Welcome to 2022! The new year will bring a mix of opportunities and challenges for our community. Just as we worked our way through the unexpected events of the last two years, I am confident that the citizens of Argyle will overcome whatever 2022 throws at us. As we cope with the unexpected, it is vital for the Town to remain focused on our established policy goals.
The policy north star for the Town is the Strategic Plan (SP), as I said in a recent column on our National Arbor Day celebration. I would like to continue to unpack the SP with a few words about another strategic objective, Thoughtful Growth. Argyle aspires to growth that will complement and reinforce our small-town character, including keeping our rural legacy as intact as possible.
Thoughtful growth as referenced in the SP has three main elements. It requires the Town to 1) provide a “clear and compelling vision for the remaining vacant land,” 2) drive a development process that includes “more up-front coordination between developers and impacted neighborhoods, the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Town Council and the professional staff,” and 3) achieve effective communication and liaison with other jurisdictions.
The Town’s report card so far on Thoughtful Growth is mixed, but the trend is positive. Regional cooperation and communication is a bright spot as we now work routinely with Denton County, the City of Denton and the Town of Northlake on mobility issues.
Proactively managing development is a complicated challenge, but the new Argyle Municipal Development District (MDD) board is moving aggressively to take advantage of the opportunities that our consultants are identifying in the form of companies that want to move to Argyle. We also have opportunities in 2022 to better utilize development processes that give a larger role to citizens like the Program for Argyle Citizen Engagement (PACE). At the same time, Town leaders and professional staff have adopted a proactive stance to developer outreach. Ongoing projects to update land uses in our development standards and to update our policies for the master planning of large tracts are making good progress.
That leaves the “clear and compelling vision for the remaining vacant land” piece of Thoughtful Growth. Thanks to the work of Argyle citizens and leaders beginning two decades ago we have a head start on visualizing what the Town will look like at buildout. In 2000, the Town developed the 2020 Concept Plan as a first step in the creation and adoption by ordinance of the 2002 Comprehensive Plan. The years-long effort had concrete results that included a clear decision to drive the highest intensity non-residential development to land served by I-35W.
The 2002 Comprehensive Plan featured the first Land Use Plan. Over the past two decades, the Comprehensive Plan and the Land Use Plan have been adjusted, most recently in 2018 under the leadership of Mayor Don Moser. The most important features of the Land Use Plan have endured, however, including the principle of concentrating commercial development on I-35W, while preserving the low residential intensity that prevails across most of Argyle. Under Mayor Moser’s leadership, Argyle formalized both the 2018 Comprehensive Plan’s one-acre minimum residential density target and the policy of concentrating commercial development on the interstate highway corridor where the resulting traffic volumes are manageable.
As Mayor Moser put it in 2018, we need commercial development to pay our bills. Today, Argyle has reached a point where the population surrounding the Town makes commercial development on I-35W an attractive prospect for the landowners whose holdings are adjacent to the highway. Achieving our strategic goal of thoughtful growth and realizing commercial tax revenue on the 35W corridor will not happen, however, without proactive steps by the town. Harvest Town Center, for example, has been announced by Hillwood because the necessary mobility, water and wastewater infrastructure to make the commercial portion of the project viable will be in place when the retail and hospitality tenants open for business. Wastewater lines for Harvest Town Center were provided by Argyle and the cost of the lines reimbursed by the developer under the 2008 and restated 2014 development agreements. As I noted in the December Around Argyle column, Argyle, Northlake, and Denton County are also playing key roles in early FM 407 roadway improvements that are necessary to handle Harvest Town Center traffic volumes.
Likewise, Argyle can encourage near-term development at a second location, this one within the town limits, at the southwest corner of Robson Ranch Road and I-35W. The so-called Heritage site has been identified by major retailers and food service/lodging hospitality operators as a desirable location. Town leaders are also encouraging the group that owns the property to consider other commercial uses, such as a corporate office campus and information technology infrastructure facilities that would add significantly to the taxable asset value of the development.
Commercial development at the Heritage location is included in the Land Use Plan portion of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan. Likewise, a wastewater line in the Crawford Road right of way is included in the Town Council-approved 2020 Wastewater Impact Fee Capital Improvement Plan. Fortunately, the Crawford Road wastewater line is also eligible for funding under the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, from which Argyle has been awarded approximately $1.085 million, a significant share of the cost of the project. Wastewater impact fees can also be used for up to 50% of the approximately $3.4 million estimated cost of the project. The Town Council will soon be considering the Crawford Road wastewater line project.
Argyle leaders will explore further steps in the year ahead to build the momentum of development on I-35W consistent with the established policies of the Strategic Plan and the 2018 Comprehensive Plan/Land Use Plan. Other locations in North Texas are in competition with Argyle for the most attractive uses. We must remain steadfast in our commitment to realize excellent development outcomes for Argyle citizens that will sustain the long-term financial health of the Town and our immediate region, including the Argyle Independent School District.
Argyle Seniors Update
Submitted by Stella McDaniel
Wow what a fun time the Argyle Seniors had at their delicious Christmas luncheon at Hillside Fine Grill. Then back to the center for dessert and coffee to exchange their gifts. Our thanks to everyone who attended and also to those who served and cleaned up.
The next luncheon will be Friday, Jan. 7 and our theme is the 50’s. Ladies come in your poodle skirts, and men in your blue jeans with the hem turned up. We’ll have Elvis playing and singing and it’s going to be lots of fun. Everyone is asked to bring a side dish to feed several people.
Please RSVP by texting or leave a message on how many are coming and if you know what you will be bringing to Stella at 940-391-6686. If no food is brought then you will be asked to pay $10 at the door. We will be playing Bingo after lunch.
We are still looking for someone to clean up after our lunch and help to put out the food etc. The pay is $50. If you know someone that would be interested please have them contact Stella at the same number.
Thanks and Happy New Year!