North Texas Daily

Residents show mixed reactions to city growth

Residents show mixed reactions to city growth

January 27
00:06 2010

By Morgan Walker / Senior Staff Writer –

The Denton City Council held the second of two public hearings Jan. 19 regarding its plans to annex about 9,000 acres.

The hearing opened with Mark Cunningham, city planning and development director, who provided background information on the plan.

If approved, the annexation would increase Denton’s size by about 16 percent.

“I think it is a sound financial move by the city of Denton,” said Abraham Benavides, Denton resident and associate professor of the department of public administration. “A way to increase the revenue that comes into the city is by expanding its tax base, which means there’s going to be more people within the city limits.”

Cunningham said the annexation will cost more than $2 million.

Residents’ concerns
Several residents said they were upset with the first hearing about the annexation ordinances, claiming their requests were not heard.

Kent Wolf, a Denton County resident, said his request was simple and basic — “to do what is right and look beyond what is legal.”

Wolf’s first concern was that there was no clear communication regarding the annexation ordinances.

“You sent out notices the day before a major holiday, so as no one on the city staff was available to answer questions or concerns,” Wolf said. “No one was able to organize any opposition.”

The Denton Plan
Increasing the city’s size began as part of the Denton Plan, which was adopted in 1999. The plan was made in anticipation of city growth.

Wolf also addressed the Denton Plan, which was set to last until 2020, and questioned the council on why the city is following an “outdated plan.”

“We are in the middle of a recession, yet the city is wanting to extend control beyond what it can currently manage,” Wolf said.

The city’s land area was 39,695 acres at the time the plan was created.

The plan catered to a growth of 25,100 acres to accommodate single-family, multi-family, industrial, commercial and institutional developments.

The current land area within the city is about 57,200 acres, which is 7, 538 acres less than that which is anticipated by the Denton Plan.

The city council set annexation goals to include the protection of North Interstate Highway 35E and future West Loop 288 corridors, manage growth in the city’s utility service areas, manage land uses, provide future growth areas as recommended in the Denton Plan and create a logical city boundary or “make the city complete,” Cunningham said.

Another thing the city has to consider is the amount of land covered by two major universities, Texas Woman’s University and UNT, which are not taxed, Benavides said.

After looking over the goals and factors to be considered for annexation, Cunningham said 48,000 acres were studied and 18 areas were identified for potential annexation.

Four of the potential annexation areas are in the northwestern quadrant of the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, and the other 14 areas are unincorporated pockets that are within the current city limits.

The public hearing only focused on 15 areas, which are exempt from being placed in a three-year annexation.

Police and fire protection, emergency medical services, and solid waste collection must be provided immediately on the date of annexation for all areas.

Other services that must be provided are operation and maintenance of roads, streets, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, and any other publicly owned facility, building or service.

Once Cunningham finished his presentation, the audience was then able to ask questions regarding the annexation.

There will be two readings of the annexation ordinances, the last of which will be held May 4, when the adoption of the ordinances will take place.

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