Saturday, September 30, 2023

LETTER: Copper Canyon citizens deserve truth and civil discourse

Fellow Citizens of Copper Canyon,

One of the most important educational, political, and social issues we all face today is how best to have a civil conversation. It is essential in a democratic society for citizens to gather, listen to each other, debate, make up their minds, and determine a mutual course of action. Most important, it starts and ends with the TRUTH.

Unfortunately, we have a handful of citizens that have been manipulating facts to create confusion, division, and community havoc, as well as advance their personal political standing.

Copper Canyon is a small community of about 1,400 residents. We don’t need or want big city political spin and mud-slinging. We also don’t need nefarious and anonymous bulk mailers from Reno, Nevada, with the intent of confusing and dividing our community.

The first example was mailed last November before a vote on the Williams Ranch development in Town Center. The intent was clearly to mislead our neighbors to think that Town Council was trying to change all R2 (2 acre) zoning to 1/3 acre so that they would show up in protest for political motives. The fact is that the Town Center area was already zoned 1/3 acre back in 2004-2005, and they were only correcting a mistake made on an adjacent 10-acre lot for the original landowner.

It is also fact that the Town Council was successful in negotiating with the Developer to increase lot sizes to ½ and ¾ acre lots, far better for Copper Canyon than the original zoning stipulated. And all residential, not another Whataburger. Congratulations, well done!

After this particular Council meeting, I did approach a Councilmember that said he knew who sent this mailer, but refused to give me a name. Councilmembers need to protect the community from unrest and promote harmony, fairness, and the truth. To conceal nefarious behavior disqualifies any Councilmember from serving our Town… we need unifiers!

The second example was mailed last week to stir up confusion before the upcoming elections. It includes five statements that are either false, lack substance, and/or misrepresentations. Who are these individuals, and why do they want to divide our community with misleading information?

Let’s review, one at a time in order.

Eliminated Town ethics: Prior to the current Town Council, three Councilmembers collaborated on a poorly written and flawed Ethics Ordinance. It was very onerous and restrictive, yet they pushed it through with numbers. Since, Councilmembers with related professional experience, as well as the Town Attorney, grew extremely concerned with its potential application.

Let’s dig into some substance… one item in the Ordinance prevented anyone working or volunteering for the Town to conduct business in Copper Canyon. So, if for example a Councilmember boarded horses, they could not buy hay from their neighbor. Or a Town employee could not conduct a Mary Kay party or repair cars at their home. Stinks of big government regulation!

Another fact… there are already ethics guardrails in place for all Councilmembers through the Texas Municipal League. There is State law already on the books! We don’t need onerous redundancies in our small local government. Furthermore, there is no evidence of any ethics issues with any Councilmember, only phony stories to advance political aspirations.

Yes, after the recent election, the new Council rightly killed this mess!

Supported small lot housing: This is simply false! As mentioned in the previous example, the current Council has done a great job moving us in the other direction.

The facts… about 71% of Copper Canyon is Zoned R2 & R5, and another 20% is R1. The only outliers are the Vickery and Town Center/Williams Ranch developments along FM 407 that were zoned 1/3 acre back in 2004-2005. Our existing zoning is solid and promotes a rural environment. Congratulations!

$149k flood study, no action: Correct on the $149k, which was a very comprehensive study, but misleading on the “no action”. If you take the time to read the study you will note that the solutions range from $1.3M to $13M. Our entire Town operating budget is only around $1.2M. Will our residents be ok with doubling or tripling their taxes to pay for something that impacts a small part of our Town?

Another fact…Council has been actively engaged with the impacted residents, making smaller and targeted improvements with Town funds, as well as working on a fiscally responsible path forward.

2 years of no Town proposals: Again, simply not true, and as my kids would say…” liar, liar, pants on fire.” Anyone who takes the time to read Town Council meeting minutes will note a long list of accomplishments.

Some facts… Council recently reduced our taxes from .297 to .227, thank you! Note our neighbors in Highland Village and Argyle are taxed .563 and .370 respectively. Leveraged $ millions in Denton County funding to repair Chinn Chapel. Refinanced 2010 Bonds, from 4.5% to 1.78%. Implemented a new Master Plan process… and many of our citizens engaged in the community workshops. Hired a new OSSF inspector. Reduced our Legal and Engineering budgets, as well as secured a COVID 19 “Cares” Grant. Do I need to list more?

Supporting Special Interests: This one really boggles me! Think the malcontent cut and pasted this from a local Congressional race? Our Councilmembers are volunteers, with no financial leverage. So, what Special Interests lurk in Copper Canyon, evidence please?

No civic involvements: Interesting, guess they were too busy slinging mud to attend any of the recent Town civic activities… Santa Holiday Party, 4th July Event, Town Recycle Day, Equestrian Committee trail clean up. Nor are they likely a member of our Neighborhood Watch Committee? Just silly nonsense!

Sorry for the length, but our citizens deserve to hear some details. Many of us that are engaged and volunteer to support our community are fed up with this recent behavior. We moved to Copper Canyon to get away from the surrounding congestion and enjoy a more relaxed environment, and we will not sit idly by while a small group tries to tear us apart. There are ample opportunities for anyone to debate these issues openly in public with the TRUTH, versus hiding like a coward behind a mailing house in Reno, Nevada. Shame!

Jeff & Sonya Dahl
Copper Canyon, TX

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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