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LETTER: In support of individual property rights

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letters to the editor feature photoWhen I was a youngster the free world was engaged in what we called the Cold War. The threat and goal of my parents’ generation had changed from defeating the Nazis in WWII to stopping the spread of Communism. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were communist leaders who overthrew the government in Cuba and pressed communist revolution throughout Latin America. Both were bloody murderers and dictatorial strongmen.

Today there is a picture of a proud Barak Obama standing with Fidel’s little brother, murderous Raul, in front of a depiction of Che. I can hardly believe what I am seeing. I hope it was a product of Photoshop, not diplomacy.

I have many good friends in south Florida whom I have met through the shipping business who were born in and escaped from Cuba, or are first generation Cuban Americans whose parents were refugees. Ours are close friendships and I have heard first hand about the atrocities and about the nationalization of family farms and businesses and the confiscation of land and personal property in the name of Communism.

Elimination of personal property is one of the ruinous precepts of the socialistic state. One of the most important foundations of the United States is the principal of private property rights. These rights also underpin the system of capitalism, in contrast to the state owning the means of production of goods and services.

So as I was noticing the travels of the President, I also noticed that a would-be spokesperson for a political point of view in our town has written that my family should be suspected of being disingenuous in our views of local political races because my family owns some land in Flower Mound.

In the 1930s my mother’s father made some land purchases and put together a small farm on the Denton/Tarrant County line, north of Denton Creek as it headed towards the Trinity River. He built a home there which was ultimately sold to my brother in the 1970s.

Our grandfather had died in 1969 and later my father bought a homestead for my sister and then in 1980 I bought land between my sister and brother and Metta and I moved an old house in and began fixing it up to live in for our family. We moved in in 1982 and we have been your Flower Mound neighbors ever since.

We three siblings raised three families on this land and by the start of this century we began to move off the land to other parts of town. Now there are fourteen of that Roach clan still living in Flower Mound. We love it here and have no plan to leave town.

Our group will grow. The land is ten acres on the county line, with our southern neighbor being the trailer park. We have never been land speculators or developers. We built our homes and raised our children, who have both gone to school here and taught school here.

The time will come to sell our land. It has always been zoned agricultural but we have always paid taxes without an agricultural exemption. We will not be selling as farm land, so a zoning change will be necessary. While zoned agricultural, our land is within Lakeside Business District. Our land is sandwiched between a six lane highway (FM 2499) and the Lakeside development that is zoned mixed-use. It is our intention that there should be no Master Plan Amendment necessary for a compatible zoning to be approved for an acceptable development plan for the ten acres.

Below are words lifted from the Master Plan on the Town website in the land use section about mixed-use. Other sections also control: “In-fill properties are those that are vacant with access to most urban infrastructure and adjacent to existing development. They may be adjacent to both commercial land uses or arterial roadways and lower intensity residential uses and may be properties that are difficult to develop under current policies. These properties share unique characteristics in that they have commercial potential due to adjacency to a major arterial or existing commercial uses, but need to address compatibility and transition issues with adjacent established neighborhoods. These properties may also share site specific environmental characteristics that need development flexibility in order to balance environmental protection and market feasibility. In-fill properties are generally between 5 and 20 acres in size. The Mixed Use land use category is intended to allow for creative development and flexible opportunities with a mix of development types (retail, office, hospitality, and residential) on properties that generally demonstrate the above listed criteria.”

Certainly a great plan can be made for a really neat piece of property. I will be retiring from my work positions at year’s end and then I am sure to begin devoting my energies to finding the right and responsible way to create a transition for our land that the town will be proud of for a long time.

As to town politics, I believe that there is a very good council in place now that will be improved by the results of this election. There are certain principles that I think are important. As a “style” I lean towards servant leaders. I have attempted to be that in my business life and I believe that I can recognize those signals of others exhibiting that quality. I tend to avoid candidates that appear to be running for a local position as a stepping stone to larger ambitions. They tend to be concerned about what is best for them rather than best for Flower Mound. Avoid extreme positions or one issue candidates. Our leaders should calmly and maturely consider the big picture. Look for a history of service on committees and maybe a history of volunteerism in our town. Righting wrongs or getting even is not a goal of a servant.

So, to the Facebook pages where I have made some friends and also apparently have enemies because I own land, I am foursquare in support of individual property rights. These rights precede Flower Mound, the Master Plan, and Facebook. I will not deviate from that and I will work to monetize the land that has been in our family for over 80 years. My father is 94 and he deserves to see his wish realized. I will apologize to no political candidate whom I oppose because I perceive they offer a threat to property rights. What I say will be clear and direct, and I will not enter into debate with the weasel word wizards lurking behind these keyboards.

Joe Roach
Flower Mound, TX

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