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What’s Happening in Copper Canyon – December 2016

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Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml
Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml

Bids Solicited for Reconstruction of Chinn Chapel Road and Woodland Drive and the construction of the interior residential streets of Ladera Senior Community

Three parties are coordinating a joint bid on their individual three projects.  Chinn Chapel Road will be funded by Denton County and supervised by Copper Canyon Town Engineers – Halff Associates.  Woodland Drive will be funded by the Town of Copper Canyon and supervised by Copper Canyon Town Engineers – Halff Associates.  Ladera’s interior streets will be funded by Integrity Group and supervised by Bobby Dollak with G&A Consultants.  The joint project is on target and requests for bids were publicized in November.

The Council wishes to gratefully thank Copper Canyon resident Grace Weir for allowing her acreage to be used as the location of a temporary concrete batch plant.   The area on the northwest corner of Chinn Chapel Road and Woodland Drive is easily accessible to both road construction sites and should greatly speed up the time necessary for rebuilding the two roads.  The local batch plant will dramatically reduce the amount of time lumbering concrete trucks must access our town roads.  Road construction is always stressful for Town residents.  Thank you, Grace, for greatly lessening the time your neighbors will have to endure the turmoil of road construction!

Woodland Drive resident Craig Laughlin also made a good suggestion at the November Council Meeting.  He asked that the road reconstruction plans of Woodland Drive be available on the Town website for all residents to see.  The Council also suggested that a larger hard copy of the engineering drawings be available at Town Hall for any resident interested in seeing them.  (Engineering drawings on a website can be too small to see details clearly.)

Jamie Laughlin, who also lives at the top of Woodland Drive, told the Council that she was disappointed that the speed limit on that section of Woodland Drive had not been reduced for safety reasons.  She was also disappointed that our Deputies did not more stringently enforce the current speed limits.  However, our two Sheriff’s Deputies, David Berry and Jess Moran, have both heeded requests by residents on Orchid Hill Lane and Chinn Chapel Road and responded with more frequent traffic patrols on those two roads.  And, the Deputies will do the same to slow speeders as they make the “blind crossing” over the peak of Woodland Drive.

Chinn’s Chapel Methodist Church dedicates Veterans Memorial Flagpole

Chinn’s Chapel Methodist Church dedicated its Sunday November 13th service to honoring American military veterans in our area.  The small church had such a “full house” that volunteers had to place folding chairs alongside the wooden pews to accommodate the overflowing congregation.

Pastor Paul McGarvey asked all veterans present to please stand as he called out the name of each of our American military services.  Sixteen men stood, representing almost every branch of service!  A few of the older men who served after World War Two were even in uniform!  Pastor McGarvey marveled that the men still remained so physically trim that they could even button those well preserved military jackets!

One Marine veteran from our recent Middle East conflicts stood with his wife and children.  He stood on two metal prostheses, as both his legs were blasted off in a land mine explosion.  It is that kind of stark sacrifice by our veterans – and their families – that is humbling to witness.  And, reminds us that as Americans we have a moral obligation to fund the best medical facilities possible for our veterans who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe.  And to provide that medical attention swiftly, without long debilitating delays that make a mockery of their sacrifice!

After the church service, we gathered on the grass around the new flagpole with the Stars and Stripes flowing and sung “America the Beautiful” together.  Two stone benches are placed in a semi-circle flanking the flag pole.  Anyone is welcome to sit and contemplate our American heritage and our veterans over the recent decades, and even centuries, who have kept us safe.

Copper Canyon residents in attendance at the Veterans’ Memorial Service

It was fun to see Copper Canyon residents in attendance at the Veterans’ Memorial Service.  Ken Seale looked distinguished in his Air Force uniform with his wife Trish Seale accompanying him.  Ken met Trish in England.   At that time Trish was serving her country as a nurse in the British armed services. She came to the United States as Ken’s bride and became an American citizen many decades ago.  Trish has been an emergency room RN at Baylor Grapevine’s hospital.  Ken has volunteered as a Copper Canyon Council Member.

