Engage D2: March 3, 2016
Register to Vote by Thursday, April 7th
The last day to register to vote in the upcoming May 2016 city council elections is Thursday April 7th. Visit http://www.votedenton.com/voter-registration/ to find out if you are already registered to vote. If you are not already registered, please go to the Denton County Elections Office at 701 Kimberly Dr., Denton, TX 76208 by Thursday and get registered. Every vote counts in local elections and local government decisions have a bigger impact on your daily life than state and federal election outcomes. Get registered, get informed, and go vote for the candidates that you think will do the best job representing you. It is as simple as that.
Proposed Tree Inventory and Tree Canopy Analysis
In this Tuesday’s work session council will discuss with staff a proposed tree inventory and updated tree canopy analysis. Trees are important to our ecosystem and indeed contribute positively to our quality of life here in Denton. The city and partners like Keep Denton Beautiful need to know the current state of our tree canopy (density, health, and value) in order to understand the effectiveness of the programs and policies we have in place which were designed to protect and reinforce our urban forest. I have been advocating for these studies since taking office and I am very happy to see Keep Denton Beautiful make the recommendation to council to undertake them. Our last analysis was conducted in 2010 and revealed that we had a tree canopy of 19% (American Forests identifies a tree canopy of 25% – 35% as optimal for a healthy and diverse urban ecosystem in southwestern and dry climates of the United States). CLICK HERE to learn more about this work session agenda item.
Student Pedestrian Safety at Ryan High School: Update on Progress
We have lived for years with a dangerous situation on McKinney Street for Ryan High School students who walk to and from school. While students will not have sidewalks or improved paths put in place until the widening project of McKinney is complete in roughly three years, we have made some progress. The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA), DISD, and City of Denton have worked together to launch a two month pilot program (April 4 – June 2) which would allow students to ride the DCTA Connect Route 3 bus to access Ryan High School through a voucher program administered by DISD and with passes paid for by the city. DISD has contacted the families of eligible students and hosted a meeting with those families and students on April 1st to review the program. While this is not the ultimate solution of sidewalks and enhanced pedestrian safety through this corridor, I am happy that progress is finally being made (after nearly 20 years!!!) and that the city, DISD, and DCTA are showing true partnership here to take care of a serious community issue. LET’S MAKE THIS WORK!
Fry Street Overlay District Public Hearing Tuesday Night
There is a potential development in the Fry Street area which is seeking a variance from standards of development for the Fry Street Overlay District. The big concerns with the development include but are not limited to the developer’s inability to adequately address parking needs of the development, potentially impacting the surrounding neighborhoods; the potential impact of the density on the surrounding street infrastructure; and the inconsistency of form and character with the surrounding area which is a primary goal of the Neighborhood/University Compatibility Designation and the Denton Plan 2030. Our Planning and Zoning Commission recommends denial (6-1 vote by P&Z). At this moment I am inclined to agree with our P&Z on this one. But there will be a public hearing on Tuesday night and we will have a chance to hear from citizens and the developer as well. CLICK HERE to learn more about this council meeting agenda item.
Buc-ee’s Seeks Permission to Put a Road Through a Designated Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) Public Hearing Tuesday Night
The Buc-ee’s development is requesting a variance which would allow for a road to encroach upon approximately 13,134 square feet of a designated environmentally sensitive area (ESA). If granted, this permission would compromise wetland and upland habitats. This issue was brought before our Planning & Zoning Commission where the vote was split 4-3 in favor of approval. I am inclined at this moment to stand with the votes cast by commissioners Briggle, Beck, and Taylor to deny this variance. But I look forward to discussion with fellow council members, staff, the public, and the developer on Tuesday night’s public hearing before council takes action to approve or deny this request. Hopefully we can work together to protect this ESA with an alternative plan. CLICK HERE to learn more about this council meeting agenda item.
Techmill Offers Free Courses at the Denton North Branch Library
The good people at Techmill continue to offer free courses at the North Branch Library here in Denton. I am very happy and grateful for Techmill’s generosity to provide this service to the community. I am likewise pleased that Library staff seized the opportunity to be a partner in this endeavor by providing the public space for these free courses. Techmill says it doesn’t matter if you are new or seasoned, you can learn something new and at your own pace. There are two classes covering two topics this weekend. Come out and learn to be a maker!
Saturday’s Course: Arduino Step by Step. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
Sunday’s Course: Developing iOS 9 Apps with Swift. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
That’s it for now. As always I am here for you. Please let me know if you have any ideas, comments, questions, or concerns with regard to your city or my service as your city council representative.
Keely G. Briggs