My opponent does not seem to like apartments. She does not like them for seniors, she does not like them for empty nesters, she does not like them for young professionals, and she does not like them for teachers or divorced folks. She just does not like apartments for any reason, in any place, for anyone in Flower Mound. [Pardon my attempt at Dr. Suess humor!]
That is a simplistic position. However, it is politically convenient today because I do refuse to agree with her, and some other members of council, in being 100% against apartments for any reason without knowing the context of the whole plan. There are several of her supporters at the polls telling everyone that a vote for me means certain apartments for our town and a vote for her, means no new apartments…
I believe apartments are simply a tool to be used sparingly, IF AND ONLY IF, apartments are used to acquire something positive FOR Flower Mound residents. On that I’ll let my record of approved projects speak for itself:
- Suitable rental homes for seniors – Flower Mound had no rental homes that met the needs of independent seniors. I voted for two age-restricted rental home projects to help fill this need and allow our seniors to stay in Flower Mound.
- Saving trees and open space, expanding the Town’s trail system, and encouraging Class A office construction – I voted to approve zoning for a small mixed-use project in Lakeside Business District. This project was in accordance with the Master Plan, saved all of the specimen trees on the property, added over 4 miles of trails to the Town’s trail system, included over 4 acres of public parks, and includes a nice hotel and two Class A office sites. Class A apartments were included in the initial project to support the office sites and neighboring businesses. The hotel will begin its vertical construction this November and early discussions on office construction has begun.
- No additional apartments in Lakeside Business District – Approximately 400 acres of land remains vacant in LBD. In 2019, I supported and voted in favor of a new ordinance that restricts residential construction to less than 25% of total floor space. Due to today’s construction and financing requirements, this effectively eliminates the ability for developers to add additional apartments in the Lakeside Business District.
Will I support the use of apartments in the future? I honestly do not know and the answer to that question should never start out as a NO. If the apartments are needed to help deliver something that residents want or need, it is possible. Most of the scenarios where I might consider them are out between 377 and 35W in western Flower Mound and would most definitely need to include and should be considered with the following:
- Significant parks, open spaces and trails, bicycle lanes, a library branch or CAC like family facility, sports facilities (such as soccer, tennis, baseball, etc.), and land for a new fire station and/or a police substation in western Flower Mound
- Quality National Corporate Headquarter/Class A office tenant(s) that could be attracted to western Flower Mound
- Needed retail, commercial tenant(s), and other services residents desired
- Development provides a variety of home types for our younger Police and Fire personnel and other Town Employees, young professionals, empty nesters, teachers, and all other perspective residents wanting to come to Flower Mound
My belief is that apartments are simply a tool to be used wisely and sparingly. To say you will never allow another apartment in Flower Mound, as my opponent and another councilman running have stated, demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding instances when they can be useful to our town. It will not help Flower Mound move forward and that perspective will never bring ‘quality’ development to an area that needs it, nor will it allow for the Town to reduce your taxes! The land in western Flower Mound currently being discussed is Furst Ranch, a roughly 2,200-acre development at 377 & FM1171. That is a very large tract of land that has been talked about for at least 10 years and will probably take another 20 years to fully develop. We have one opportunity to get it right and make it a vibrant and exciting part of our town.
If you have not voted yet, please do so as early voting will be available until October 30th. I ask for your support and your vote to keep an experienced and thoughtful voice on FM Town Council. Remember to vote all the way down the ballot to the end, that is where you will find me!
Claudio Forest for Flower Mound
Place 5, Town Council