Steve has often donated his time and talents to supporting local and national charities.  He gives donors a high adrenaline track experience in the most exciting cars in the world – but, in a controlled and safe environment.

Steve moved to Copper Canyon in 2001 and built his lovely French Chateau style home on Copper Woods Drive.  Steve served on the Committee that first drafted the Town’s original Master Plan in 2004.  Prior to that document, Copper Canyon had no long range planning guide in place. The town just grew like topsy and responded belatedly to critical issues as they arose.

In 2005 Steve researched the numbers for a Five Year Budget and a Ten Year Budget cycle for our Town.  Both documents re-enforced a serious financial dilemma for Copper Canyon.  We could NOT afford two critical municipal services for our Town residents – quality fire protection and emergency medical and ambulance services!   At least not as a solo municipality.  Thus the concept of Denton County Emergency Services District #1was born.  Five towns and extensive unincorporated county areas banded together to form a 65 square mile Denton County unit that jointly funded ESD#1 with a dedicated tax.  As a result, today, our Town has outstanding fire protection and emergency medical services for all our residents!

Steve has been Copper Canyon’s Financial Officer for over a decade – and an outstanding one!  He is the inventor of the Town’s Financial Pro Forma Budget!  This invaluable document alerts the Town each month as to any line item that is over or under for that particular month into the Town’s fiscal year.  For instance,   if Sales Tax revenue is exceeding the estimated budgeted amount for revenue.  Or, if spending on Road Maintenance has exceeded the amount the Town estimated it would spend in the fiscal year.

Steve’s contribution to the Town is so unique and so invaluable that I cannot imagine our Council without him!  Thank you, Steve, for continuing to contribute your time, your financial expertise, and your sound long range vision for what is best for everyone who lives in our very special small town!

Valerie Pearson Cannaday Brings Her Own Real Estate and Marketing Expertise to Council

Professionally, Valerie has been in real estate for twelve years and very successful.  She is a realtor with RE/MAX DFW Associates located in Flower Mound and has consistently been one of the top producers.  It’s easy to understand why.  She has a very relaxed style that makes clients feel comfortable and special.  She understands what is important to them, and she is extremely knowledgeable about available properties for sale in our area – be they homes, lots, or acreage.  And, she is also meticulous in negotiating the major and minor points of a buy or sell and how to best finance the transaction.

Valerie grew up in Bartonville and attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock and Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth.  She has lived in Copper Canyon since 2007. Her home is on acreage on Post Oak Road, so she is familiar with the west side of Copper Canyon. Valerie served on the Long Range Task Force for Roads and personally drove every road in Town to familiarize herself with their condition.  She also endorsed and helped pass the road bond.

Valerie’s dad David Pearson developed Hidden Creek Subdivision in the center of Copper Canyon. (David now lives permanently in Idaho.)  Valerie has personally sold most of the 15 multi-acre residential lots in that area.

Valerie’s husband Michael Cannaday is the Master Builder of Precision Builders.  Michael builds very high-end residential homes on multi-acre lots in both Hidden Creek and Quiet Hill Estates off of Copper Canyon Road

Valerie’s hobbies are Pilates, scuba diving, snowboarding and world travel.  She has volunteered for church missions in Brazil several times; and she and husband Michael helped package 300,000 special nutrient-dense meals for people in hurricane ravaged Haiti.

Recently, Valerie and husband Michael joined forces to fund and build a complete home with therapy exercise pool in Sanger, Texas for combat veteran Marine Sgt. Erich Ellis.  Ellis stepped on an explosive device on his 4th tour of duty in Afghanistan; his right leg had to be amputated from the knee down.  The home building project was the result of coordination between Richard Filip, founder of the Texas Sentinels Foundation, and President and Vice President of Remax DFW Associates – Mark and Kay Wolfe.  NOTE:  See CrossTimbersGazette.com for the full story.

Longtime Resident Bill Castleman Unopposed for Council Position #5

Bill Castleman and his wife Lynne moved to Copper Canyon in 1983, 33 years ago. Lynne previously trained and bred horses.  Currently, she works for Animal Imagine in Las Colinas, performing bone scans on animals.  Bill grew up in Dallas and attended the University of Oklahoma.

Bill has spent over 35 years in TV Broadcasting as a producer, program director, general manager, and COO of a major television group.  He has also been the General Manager of an advertising agency in Washington, D.C.; owned and initiated Alpha Graphics print shop in Denton; and been a professional photographer and videographer for 4 years in Jacksonville, Florida and the past 13 years in Texas.

