In late June, the Town Council held its annual strategic planning session. These planning sessions are a chance for the Council to be together and discuss items that are important to their vision for Flower Mound, as well as matters currently facing the Town. The discussion results in staff directives and requests for additional information or research. Many of the topics initially brought up in the planning session will also be discussed or decided upon in future Council meetings.
This was the first time in several years the planning session was broadcast and recorded. It is available to watch at https://bit.ly/2JQ1dYI. Council members discussed a total of 36 items and the final planning session report was adopted during the July 15 meeting, which is available in the July 15 Town Council agenda packet, located at https://bit.ly/2OeSRON.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the items of public interest:
Development Notifications: The Town will enhance its new interactive development map (www.flower-mound.com/developmentmap) by adding the ability for residents to sign-up for email/text notifications when a development project has been scheduled for review by the Planning and Zoning Commission or the Town Council. The map will be divided into five regions and users may sign-up to receive notifications based upon region(s) of interest through the Town’s “Notify Me” feature (www.flower-mound.com/notifyme). The Town is also establishing a process to send a notification to both the homeowner and current resident, if different, for notifications within 200 feet of a property that has filed a development application.
Debt Discussion: Town Council members asked staff to conduct a debt per capita benchmark survey, which was completed and the results were provided to Council on June 24. The results show Flower Mound ranks eighth among our 15 benchmark cities for debt per capita. Colleyville, Allen, and Lewisville have the lowest debt per capita while Frisco, Southlake, and Denton have the highest among our benchmark cities, based on 2017-2018 Fiscal Year data.
Currently, the majority of the Town’s debt is utility debt, incurred from projects needed to maintain the Town’s utility infrastructure. The Town’s current level of tax-supported debt is the lowest it’s been in approximately 10 years, and we also have the lowest debt service portion of our tax rate in at least 30 years.
Parks Board Input: Town Council members scheduled a joint work session with the Parks Board in October to discuss and provide updates on issues such as park land acquisition, Community Activity Center expansion/Western Flower Mound Recreation Center, Cross Timbers Park development, a possible tennis center, funding for art in parks, and special needs structured recreation.
The discussion on park land acquisition arose in the 2017 Parks and Trails Master Plan, which identified a need for the Town to acquire approximately 200 acres of land to be developed into various types of parks to meet minimum service levels for a community the size of Flower Mound. The CAC expansion and Western Recreation Center were also discussed in the Master Plan, which will address capabilities the current CAC cannot address and serve more residents. These are major initiatives that will require many discussions in the future, prior to any final approval.
Cultural Arts Center: The Town Council is considering the possibility of a cultural arts center, potentially in the Lakeside Village development, adjacent to Lakeside DFW. To do that, the Town needs to conduct a feasibility study to determine what type of arts center and location are best, as well as how it will be funded, operated, and advertised. Exploring the development of a cultural arts center to serve as a central hub for arts, culture, and creative programming is included in the Town’s approved Cultural Arts Master Plan. Town staff is currently in the process of accepting proposals for the feasibility study.
Transportation Model/Traffic Signal Re-timing: Town staff presented the 2045 Draft Transportation Model Update to the Council during the planning session. The update projected the traffic counts and level of service for the Town’s major roadways in 2045. The model used population and development projections for locations outside of Flower Mound (collected by the North Central Texas Council of Governments) as well as the Town’s Land Use and Master Plan for locations inside of Flower Mound. If every community’s plan remained the same, the prediction of congestion would be relatively accurate. If there are drastic swings of land use within the Town or the surrounding region, it may change the outcome of the models prediction of the level of service (how congested) of the roads in 2045. Despite the high probability of change, the model helps the Town identify and be prepared for potential expansion projects as well as help identify possible bottlenecks.
The Town is considering using technology that would make many of the Town’s traffic signals have adaptive timing. This means the system, if the Town pursues this technology, would funnel data into a central system and then develop a new timing plan every light cycle to allow for the best efficiency of the system as a whole. The current signal adaptive technology could initially cost the Town $220,000 for 10 intersections along the FM 2499 corridor, with an ongoing annual cost up to $10,000 to maintain. To convert all signals to this technology from our current vendor, it could cost roughly $1.4 million and up to $70,000 in annual maintenance costs. The Cities of Plano and Frisco will be conducting a pilot study using the same adaptive technology solution at some of their busiest intersections. The Town will look at their data to determine if this is something that will help improve traffic congestion in Flower Mound. The Council will be reexamining this issue in several months after the Plano and Frisco pilot projects are complete.
Short-Term Rentals: Town staff was directed to continue working on an ordinance that will create standards and require a special use permit for short-term rental properties. When complete, it will be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission and then to Town Council for approval.
The Town will release more information on these projects, when available. To sign-up for news alerts and/or meeting notifications, please visit www.flower-mound.com/notifyme.