Jim Coleman and wife Shirley Coleman are also longtime residents of Copper Canyon for 31 years and members of the Chinn’s Chapel congregation!  Jim was the Project Manager for the building of the Education Building behind the Church.  Jim was also a District Governor for Lions Clubs in 2000-2001 and oversaw 70 local Lions Clubs.  And he served on the Copper Canyon Town Council with Ken Seale.  Jim has been an Election Judge for our Town and Chairman of the Election Committee.

Also present was the Hartley family!  George Hartley and his wife Jimmie Hartley have lived in Copper Canyon since 1962 – 54 years!  Their son Dean Hartley was raised in their home on acreage east off of Copper Canyon Road.  Dean has served the Town as a volunteer Block Captain for years!  Dean and his wife Sandy Hartley and parents George and Jimmie Hartley have been faithfully attending members of Chinn’s Chapel congregation for decades!

Also present at the Memorial Service was Grace Weir, a Copper Canyon resident for 53 years and an enthusiastic member of Chinn’s Chapel Methodist Church for almost as long!  Grace and Jimmie Hartley went to school together in Cumbie, Texas, a small town located between Greenville and Sulphur Springs in Hopkins County.  Grace is an outstanding cook, as her children-grandchildren-and even great grandchildren will readily attest!  But Grace always recognizes her decades long friend Jimmie Hartley as one of the finest of cooks!  Grace was 88 this year and still greets the world with her amazing, infectious smile – and her ever present latest hat, cocked at a rakish but very positive angle on her head!

NOTE:  The first church building of Chinn’s Chapel was a log cabin built in 1858 by volunteers.  The chapel was located within the grounds of the cemetery on the west side of Chinn Chapel Road.  The log cabin is still standing there, but a second metal roof was installed over it to protect the original wood structure from the elements.  The current white frame church was built in 1872 on the east side of Chinn Chapel Road.  It was the only school house in the area for many years and served as a “rooming house” for new residents.  Henry A. Porter came to Denton County in 1876 and lived within a mile of the chapel for the rest of his life.  He said he “stayed in the chapel with his family for 2 weeks.  They would move out on Sundays so services could be held.”  (From Towns and Communities of Denton County, compiled by Emily Fowler and Alma Lain Chambers, courtesy of Emily Fowler Public Library.

Items Discussed at the November Council Meeting:  “Flag Lots,” Flexible Requirements for Roof Pitches on New Homes, Exceptions for a third Major Accessory Building, and a Clarification on Executive Sessions.  (The Council is reviewing old ordinances to allow Residents more flexibility in building while maintaining quality construction standards.)

  1. “Flag Lots”

The Council was asked by a resident to consider a “Flag Lot” on his 8 acre residential lot with his existing home on it.  The longtime resident couple wishes to continue living in Copper Canyon, but as “empty nesters” they no longer need their very spacious two story home.  They would like to sell their current large home with 4 acres around it and build a new home on the rear 4 acres on a “Flag Lot.”  The smaller one story new home would be more in tune to their current life style, with their adult children no longer living at home.  (A “Flag Lot” is so named, because it is accessed by a long driveway running to the rear “Flag Lot.”  The “flag pole” part is the long driveway that usually runs to the side of the original front lot facing the street.) The neighbors in the area have signed a petition approving the flag lot.

The Council responded by asking our Town Attorney Terry Welch to draft an ordinance allowing flag lots for Council and P&Z to consider in January.  The “Flag Lot” draft ordinance by Town Attorney Terry Welch proposes the following for consideration:

  1. A flag lot is a minimum of two acres in size.
  2. No other flag lots are allowed on the original property.
  3. The remaining original underlying lot (minus the flag lot) must meet current zoning requirements for that area (which could require a minimum one or two acre original lot. If the current zoning for that area requires a minimum five acre original lot, then the flag lot must also be a minimum of an additional five acres.)
  4. A flag lot must have adequate accessibility for emergency responders.
  5. A flag lot must have adequate accessibility for required utilities.
  6. A flag lot must comply with requirements of Town driveway ordinances.
  7. There must be a public hearing before both the Planning & Zoning Commission and Town Council, which hearings may be held on the same night, with prior notice to every land owner within 200 feet of the proposed flag lot.  However, the Council by majority vote has the final decision on any allowance of a flag lot.

