The Town Council and Planning and Zoning Commission met for a dual workshop prior to the monthly Council Meeting last month. I am so thankful for the two groups and staff that worked hours to research and answer questions about the Comprehensive Plan. This plan is now ten years old.
A decade ago, the citizens of Argyle and the elected officials at that time hired a consultant to develop a growth plan for Argyle. The intention is to give the Town staff and leaders a guide of how and where growth should be allowed, giving us instructions of what type of businesses are allowed and what the density should be in different areas. Soon after the plan was adopted, the rescission hit and the housing crash put a halt to the economy across the U.S. The plan was put on a shelf.
This brings us up to today, when the economy and growth of North Texas is booming. Because of the outstanding state and county that we live in, people from all over the country are moving here for the excellent job market. Businesses are relocating here at a rapid pace. Construction is happening in all directions as the County and TxDOT try to keep up with the traffic needs. The present infrastructure cannot support the growth that has been seen in our surrounding region.
This brings us to the present problem that we are facing as a Town. The “recipe” known as the Comp Plan has led the Town leaders to reevaluate the plan and bring it up to date. The P&Z asked the town staff to bring us information with where we are in our growth plan. Trent Petty, a town consultant, did a fabulous job at the workshop with a presentation of where we presently are and what we need to focus on to maintain the purpose of our Comp Plan. He showed us what the population would be if Argyle was completely built out as the plan illustrates.
The instructions of the plan state that our population should not go over 13,000. We are under that number. The plan shows huge areas on I-35W as commercial which seemed realistic ten years ago. This large area of commercial was what was going to pay for the Town services to prevent taxes from going up and maintaining the under 13,000 population. Without the commercial development, we have something called a “tax gap.” This is the difference in the revenue and the cost of running the Town. Not any different from a family budget. We work to keep the lights on and feed our families. The Town works to repair roads and keep a strong police department for our safety.
We now see that I-35W area probably will never have as much commercial as once thought, and the Town Council and P&Z would like to see how we reduce the development without bankrupting the Town. However, we also are instructed by the plan that parks and trails, public open space, and a way to move about Town without such a large burden on Hwy 407 and 377 is crucial to our Town’s success. We are also instructed to keep most of Argyle in large land parcels to maintain the natural features we all love about Argyle. This is where we are. How do we accomplish this? We have decided that we will form a committee of P&Z members and Council to arrive at a solution. This is what we have asked the committee to discuss:
- What percentage of I-35W should be commercial? The Comp Plan states 75%. If that number is not realistic, what is the number?
- How do you protect the Citizens from encroachment of this development that live in the surrounding area? What does this transition from I-35W development to our present homes look like?
- How do we capture and provide a sense of arrival and civic identity for Argyle as the plan states?
- How do we eliminate a “tax gap”?
- Is the consistency of the plan’s text and charts there?
These are the concerns. We need a solution that will be consistent with the plan and a little easier for the Citizens of Argyle to read and interpret. The document is extremely lengthy. We are in the middle of growth and amendments must be made before any more developers present their plans. We need solutions immediately. The education and knowledge of this plan takes many months. We do not have time to educate new leaders that have not been involved in the planning. This is not a campaign. This is a fact. The Town adopted the Comprehension Plan and the Town leaders are elected to follow the instructions while maintaining sustainability of Argyle. We must respect and work together for the common goal of the WHOLE town. We cannot make our decisions on emotion or dissect the map. You must follow the directions of the recipe. One wrong ingredient will change the outcome.
We also need to continue our partnership with the Argyle ISD as they educate families of the importance of their bond election. I am 100% behind the bond. We need to build more schools that can relieve the Town of the enormous amount of traffic resulting in the neighboring families traveling to Argyle to bring kids to school that are in the Argyle ISD but not in our town limits. We feel the pain and have the obligation of keeping the roads safe but do not receive tax dollars to help. We need to provide financing to build schools in our neighboring towns to help relieve the traffic problem. I encourage you to vote yes for the school bond.
As we ended the month of March, Argyle felt the power of Mother Nature as our homes and cars were destroyed by the golf ball size hail. I am so glad that no one was injured but there is a lot of damage. Have a great April and as always… keep your ideas coming!