Engage D2: August 1, 2015

What is black and white, weighs 10.6 lbs., and is amended all over?  It's our municipal code (see image above). I keep a copy on my desk.

What is black and white, weighs 10.6 lbs., and is amended all over? It’s our municipal code (see image above). I keep a copy on my desk.

The Week Ahead for District 2

MONDAY: Committee on the Environment

I am very thankful and energized to have a seat on this committee.  This will be the first meeting of this committee since you elected me to council in May.  I serve here with fellow Council Member Joey Hawkins and Mayor Pro Tem Dalton Gregory.  We are meeting at 1:30PM in the Council Work Room.  CLICK HERE FOR THE AGENDA

TUESDAY: Council Work Session (1:00PM) & Regular Meeting (~6:30PM)
The Mayor will be away on Tuesday so you will see Mayor Pro Tem Dalton Gregory presiding over both sessions.  With only six votes present on Tuesday night it could get interesting.  CLICK HERE FOR THE AGENDA Of note:

  • Policy Change on Consent Agenda Items: Citizens may now contact our City Secretary Jennifer Walters in advance of our Tuesday council meetings and request that specific consent agenda items be brought forward for independent consideration and public discussion during a regular council meeting.
  • Public Utility Big Money: Please make note of the public utility expenditures/finances on this agenda found within the consent items.
  • Boards and Commissions: Discussion and voting to approve board and commission appointees.
  • Gas Well Ordinance Vote: We are voting to amend Denton’s gas well drilling ordinance.  Council has worked to revise the recommendations from Planning and Zoning.  As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter and indicated during last weeks special Council meeting, my primary concern is distance. What we have on the table right now for consideration is an ordinance with setbacks of 1,000′ from protected uses.  Would I prefer a greater setback from protected uses?  Absolutely and without a doubt I would.  I don’t think I am going to be able to negotiate anything greater at this time though.  Where I do think we need to focus our attention is on the reverse setbacks for new protected uses from existing gas well sites and the role that our Zoning Board of Adjustment plays.  Right now what we have on the table for reverse setbacks from protected uses is 250′ which is way too weak.  This is not even enough room for our first responders to safely operate when there is a blowout or explosion.  So how could it be an acceptable distance to allow new protected uses?  It can’t.   In addition, the 1,000′ setbacks can be appealed and revised down by the Zoning Board of Adjustment to as little as 500′.  I would like to see appeals revised and voted on by current and future Council’s on a case by case basis.  That is the only way to give our ordinance teeth.  On Tuesday I will be working hard on these two issues.  My heart goes out to property owners who are impacted by setbacks and reverse setbacks and I am hopeful that there are ideas bubbling up to minimize their burden.  But the health and safety of our citizens comes first and that is what setbacks are about.  We know firsthand here in Denton that gas well sites explode and gas well sites have blowouts (see below the informal staff report from two recent incidents).  It’s not a matter of if, but when the next one happens.  God help us all if a citizen or family sleeping in their home are injured or killed because of inadequate setbacks.  

THURSDAY: Council Work Session to Discuss the Financial Year 2015/2016 Budget
We are back at it Thursday at 8:30AM for a Council Work Session to hear a report from staff; hold a discussion, and give staff direction regarding the FY 2015-16 City Manager’s Proposed Budget, Capital Improvement Program, and Five-Year Financial Forecast.  The public is welcome.  You can also watch it live online.  I will keep you posted on this topic.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas.  I am here for you District 2.  

Your humble representative,

Keely G. Briggs

Council Member – District 2
215 E. McKinney Street
Denton, TX 76201
Phone: (940) 453-8377
Email:  keely.briggs@cityofdenton.com
Email:  briggsfordenton@gmail.com
Web:  briggsfordenton.org