Some things people do not know about Bill:

  • He is a private pilot
  • He is a “dowser.”
  • He was a soccer referee in North Texas for over 15 years
  • He was on Copper Canyon’s P&Z for 4 years and P&Z’s liaison to the Town Master Plan Committee in 2004.
  • He has for years voluntarily taken professional photos of the Town’s special events: July 4th Parade, Santa Party for Kids, Volunteer Appreciation Event, College Scholarship Recipients, Denton Mayors Crime Prevention Luncheon, and newly elected Council Members.
  • He has been recently updating the Town’s web site.
  • He is presently coordinating the Town’s Emergency Response with Argyle Fire District and Denton County’s Emergency Response team.
  • For the last 7 years Bill has been a certified Concealed Handgun Instructor for private citizens. He teaches defensive handgun techniques to private citizens, including law enforcement and military officers.

When Council Member Darrin Peterson decided his business and personal commitments did not allow him enough time to continue being active on Council, Castleman was persuaded to file for the position.  He was unopposed in the May 2015 Election and served out Darrin’s one year term.  Many thanks to longtime resident Bill Castleman for being willing to serve an additional two-year term on our Town Council!

At a Council Meeting this spring, Bill will present to his fellow Council Members, and any Town residents who would like to attend, the new State statutes concerning Concealed and Open Carry of Firearms.  He will also explain the procedure to become licensed for both Concealed and Open Carry of Firearms.  (Basically, the license requirements are now the same for both types of carry.)

Town Attorney Terry Welch Is Guest Speaker at Yale University Law School on Local Regulation of Gas Well Drilling

Terry Welch, with the law firm of Brown & Hofmeister, has been Copper Canyon’s Town Attorney for a decade.  At the time Copper Canyon recruited him, Terry was the outgoing Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Municipal Law section.  He continues to be a guest lecturer all across the United States, especially in his specialty of “land use” for municipalities.

Yale University’s Law School invited Terry to New Haven, Connecticut in February to speak on “Municipalities and Gas Well Drilling”* a subject that Terry is very well qualified to address.  He guided Copper Canyon’s interaction with gas well drillers, mineral interest owners, and neighbors near gas wells who did not own a mineral interest.  There were concerns about drilling and fracking noises, necessary safety lighting on drill sites intruding on neighboring residents, and the impact of heavy drilling vehicles on the life of Town roads, etc.

Terry also helped us negotiate with the pipeline companies that would need to traverse our Town to connect up with the producing wells and transport the natural gas outside our town boundaries to its ultimate destination.  Our concern was that the pipeline easements not denude wooded areas along their route or intrude on the privacy of our individual residents in their homes. We were also concerned with the depth of the pipelines and the safety factor of avoiding puncturing the lines by unintentional homeowner activities, and utility and road repairs within the Right-of-way easements shared with the pipelines.  With Terry’s common sense approach and fairness to all, our Town was able to accommodate the interests of every affected party.

Terry has also been appointed to serve on the City of Dallas’ Gas Drilling Task Force.  And, as Town Attorney for Flower Mound for decades, he attempted to guide their gas well drilling activities to reasonable solutions.  Evidently Yale’s law school appreciated the breadth and depth of Terry’s experience with large, medium, and small cities and towns on the subject – and thus their invitation to him to be a guest speaker on the issue of “Municipalities and Gas Well Drilling.  From a decade of personal experience with Terry as our Town Attorney, I appreciate Yale’s choice!

(Specifically titled “Local Governance Perspectives on Hydraulic Fracturing” at the New Directions in Environmental Law Conference.)

Council Will Consider Resident Input on Increasing the Speed Limit on Orchid Hill Lane

All residents living on Orchid Hill, and on streets accessing Orchid Hill, will be notified of the date and time of that meeting.  Any resident is welcome to email Town Administrator Donna Welsh their opinion on the subject.  townadministrator@coppercanyon-tx.org.  The resident emails will be included in the Meeting Packet if received by noon on the Friday prior to the Monday night Council Meeting.  Residents and the public can access the Council Meeting packet on the Town’s web site that same Friday evening.

Council Received TxDOT’s Regular Inspection of the Two Bridges in Town. Neither Estates Bridge nor Chinn Chapel Bridge Had Any Significant Issues.

Council received in Executive Session TxDot’s regular September 2015 inspection reports on Copper Canyon’s two town bridges.  The federal Department of Homeland Security requires, for security reasons, that these inspection reports NOT be disclosed in a public meeting.  The security reason is understandable.  Many bridges in the United States are old and past their engineering estimated useful life.  Many have serious structural problems.  Homeland Security does not want to give terrorists a convenient detailed map of exactly where and what any weak areas are on any American bridge.

Copper Canyon’s two bridges are on Estates Drive and on Chinn Chapel Road over Poindexter Creek.  A perfect TxDot inspection score is a “10” in all categories.  Fortunately, our two bridges scored very well with only a few minor, non-structural issues.  And these areas are already being addressed by our Council.

