Flower Mound Leader > News
Council briefed on tree removal plan; ninth-grade center approved
Flower Mound Town Manager Jimmy Stathatos updated the town council Monday on Atmos Energy's plan to remove trees.
Atmos officials approached the council in December to inform the town of its plans to remove trees that are within 50 feet of its easements to have better access to its pipelines for monitoring and repair purposes.
The path starts near the Lakeside Business District in the southern end of town, and travels north through The Sanctuary, the Wellington subdivision and Tour 18 Golf Course. The Sanctuary is the first conservation neighborhood the town created and contains many old trees.
Stathatos said the town and Atmos have completed each of their portions of the tree survey, which covers about 12 miles throughout the town. Stathatos said Flower Mound identified 575 trees or large shrubs within the easement and that Atmos identified nearly twice that number, though Atmos' portion of the survey covered more land and thicker areas.
However, officials on both sides of the issue stress that not all of the identified trees will be removed and that it is too early to know how many will be. Stathatos said results from the tree survey are being imported into a GIS system, and there will be a technical review during the next two weeks before town and Atmos officials meet.
Stathatos said that there may some flexibility on the 50-foot rule.
"Atmos has indicated that they are willing to look at a 30-foot easement instead of a 50-foot easement and maybe constrict that in areas where it makes sense," Stathatos said.
Atmos spokeswoman Jennifer Ryan said that going down to 30 feet is a possibility.
"Atmos wants to find the best solution," Ryan said. "There might be areas where we clear trees 50 feet away from the easement and then other areas where we have wiggle room and can go between 30 feet to 40 feet."
Mayor Tom Hayden said he would be interested in an independent study on the safest ways to monitor pipelines.
Councilwoman Jean Levenick asked for an update on a pipeline in west Flower Mound off FM 1171 that the council learned in December was exposed.
Ryan said Wednesday that work to repair that pipeline is expected to begin by the end of the week.
Also Monday, the council unanimously approved a site plan for the Marcus High School ninth-grade campus, which will be constructed adjacent to the main campus near the football stadium.
Among the components of the project is the 109,046-square-foot campus that will give ninth-graders their own building.
The campus will include features aimed to provide students with a new way of learning, such as a serpentine hallway that creates a learning hub with various learning studios. Each studio would have classrooms, a collaboration area and administration offices. Architects for the project said it would allow small group instruction or individual learning.
Other components include a lecture hall, a media center and a cyber cafe.
The center will incorporate outdoor learning to its concept.
The project also includes a 66,206-square-foot basketball arena, located near the existing campusí athletic wing, and a 7,153-square-foot black box theater, to be located on the north side of the existing campus.
The softball field and discus and pole vault areas will be relocated to an area located just southwest of the school.
The site plan came before the council because Lewisville ISD was requesting an exception to the compatibility buffer requirement of constructing a 6-foot masonry wall along the west side of the school property. Instead, and in agreement with the neighborhood directly to the west of the campus, the district will construct an 8-foot board-on-board fence.
Michael Perry, LISDís executive director of new construction, said the ninth-grade center should be complete by the fall of 2014. He said the LISD Board of Trustees will likely vote on a contractor in April.
The council also approved a development plan for the first two phases of Canyon Falls, a mixed-use project in west Flower Mound.
The development plan includes 423 buildable single-family lots, of which 350 of them will have a minimum lot size of 5,000 square feet. The remaining 73 lots will have a minimum size of 10,000 square feet.
Developers will next seek approval for a record plat before constructing the homes.
Construction on the main road to connect FM 1171 and U.S. 377, which will be key in residential development, is expected to begin at the end of February.
Canyon Falls will include a mix of residential uses, plus commercial options. There will be two schools, both in the Argyle ISD, a fire station, an amenity center and a Denton County government office.