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Charter school campus zoning approved by FM P&Z

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Flower Mound Town Hall. Photo by Bill Castleman

It’s not an easy-sell to get a change in zoning for a non-residential lot in Flower Mound’s protected Cross Timbers Conservation Development District (CTCDD) area of the town’s Master Plan.

Monday night, however, the town’s Planning and Zoning Commissioners voted unanimously to change 18.85-acres, on the southeast corner of FM 1171 and Flower Mound Road, from Agricultural District zoning to create a new campus for the Responsive Education Solution’s Founders Classical Academy of Flower Mound charter school; which is soon-to-outgrow its current location in the former health club 500 building in Parker Square.

“Founders Classical Academy is a ‘classical’ school,” said Warner Watkins, president of its PTA. “Classical schools take an approach of education that’s characterized by traditional liberal arts and sciences curriculum and ‘an orientation towards truth, beauty and goodness that aims to cultivate wise and virtuous students.’”

The new campus will be completed in two phases. The first phase includes a 42,722-square-feet elementary/middle school building with 32-classrooms for 590 students, plus a 15,001-square-feet gymnasium building with 200 seats. It will also include 107 parking spaces.

Watkins explained that the public, tuition-free Founders charter school is increasing its curriculum to become a Kindergarten through seventh-grade facility in 2017-18 and will continue to expand eventually to instruct students through 12th grade.

The future second phase will be the construction of the high school building for approximately 260 students.

“The new site will become the main campus, allowing the space in Parker Square to be re-purposed,” said Terry Wright with Wright Groups Architects of Carrollton.

Commissioner Laura Dillon expressed concern about possible backup at the median break on FM 1171 for the Cross Timbers Road access. There is currently a median break on FM 1171 that will be utilized for the Cross Timbers Road entrance, with another entrance on Flower Mound Road.

Project representatives pointed out that, because the site is not a “neighborhood” school– but, pulls students from across the North Texas region– and will have staggered starting-times; westbound school traffic should not create a traffic problem. The traffic light at the intersection to the west will help create an opening for drivers turning left into the site.

“With this site being so linear, it does grant a lot of stacking,” said Wright.

The P&Z Commissioner’s approval for the zoning change is complete. However, their unanimous approval to recommend Town Council approval of the requests for both a Master Plan Amendment (MPA)– to expand the current town boundary of the Long Prairie Wastewater Service District to include the new campus site– plus a Record Plat and Site Plan Application will be future agenda items for council consideration.

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  • 2nd_chance

    The last time they tried to change zoning and the MP on this plot, we were told explicitly by the town council that the changes to allow sewer to the development to the south would be the last ones in the CTcDD. That the line would be drawn there and go no further. I guess they forgot. And getting a MP amendment in the CTCDD is the easiest thing in the world to do with this council. Just promise to clear cut the trees, not bury utilities and have a “unique” concept to appeal to property tax paying millenials.

    A church on one corner, a school on another. And we are told traffic won’t be an issue?? Lusk is a major cut through now for everyone north (Lantana, Bridlewood, etc.) That light already backs up each morning and afternoon. Six hundred more cars, twice a day won’t have an impact?

    The article does not reference the tee removal request. I’m guessing that was enthusiastically passed as well. Those pesky trees getting in the way again. And let’s not mention the light pollution this school will create.

    It’s a pity that the town keeps up the farce of preserving a rural feel. They should take down the photos of forests and horses from the website. Put up more of hotels, condos, mixed use, utility poles and parking lots. That’s the future they are crafting.

  • Mac JT

    This really should pass hopefully. LISD standards are plummeting and alternative schools are a must.The choice at least should be there.
    The fact is, Responsive Ed paid for a very expensive study to show that the existing sewer pipe diameter was enough for the school to connect to and wouldn’t cause any problem in blocking/ stalling etc.

    The study (independent mind you) clearly agreed that it would not be an impediment.
    Septic tanks are not feasible for a school project.

    So why is there opposition?

    The opposition is mostly from so called pro-conservation activists who mind you have no problem driving humongous SUVs , waste food like no other and use paper and plastic like there’s no tomorrow. The other type of opposition comes from folks who cry about the fact that the Charter school gets a tiny portion of the taxes collected by Denton county which otherwise would have gone to a bloated LISD coffer to buy more useless IPADs and other nonsensical “teaching aids”.

    Test any one of these Classically educated charter school kids and compare them with an LISD kid and you’ll see night and day even with the pittance of budget the charter school has to manage with.
    Give the kids a chance , let them build their school.

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