Saturday, May 28, 2022

Around Argyle — February 2022

This column is devoted to the need for a proactive development philosophy for Argyle. Near-term progress toward a more sophisticated approach to dealing with development is urgently needed.

Argyle has many attractive characteristics that will ultimately make us successful in preserving a mostly small-town environment. We also have some challenges to maintaining the essential level of services that citizens demand. Our comprehensive plan remains a policy document that can see us through the big changes that dramatic population growth in our region is triggering. The comprehensive plan priority of developing the I-35W corridor is essential to the town and the Argyle Independent School District.

Since 2019, the town has edged toward a more proactive approach in realizing positive development outcomes. We have demanded a higher level of service and professionalism from our expert consultants, including engineering firms, financial consultants, and town attorneys. We also hired a town administrator whose deep background in managing development and infrastructure has been key to working through several projects that were unfinished when he arrived. But progress has been slow in achieving the goal of commercial development intensity that makes sense for the town and the school district on I-35W.

The new Argyle Municipal Development District (MDD) in its efforts to promote development of the town has helped to illuminate the problem. In its deliberations, the MDD has established that we have work to do as a town to make the best I-35W sites “shovel ready.” Until infrastructure plans have been confirmed for the sites the MDD will have great difficulty obtaining commitments from retailers and other users. Infrastructure plans will include an approach to developer agreements that make infrastructure improvement costs the responsibility of the developer, as was the case with the deal the town recently negotiated for the Argyle Landing subdivision on the east side of I-35W, south of FM 407 and west of Gateway Boulevard.

Making the sites shovel ready will not be possible until we can agree on what we want on I-35W. Without a coherent vision with public support laid out for potential developer partners, we will continue to disagree on our future and be handicapped in realizing development that makes sense for the town and generates the tax revenue to pay for essential needs, including police services, the improvement and maintenance of the town’s roads, and our schools.

Argyle should take responsibility for working out what we as a community want to see built on the land with the greatest commercial potential. Using our consultants, the largest tracts on the interstate should be master planned in a public process that yields a combination of attractive built environments, appropriate density, high taxable asset value and return on investment for the developers who build on the property.

We have many citizens who want to be part of this process, and who have asked why the town is not more creative and energetic in taking the lead in this activity that is so critical for our future. Once our vision for each site is complete, the MDD and the town should promote the results and recruit appropriate partners to acquire and develop the property.

Our town engineering consultant is already working on a project to add a master planning process to the comprehensive plan. Citizens have a right to expect the town’s leaders to follow through with a commitment to proactively create a tax base to support the town and the schools through an aggressive plan to foster commercial development on I-35W.

Argyle Seniors Update
Submitted by Stella McDaniel

Since we’ve had another surge of the virus we are putting our February luncheon off to a later date. We’ll let everyone know the date as soon as the board meets. Our theme will be the 50’s since we didn’t have a luncheon in January. Hope everyone is well and we look forward to seeing you at our next luncheon. If you have any questions please feel to contact one of the board members: Stella McDaniel, President, 940-391-6686; Karen Kiel, Vice President, 940-206-4563; Jody Bellinghausen, Secretary, 940-390-0765; or Gale Schautteet, Publicity, 817-905-7716. Have a great Valentine’s Day! Try to keep warm!

CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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