Flower Mound Town Council members were excited about more than a short list of agenda items.
An update on the status of Parker Square and its increased occupancy rate by developer Curtis Shore was received with enthusiasm from council members.
In the five of nine buildings that Shore owns, the rate has risen from about 50-percent up to a total occupancy of about 80- to 85-percent. Plans are also underway to build an additional building; for a total of 10 buildings in Parker Square.
Shore’s presentation also led to a discussion about the possibility of moving the temporary location of the Farmers Market from the Town Hall parking lot to Parker Square.
“We had a great conversation about it this weekend,” said council member Don McDaniel. “I think that’s a win for everyone; even if it’s a short term thing—which might be as long as two years.”
He added that because the market is now established, relocating it to Parker Square with the additional space for vendors and parking would be a positive thing for the town staff, Parker Square and market operator Four Seasons management group.
By allowing Four Seasons to have the space to add 25 more vendors would mean that it will be one of the largest farmers market in the area; which means it’ll be a regional draw.
“I think we [Shore and McDaniel] have the same economic philosophy—that ‘all boats lift on a rising tide,’” said McDaniel. “As the Farmers Market does well, Parker Square does well, the town does well and, ultimately, the [future permanent home of the market] River Walk does well.”
“All the residents in our buildings are crazy about the idea and have been asking for it,” said Shore. “We have over three-acres of concrete and there’re 330 parking spaces.”
McDaniel said that 75 to 80 vendors could be accommodated in the space.
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Webb added that someone on the Parker Square side of the equation needs to initiate the market relocation process by submitting an application.
“We’ll keep charging ahead to do anything we need to do,” said Shore.
Council members were also receptive to the Charter Review Commission’s recommendations, as presented by former mayor Jody Smith, the non-voting chair of the Commission.
Of the nine issues reviewed and recommended by the Commission, seven were heard without much comment from council members. The other two topics were not only discussed, but were judged to warrant further council discussion.
A Town Charter amendment creating a process to follow in the event a Charter violation might occur by either the mayor or council member was supported by the council members, which will mean the addition of changes to the Town Charter will be added to the November election ballot.
Smith reported the commissioners unanimously recommended seven steps, to include: 1 – a written, sworn complaint filed by a council member and presented to the mayor (or, if against the mayor, then to the Mayor Pro Tem; 2 – the accused will also receive the complaint; 3 – a public hearing date will be scheduled; 4 – a majority vote [three of five] by council is needed to hear a complaint, but a supermajority vote [four of five] will be required to find the violator guilty of a violation; 5 – the presiding officer shall enter a judgment to remove the charged member and declare the council seat empty; 6 – the removed member will not be able to be re-elected to Town Council for two-years; and, 7 – if a vacancy occurs, the council shall follow Charter regulations to fill it.
“I agree with you that this needs to be clear and defined,” said McDaniel. “I do have a concern … that there needs to be another step between two and three. I’m concerned that a single accusation puts the ball in motion for a public hearing.”
He said that perhaps following an accusation, a closed session of the council to discuss the issue might be needed just to read the accusation with a supermajority council vote needed to send it to a public hearing.
Smith agreed that there may be holes in the steps recommended by the commissioners, but they wanted to present more than just saying: “yes, council, there needs to be a process” and leave it at that.
Mayor Tom Hayden said it might be better that the public not be involved until an investigation has occurred.
Town Attorney Bryn Meredith added that some legal attention; such as– if the accused person would be allowed to vote as part of the supermajority required– plus other considerations that might change requirements for candidacy, etc.
Bryan Webb suggested that the topic be discussed at the council’s Aug. 4 meeting.
Also deemed needing additional discussion were the length of terms—currently two years—and whether there should be a change to the limit of consecutive terms served—currently set at three consecutive (not total) two-year terms.
Although the Commission recommended keeping two-year terms with three seats elected every two years, the council discussed the option of three-year terms.
Hayden asked if the Charter Commission had discussed the option of having two seats elected every three years: “A two, two and one with the mayor?”
Smith said the only discussion related to three-year terms had been a “three seats, three seats and then no election the third year to save the town [election] money.”
She said that the “two, two and one with mayor” makes the idea more understandable and clear. She added that she’s been a proponent of three-year terms, because it allows a new council member a learning-year and then two-years to let the public see how that person performs. It also helps maintain a consistency for town staff members.
Meredith added that among other considerations involving changing to three-year terms would be a need for an election should a vacancy on council occur.
Council members agreed that further discussion– and the legal ramifications on changing term limits as researched by Meredith– should be scheduled for the Aug. 4 meeting.