Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Chatting With Our County Commissioner(s)

Yes it’s true that we only have one county commissioner for Precinct 2, and his name is Kevin D. Burns of Decatur. Still, development on Lake Bridgeport impacts just about every municipality and all rural areas in Wise County and beyond, and water availability is fast becoming a big issue. Kevin is not up for reelection this year but several other precincts will have elections for county commissioners. Recently one of our residents called some would be and incumbent commissioners from different precincts for an informal poll. It shouldn’t surprise most of us that the proposed development on the Boy Scout land was news to some of them.

Sunday I called Kevin Burns to find out how the county commission works to approve or disapprove development permits etc. To make a long story short, there’s very little the county commissioners can do aside from making sure that the developer has secured the appropriate studies and samples etc. There will be a comprehensive drainage study, a water availability study, a road grade study and samples taken. In other words, the commissioners are bound by the existing Wise County Subdivision Rules, which according to Burns, are in some ways more stringent than those of the Tarrant Regional Water District. Burns stated that the county’s subdivision rules are “lacking” and would need to be updated and changed at some point, but that they cannot be used as a tool to halt a subdivision. The only way to halt a subdivision is to file a civil suit. Burns also said that most of the proposed subdivision falls within the 2,000 feet of the lake so the Tarrant Regional Water District will be the entity to issue sewer and/or septic permits etc. He believes that it’s doubtful that the Tarrant Regional Water District will require an environmental impact study because the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality limits the Tarrant Regional Water District.

Burns has met with Femrite and he said that the proposed development would be a gated community with a property owner’s association. The roads that Femrite plans to construct will all be private roads. The development will be able to access all oil right-of-way roads. In addition, Femrite has purchased numerous parcels of smaller plots of land in the Sandflat area. Femrite has also offered to donate money to improve the county roads and he is currently looking to purchase straight access from somewhere in the Blocker’s Camp area.

Burns will notify us when the development comes up on the commissioner’s agenda, but he said that although we are welcome to appear, the commission cannot consider any issue outside of the county’s subdivision rules. A copy of the Wise County Subdivision Development Rules can be obtained for $15.00 from the County Treasurer’s Office.

Burns is sympathetic to our concerns and he said that he doubts that most of us have any idea of the true impact this development will have on the Sandflat area. He mentioned the need to revive the Wise County Water Board. Burns has offered to meet with us at any time we decide. He can be contacted at the county barn 940-427-4881 from between 7:00 and 7:30 AM most weekdays. Burns checks his e-mail weekly but you can write to him at
Burnauto burnauto@communicomm.com

Kenneth Shepherd (Dem) of Boyd is running for commissioner for Precinct 3. His top priority is the protection of water for the people of Wise County. Mikel L. Richardson (R) is the incumbent for Precinct 3. Others running in the Republican Primary March 9th for Precinct 3 are Gary S. Grubbs and Bill Smith. The winner will face Democrat Kenny Shepherd and Independent Fred Ferrell in the November general election.

Kyle E. Stephens (R) incumbent), Robert Rankin (R), and Jimmy R. Mille (R) are running in the Republican Primary for commissioner for Precinct 1. Tim Fletcher (Dem) of Slidell is also running for Precinct 1 commissioner.

It goes without saying that NOW is the time to let our concerns be known. The more calls and letters flying – the more seriously we will be taken. We need to contact all those running for county commissioner in all precincts, all incumbent commissioners, and the TRWD.

Tarrant Regional Water District
800 E. Northside Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76102-1097

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