This evening I want to talk about development. Residents who I have talked with express confusion about Flower Mound’s development – why, since we have a relatively affluent population of over 60 thousand, doesn’t Flower Mound have more quality retail, dining and recreation options? I have heard Councilman Hayden express similar questions in the past. The answer is twofold.
One, Flower Mound sits in the middle of what urban planners and developers call a donut hole. Simply put the surrounding communities offer enough options that are close enough to attract Flower Mound residents.
Two, based on discussions with many real estate professionals, there is a perception that Flower Mound is difficult to work with. It is not our high standards for development outlined in the Master Plan and SMARTGrowth. After all Southlake and other communities have high standards and still attract quality development that is in keeping with residents’ desires for a hometown atmosphere.
This perception of being difficult to work with encourages successful developers and businesses to locate in surrounding communities and reinforces the donut hole.
The many residents I have talked with understand this is negatively impacting Flower Mound because:
1. We are forced to spend precious time driving to surrounding communities for our nneds
2. Seniors are forced to leave Flower Mound to downsize their homes depriving residents of the opportunity to have all generations of their family nearby
3. Money spent in surrounding communities represents tax dollars that Flower Mound cannot use to support our community
Two weeks ago, as I heard the Council and Mayor express their willingness to grow Flower Mound with quality development---I was encouraged. But saying it doesn’t make it so. Actions speak louder than words.
Turning away an investor with an opportunity to for a mixed use development that combined retail space with quality loft style apartments (not high density apartments) and an offer to contribute millions of dollars toward a permanent senior center sends the wrong message to residents and business people.
Also, recently, Flower Mound paid a consultant thousands of dollars to review mixed use development. This highly qualified consultant cautioned council not to put out a closed for business sign. Immediately after, council instructed staff to prepare changes to the mixed use ordinance so it would limit mixed use to Riverwalk and SPA 8 and eliminate Lakeside. That sounds like a definite step toward putting up a closed for business sign.
Again, actions speak louder than words. Flower Mound must work to establish the perception that we are open for business and as a newly elected council person I will work toward that goal.