Additionally, P&Z and Council may consider topographical, environmental preservation, or other severe physical constraints that prevent the usual subdivision of the property and result in a flag lot being the best solution for subdividing the property.  Such constraints might be a restricted flood plain area not available for construction or the saving of “heritage” groves of trees.

Note: Our Town Attorney Terry Welch commented that flag lots will only be considered on properties with a minimum of three acres.  The original lot must remain at least one acre; plus, the flag lot is a minimum of two additional acres.  Therefore, this possible ordinance should have minimal effect on the traditional one acre residential lots in our Town.  But, it does allow for some flexibility for residents on lots of three acres are more who could benefit from a flag lot.  Council Member Valerie Cannaday, an experienced realtor, noted that the Town of Southlake already allows flag lots.

  1. Flexible Requirements for Roof Pitch on New Home Construction.

A resident couple in Town wish to build the “contemporary home of their dreams!”  The home would be 10,000 square feet of quality construction on their 28 acre home site.  And from the home’s location at the top of Orchid Hill, the Residents and their family and guests would have a spectacular unobstructed view all the way to Plano!  However, the proposed roof would have a shallower pitch and different style than our current construction ordinance requires.  Our current ordinance requires a Hipped Roof with a pitch of 6 to 12, and/or a Gabled Roof with a pitch of  9 to 12.  None of the surrounding neighbors have objected to the proposed new home’s contemporary style or shallower roof pitch.

Town resident Gary Beavers, also an architect, noted that currently Mediterranean style homes with shallower sloped red tile roofs are very popular. Attorney Welch also commented that shallower pitched roofs are less visually intrusive on neighbors who live nearby.  P&Z and Council will meet December 12th to consider an exception to our current Town ordinance which requires steeply pitched roofs.  If the exception is granted, the Residents can begin immediate construction of their “dream home!”

In January both P&Z and Council will consider modifying our current ordinance to allow more flexibility in roof pitch and design – and without a resident or builder needing to come before P&Z and Council for a special Exception.  Our goal is simpler municipal restrictions – but with maintenance of quality construction standards in our Town.

  1. Major Accessory Building Exceptions

Town Attorney Terry Welch noted that up to two Major Accessory Buildings are a ‘right’ under our current ordinance.  (A Major Accessory Building is defined as over 210 square feet in footprint.)  Any third accessory building can only be on a residential lot of a minimum two acres in size and is subject to approval by majority vote of council, but only after a public hearing, with prior notice to all land owners within 200 feet.

At the November meeting, the Council unanimously granted an Exception to residents Gary and Jan Beavers for a third Major Accessory Building on their home site.  It is a three-sided roofed horse shelter on their 5.8 acres on Bridle Path Road.  No neighbors had objected to the addition of the open horse shelter.

  1. Clarification of Executive Session

According to State Statue, a “retained” outside legal counsel can be present at Executive  Session by telephone.  Our Town Attorney Terry Welch was available Monday night at our Nov 14th Council Meeting by telephone from Anchorage, Alaska from 7-9 p.m. for legal advice or any necessary Town Executive Session.  Terry is in Anchorage, because he is a featured speaker there every year at an American Bar Association legal seminar.  One of Terry’s acknowledged legal specialties by fellow attorneys is Municipal Land Use.

Calloway’s in Flower Mound on FM 2499 has the Freshest Christmas Trees!

“Live” Christmas trees are a tradition in our family for over 70 years – or for 5 generations!  We all marvel at the special smell of a “live fir tree” in our home!  And, I have treasured memories of lying under the tree as a child with my younger brother and looking up through the green branches with the Christmas lights twinkling above us in so many colors!  This is a family ritual that I have loved repeating with Emil’s and my three children when they were little – and now with our seven grandchildren spanning ages 3 (the youngest)  to 27 (the oldest!)

The challenge is always where to find the “freshest” live Christmas tree, as they are cut before Thanksgiving and shipped from states far away with colder climates more suitable to their growth.  Fortunately, I discovered Calloway Nursery’s newest store in Flower Mound about a decade ago.  The store opened on September 3rd, 2008 with Ty Poynter as Manager.  (Ty has now been with Calloway’s for over 28 years!  And has helpfully shared his extensive knowledge of gardening with many of the Garden Clubs in our area!  If your club needs a program on roses, annual and perennial flowers, houseplants, vegetables, shrubs, landscaping, even tree pruning – call Ty!)

