Friday, June 21, 2024

Flower Mound council denies Smith Tract amendments

Flower Mound Town Hall. Photo by Bill Castleman
Flower Mound Town Hall. Photo by Bill Castleman

Perhaps the two most-anticipated Flower Mound Town Council scheduled agenda items were either withdrawn or modified prior to Monday’s meeting.

The two proposed original Master Plan Amendments (MPA16-0005 and 0006) both concerned 53-miles of rural road changes: one which would remove the paved multi-use trail, equestrian trail, equestrian trail head and complete streets/bike lanes within and adjacent to the Smith Tract; and, the second amending the rural collector cross-section for Scenic Road, Cardinal Road, Rocky Point Road and Shiloh Road adjacent to the Smith Tract to remove the bike lane designation.

The Smith Tract in western Flower Mound is bounded by FM 1171 on the north, Scenic Road on the east, Cardinal Road on the south, with Shiloh Road and Rocky Point Road on the west. The 482-acre property is located within the Cross Timbers Conservation Development District (CTCDD).

The Parks, Arts and Library Services Board members unanimously recommended denial of MPA 16-0005 at its Sept. 1 meeting; the Transportation Commission recommended denial of MPA 16-0006 by a vote of 5-to-1 at its Sept. 13 meeting; and, the Planning and Zoning Commissioners unanimously recommended denial of both MPA’s at the Oct. 10 P&Z meeting.

Prior to the P&Z denial for the road change amendments, more than 170 written submissions and 36 public speakers’ input—all negative– were evaluated by the commissioners.

Given the past community response, the applicant withdrew its MPA-16-0006 request completely and modified the MPA-16-005 request to eliminate only the equestrian trails and trailhead.

However, also included in the negative public response and denied by P&Z was a companion Master Plan Amendment (MPA-16-0007), which was a request to extend the town’s wastewater line to include the Smith Tract.

As at the P&Z meeting, attorney Arthur Anderson represented the Smith family of Dallas at the council meeting. In his presentation, he again requested approval to extend the town’s sewer lines without presenting a concept plan for any development on the property.

The CTCDD has set standards allowing development, but only under strict guidelines protecting open areas and does not allow sewer.

Smith Tract
Smith Tract

During the P&Z meeting, commissioner Mike McCall said: “What I heard was ‘trust us’ and that bothers me. I don’t see changes making sense at this time, especially without a plan.”

The first response at the Town Council meeting was from Doug Powell, executive director of Development Services: “They want to extend the line, but for what?” He added that the town staff considers the Master Plan to be a policy document, “So, we need to have a specific request to make a change.”

Anderson said most communities want to extend sewer lines for property owner savings (over the cost of individual septic systems) and land usage. He said there’s no plan because of the cost associated with hiring engineers if there’s any interest for the town to extend the wastewater service line.

Mayor Tom Hayden pointed out that the 2013 Master Plan review included whether to extend the wastewater line for the entire CTCDD area and that Smiths are “asking for a stamp for an ambiguous request.”

Most speakers were of the opinion that the ultimate reason the Smiths want to extend the sewer line is to allow medium- or high-density residential development.

“They looked at the [zoning] restriction of one home on 1.6-acre and the property owners divided the total acreage by 1.6 and they want to put in 300 homes,” said Gerald Robinson, a former chairman of the Environment Conservation Commission and member of the Master Plan Review committee.

Addressing the development “impediments” put forth by the owners, Paul Stone said: “It’s all about greed.” He added that the major development block are the three gas wells and the restrictions the owners allowed to be built on the property.

“Part of our responsibility [for a Master Plan Amendment] is, ‘is there a merit and is it a benefit to the town,’” said council member Don McDaniel. He added that this request doesn’t meet the criteria.

“I’ve been given nothing to justify ‘we’re going to present this, so just do it,’” said Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Bryant.

Finalizing the council’s discussion was Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Webb, who said: “The single issue to the property owner is the sewer. It’s not a land-use tool; it’s a waste-use tool. The fact that we didn’t get a plan is a disrespect to the residents of the town.”

The council unanimously rejected the Master Plan amendments.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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