Monday, January 17, 2022

Around Argyle – December 2021

Christmas is just around the corner, and the Town Council, the professional staff and I wish you all the joy and magic of the holiday ahead as we celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Rest in Peace, Chris Rosprim

Argyle is blessed to have had many residents through the years who have selflessly volunteered their time. I want to take a moment to mark the passing of a citizen who made important contributions to the life of the town. Chris Rosprim, a founding member of the Argyle Economic Development Corporation and a supporter of many community organizations, lost his fight with complications caused by COVID-19 on November 13, 2021. At a memorial service at Argyle United Methodist Church on November 20, he was remembered for his generous spirit and his mentorship of many Argyle residents. Chris, with his full white beard, was also a frequent stand-in for Santa at local events. He will be missed, and our thoughts are with his family.

 Help is on the way for FM 407

2021 has been a busy year for Argyle. We came out of the pandemic strong, making progress on several objectives of the Strategic Plan and executing an ambitious roadwork program. We have also made significant progress in fostering regional cooperation with other jurisdictions, including the completion of a Crawford Road rehabilitation project jointly funded by Argyle, the City of Denton, and Denton County.

For most of the year, we have been working side by side with the Town of Northlake and Denton County to accelerate improvements to FM 407. Our regional cooperation effort has been effective. The schedule for starting construction of the approximately $200 million project, stretching from Justin to FM 1830, has been moved up from 2029 to 2025.

Recent events, however, have highlighted the value of our now-established regional cooperation, especially on infrastructure planning. All three jurisdictions have begun discussions with Hillwood aimed at an early start to FM 407 improvements east and west of I-35W. The steady increase in traffic on FM 407 driven by the residential development in the area carries safety risks as traffic stacks up on the shoulders of I-35W, in addition to the problems of congestion on FM 407. Hillwood is motivated by the need to establish a clear, near-term schedule for improved access to its property at the northwest corner of FM 407 and I-35W, which is the site of a commercial and mixed-use development to be called Harvest Town Center.

FM 407 short-term or interim improvements, which will result in a divided road with at least two lanes in each direction, will extend from Gateway Boulevard in Argyle west to Cleveland-Gibbs Road in Northlake. Denton County, Argyle and Northlake are working with Hillwood and the Texas Department of Transportation to identify funding and to begin work on the Gateway to Cleveland Gibbs section within months, in an approach similar to the ramp reversal and widening project recently completed at I-35 and University Drive in Denton.

Harvest Town Center and Argyle’s First Grocery Store

Hillwood plans to begin work on the Harvest Town Center project next year, concurrently with FM 407, with the scheduled opening in fall 2023 of a large grocery store operated by a well-known chain. Plans also include restaurants, a variety of retail stores and a hotel. The company is planning a landscaped commercial district with architecture, signage and decorative features that express the rural, small-town heritage of Argyle.

Harvest Town Center is a mixed-use project in Argyle’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). The town negotiated a development agreement with the original developer of Harvest, then known as Belmont Village, in 2008 and revised the agreement in 2014. The present town leadership is bound by the 2014 development agreement. Under its terms, the Town of Argyle will have limited involvement in decisions regarding the uses that are built on the property. Hillwood’s goal is to submit a plat for the project to the town in December.

Harvest Town Center includes an “urban living” residential component. Higher density residential uses in this specific location have been part of the Harvest master plan since the 2008 inception of the development. I should emphasize that the uses on the Harvest Town Center property, including the urban living aspect of the project, were disclosed to the Town of Argyle in 2008 and affirmed in the revised agreement in 2014. Notably, I-35W, including the frontage roads that will be under construction within the next three years, are designed to provide adequate capacity to manage the traffic generated by the commercial district.

Here is a Q&A on Harvest Town Center:

How will the development affect traffic on an already busy FM 407? As part of the development process Hillwood will perform a traffic impact analysis (TIA). The TIA will estimate the number of additional trips attributed to the development and will guide the extent of the improvements needed.

Is there adequate water and sewer to serve Harvest Town Center? The master plan for the site was approved over a decade ago. Since the approval, an earlier developer and Hillwood have worked with the Town of Argyle and the Argyle Water Supply Corporation to provide water and sewer service. All external lines to the site have been built. The developer will be responsible for installing water and sewer within the development and once built will turn them over to the Town and the Argyle Water Supply Corporation.

What is Urban Living? Urban Living refers to a development that has density commonly found in an urban setting. Urban Living developments are projects that generally have two- to three-story townhomes and apartments.

Which school system will serve children living in Harvest Town CenterChildren will attend Argyle Independent School District (AISD) schools. The developer (now Hillwood) committed to donating school sites comprising a minimum of 36 acres to AISD under the 2014 agreement.

Will the Town of Argyle receive property tax revenue from this development? No, this site is presently in the Town of Argyle ETJ. The Town of Argyle Municipal Development District will receive a small amount of sales tax from the development when retail operations begin. AISD, however, will realize significant property tax revenue.

TxDOT plans on installing frontage roads along I35W. How will these improvements be integrated into the future development? TxDOT has acquired the necessary right of way for the frontage roads that will serve the project. The developer’s plans take the right of way needs of TxDOT into account.

Will improvements to FM 407 be completed prior to work beginning on the I-35W frontage roads in ArgyleDenton County, the Town of Argyle, the Town of Northlake and Hillwood are working with TxDOT on an accelerated construction plan for the Cleveland-Gibbs to Gateway Boulevard section of FM 407. Our goal is to have the improvements to FM 407 competed a year before work on the frontage roads begins, now anticipated in 2024.

What approval authority does the Town of Argyle have for Harvest Town Center? Located in Argyle’s ETJ and under the terms of the 2008 and 2014 developer agreements, the town has so-called ministerial authority, meaning that the plat submitted by the owner is reviewed only for development standard compliance by the Planning & Zoning Commission. The town does not have approval authority for the development. Argyle leadership has requested that Hillwood host meetings for the public similar to Program for Argyle Community Engagement (PACE) meetings that the town requires for significant zoning cases.

CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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