The living room in our home has a 24 foot ceiling, so it easily accommodates a 10-11 foot tall Christmas tree!  Ty always calls me as soon as he has his first delivery of fresh firs, and he knows my preference is a Noble fir.  Calloway’s Noble firs are up to 10-11 feet tall and are grown by Bear Canyon in Washington State, which for years has supplied the Noble fir for the Christmas tree at the White House!  The Fraser firs are grown in North Carolina by Cartner Christmas Trees, which has grown Christmas trees for generations!  (This shipment of Frasers has a maximum height of 9-10 feet.)  The most recent variety of fir is Nordman, which is a native of Russia and now grown in Oregon.  Ty described it as a “Noble fir on steroids” with larger needles and denser branches.  But, it has a maximum commercial height of 8-9 feet – a perfect height for homes and apartments with 10-12 foot high ceilings.  However, all three varieties of Christmas trees are also available in 6-7 foot heights for homes and apartments with standard 8 foot tall ceilings.

The Challenge of Maintaining the Freshness of a Live Christmas Tree

Immediately after delivery of Christmas trees, the Calloway staff chain saws off the bottom 2-4” of each trunk.  This allows the tree to wick moisture up the central trunk and keep the branches and needles hydrated.  The trees are immediately mounted in sturdy stands that contain water reservoirs around the base of the trunk.  Calloway’s staff refills the water reservoirs each day and each Christmas tree is sprayed with water a minimum of twice a day.  This standard procedure of the nursery ensures that the Christmas trees remain hydrated and fresh.  The price of each tree includes the stand it is already mounted in.

For $20 the tree and stand will be delivered within a 10 mile radius and setup in the home.  (Though, setup does not include moving furniture to make room for the Christmas tree.)  Deliveries are made west to Argyle, Justin, and Robson Ranch; north to Denton; east to Lewisville and Carrollton; south to Coppell; and any towns within that outlying radius.  After Thanksgiving and beginning Friday November 25th, store hours will be Monday to Saturday 9 am to 8 pm and Sunday 9 am to 6 pm.  972-691-2650.  Calloway’s is located at 2901 FM 2499, Flower Mound, TX. 75022 or the east side of FM 2499, 3rd light south of  FM 1171 – Main Street and just south of DATCU and the Black Walnut Café.

The Fire Hazard of a dried out Christmas Tree in your Home

This endorsement is freely given by me, as I genuinely appreciate the quality and safety of a well-hydrated live Christmas tree inside a home

Many years ago, when my first two children were 6 and 8 years old, I let them build “forts” from neighbors’ discarded Christmas trees that had been left curbside for trash pickup.  The kids dragged the trees into our back yard and piled them up in a circle on our patio, with a spaced carved out in the middle for their “hide out.”  As long as the trees’ needles were still fairly green and supple, the branches weren’t too “prickly” for our children to enjoy playing inside the circle of 4 foot tall Christmas trees laid on their sides.

That year I also decided to cut up the undecorated Christmas tree in our living room and just throw the branches on the gentle fire in our fireplace.  MAJOR MISTAKE!  The branches still containing sap just exploded into a blazing inferno in our fireplace, and black smoke was billowing out into our living room!  Fortunately, my husband Emil was home for the holidays and responded immediately to my desperate cry for help!  With some frantic effort, Emil and I were finally able to put the fire out with only some smoke and soot damage to walls, ceiling, and furniture and a badly singed walnut hood and mantle over our stone fireplace opening.  But, we did feel incredibly stupid dragging a garden hose into our living room to help put out the fire – and having incredibly hot scalding steam spraying back on us from the sputtering flaming branches in our fireplace.  Dumb!  Dumb!  Dumb!

But of far more importance:  Horrified, I realized that I had allowed our two precious children to “play” among these volatile dried out Christmas trees!  It had never occurred to me that benign Christmas trees could be such an incredible fire hazard!

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About The Author

Sue Tejml is mayor of Copper Canyon, TX.

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