SMARTGrowth emails explained

Earlier today I learned that a couple of emails between the former Flower Mound town manager and me were posted on the Flower Mound Cares Facebook page.  Facebook is a great way for people to stay connected, but since I don’t visit the website very often I did not see the posts until I had a couple of friends call and tell me the emails were there. Each time I write and send a town email I know the communications are open to public review and that transparency is welcomed.

To put the email messages into context we must go back to the June 2012 development application for Regency Park Phase II (Z 03-12) which is located south of Cross Timbers Road and east of Bruton Orand Boulevard.  Whenever the town receives an application for a development project the planning and development department conducts a complete review of the application which includes a SMARTGrowth analysis. A SMARTGrowth analysis measures and determines if the town has sufficient infrastructure to service the proposed development.

The SMARTGrowth analysis for this development showed the town has adequate infrastructure to allow the development, but the school component of the analysis showed no future availability/capacity for McKamy middle school based on the information received from LISD. Because of the failure to the school component of the SMARTGrowth analysis the project could not proceed based on Flower Mound’s ordinances. The Regency Park II developer was also in contact with LISD who informed the developer that LISD did indeed have availability/capacity at McKamy middle school. Do you see the mixed messages? I will get to the mixed messages later.

Town staff briefed all town council members on August 10 that LISD had no plans to add classroom space at McKamy this year or next year because capacity exists in the overall LISD system. The August 28 email to Mr. Jefferson was questioning if Flower Mound town staff had made any follow-up contact with LISD staff to determine if they had any more information since the August 10 briefing. Mr. Jefferson’s August 29 email confirmed there was no additional LISD information since the last briefing and that staff was putting together some options for town council to consider. The August 30 email was letting him know that I receive the August 10 brief and I was looking forward to reviewing staff’s proposals.

That brings us to the December 17, 2012 town council meeting where the school component of SMARTGrowth was amended and not deleted. At this meeting the town attorney made the following statement; “If we don’t handle this now [meaning amending SMARTGrowth], it could be an impediment to the town down the line and could have some perhaps negative legal implications for the town with the school districts saying they do, in fact, have the capacity.”

I can understand how the LISD redistricting conversation and the amendment to the school component of SMARTGrowth can be mistakenly tied together. But they are completely separate issues the responsibility of two separate governing bodies.

There have been a several “hot issues” our town has been faced with since I began my volunteer service to Flower Mound in 2004. One of the many things I have learned thorough my public service is when the issue is “hot” or controversial or emotional the governing body should slow down, really listen, get more people involved and make extraordinary efforts to gather and share as much information as possible.

These are the beliefs and experiences I drew from when I voted in favor of the resolution the town council passed regarding LISD on Friday 8, 2013. Please carefully review the resolution and I hope you will find what was just expressed to be the message, recommendation and encouragement to LISD to help make the best decision for everyone.

The school boundary discussion certainly should not ever become an “Us vs. Them” debate. It should be a discussion based on doing what is right with open and honest sharing of ideas using quality information for all to draw from to achieve the best end-result possible.

Steve Dixon
Place 4 Councilmember
Town of Flower Mound


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