Council May Allow a Maximum Size of One 1200 Sq. Ft. “Major” Accessory Building on Lots of up to Two Acres

Council met until after 11 p.m. at the February 22nd Council Meeting to discuss zoning requirements and permitting of “major” accessory buildings.  The majority of the discussion concerned the maximum size allowable for a major accessory building on a lot size of up to two acres.  Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Mangum and Council Member Valerie Cannaday stressed that people move to Copper Canyon for the rural nature of our large lots and for the flexibility of having large accessory buildings for their hobbies (i.e. workshops, etc.) or just for additional enclosed storage.  Council Member Dave Svatik was concerned that too large an accessory building imposed on next door neighbors just by its massive size and by blocking an open view.

Also of concern were the setbacks from the lot’s property line, the height of the accessory building, and its placement on the lot in relation to the main residential structure.  No accessory building of any size is allowed in the front or side yards of the main residence.  The basic setbacks are 15’ from the side property line and 15’ from the rear property line.  The maximum height allowed is 15 feet or no taller than the ridge roof of the main residence.  For every foot taller than 15 feet, the accessory building must move closer to the interior of the lot to minimize intrusion on a neighbor’s view.  An additional concern was requiring the accessory building to compliment the main residence by being built of similar materials and of similar earth tone colors.

“Minor” accessory buildings are defined as 200 square foot or less in footprint. (I.e. a 10 foot x 20 foot building.  They are not allowed in the front yard or side yard of a residence.  They also have minimum setbacks from the side and rear property lines of a residence. “Minor” accessory buildings must be permitted at Town Hall.  Special details and requirements for all accessory buildings, major and minor, may be finalized at the March 14th Council Meeting.  A homeowner can call Town Hall and ask Town Secretary Sheila Morales for the Town’s current requirements.

NOTE:  The Council is trying to streamline its Agenda and space out debatable topics, so that Council Meetings do not last past 10 p.m.  Both P&Z and Council have spent many hours hammering out the details of “Major” and “Minor” Accessory Buildings!

Republic Services, Our Town’s Vendor for Trash and Recycle Pick-Up,  Generously Donates $1,000 Towards the Town’s $5,000 in College Scholarships for Graduating Copper Canyon Seniors!

Sincere thanks to Republic Services for their generous $1,000 Donation to Copper Canyon’s annual college scholarships for graduating Town seniors!  Republic has been the Town’s vendor for garbage and recycle pick up for almost two decades!  Their service has been excellent!  And a special thanks to Municipal Services Manager Jeri Harwell for arranging for the gift to our College Scholarship Fund!

Jeri is also the one who kindly arranges a pick-up for a Town resident who puts out their dumpsters late!  If there is one item guaranteed to instigate a complaint call to Town Hall or a Council Member, it is the failure to pick up a home owner’s garbage and recycle dumpsters!

[NOTE:  The Boards of Lantana’s Fresh Water Supply District #6 and #7 also decided recently to contract with Republic Services for trash and curbside pickup for their residents.]

We can still use more donations from any Town resident who would care to contribute at Town Hall for the Copper Canyon College Scholarship Fund.  Any amount would be appreciated, as we are still about $700 shy of our $5,000 goal.

NOTE:  By State law any municipality cannot give any amount to an individual, non-resident or not.

Scholarship Applications Available at Town Hall for Town Seniors.  Please Help Us Identify All Graduating Seniors to Invite to Senior Celebration Event April 24th 3-5 p.m. at Town Hall!

This year there are a record 17 graduating seniors from Lewisville ISD’s Marcus High School who live in Copper Canyon.  However, there are no graduating seniors this year from Denton ISD’s Guyer High School or Liberty Christian or “home schooled.”  We have yet to identify 3 of the 17 graduating 2016 seniors from Marcus.  (Their last name may be different from the parent, grandparent, or guardian who owns their home, so the Town cannot cross reference the senior’s last name with the Town’s database of adult residents’ home addresses.)

High schools are understandably legally reluctant to release the names of graduating seniors and their addresses for security and privacy reasons.  So, our Town relies heavily on our residents to tell Town Hall who our graduating seniors are.  If you are a Marcus High School graduating senior or familiar with graduating seniors in Copper Canyon, please call us at Town Hall 940-241-2216 Ext 0.  Donations provide a $100 scholarship and a full size Texas flag to each graduating senior who doesn’t apply for the larger competitive CC college scholarships.  We would hate for any graduating Copper Canyon senior to miss out on these gifts!

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About The Author

Sue Tejml is mayor of Copper Canyon, TX.

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