Mayor Robertson needs to check his facts

As a candidate for Bartonville Town Council, Place One, I am writing to dispute the “facts” Bartonville Mayor Robertson cited in his recent opinion article published on The Cross Timbers Gazette website and letter mailed to all Bartonville residents.

Mayor Robertson inaccurately states that prior to the hastily called Town Council meeting on Sunday, August 22, to release 167 acres from our town’s extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) that “as of the Sunday meeting no application (for the gas compression facility) had been filed”. The facts do not support Mayor Robertson’s claims. On August 12, 2010, a representative of Mockingbird Pipeline LP, filed an application for development permit with the Denton County Planning Department for a natural gas facilities site, including compressors to be located at 1228 Porter Road. As a result of the application, the Town of Bartonville Council scheduled an August 17, 2010 meeting to discuss removing the area in question from our ETJ.  They later scheduled the Sunday, April 22, 2010 meeting to officially approve an ordinance removing the area from our ETJ. The two Bartonville Town Council meetings were called and held after Mockingbird Pipeline had filed its application for development permit with Denton County. Mayor Robertson fails to mention that the towns of Flower Mound and Bartonville reached a border agreement in 2007 that established both the boundaries and the extent of ETJ between the two communities. Quoting from a Town of Flower Mound official press release dated August 23, 2010, “Flower Mound proceeded with annexation procedures to ensure a significant amount of Denton County property is now under municipal regulation and subject to land use rules and ordinances; however, the vote by the Bartonville Town Council left this property at risk for unfavorable development.”

“By releasing this property, the Town of Bartonville has essentially paved the way for the further industrialization of southern Denton County and the development of more gas exploration, drilling, and compression facilities along both borders,” said Michael Ryan, Flower Mound Director of Community Affairs. “We have anticipated potential issues with natural gas facilities being developed in our ETJ for a long time. As a result, we diligently moved forward over the past three years in systematically cleaning up our borders to ensure we have the ability to protect our residents.” 
Bartonville Town officials had roughly three years following the 2007 border agreement with Flower Mound to take action to annex the property within our ETJ to protect it from undesirable gas compression facilities. Mayor Robertson and the current town council took no action to protect its citizens from undesirable industrial development until Mockingbird Pipeline filed its development permit application on August 12, 2010. At that point, Bartonville town officials attempted to offload the problem to the Town of Flower Mound by releasing the subject property from Bartonville’s ETJ.   Mayor Robertson states incorrectly that “Contrary to what this candidate thinks, the Town of Flower Mound’s development regulations extend into their ETJ.  THEY choose not to enforce those regulations.” Quoting from the Town of Flower Mound’s press release, “as the Town of Flower Mound has no legal ability to regulate land uses or apply the current oil and gas ordinance within its ETJ, the assumption that release of the property would create a regulatory environment for the planned natural gas compression facility was both factually and legally inaccurate.”

Mayor Robertson asks voters to “vote for a team with a proven track record, one that has worked hard for years to keep Bartonville rural”. Given the failure of the current town council to protect our rural environment from industrial development such as the gas compression facility that has been built on Porter Road, I suggest that a change in our current town council is in order. That is why I am running for Bartonville Town Council, Place One.

Wendy Wipperman
Bartonville, TX

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