Sunday, March 07, 2004

My Letter to the Wise County Messenger Editor

Sunday’s article, “Developer Proceeds with luxury subdivision,” needs a “touch” of correction. It’s not hard to imagine why Dan Clifton displays a misleading arrogance when his words go completely unchallenged. Clifton stated “anyone else who hopes to buy ranch land is probably out of luck . . the council did not anticipate the current sale . . .the council never went out for bids . . .no one before Femrite had inquired about purchasing it.” Some truth – much baloney! I’ve talked to at least one Wise County resident who made inquiries into buying 118 acres a few years ago and the Longhorn Council told him, “We can’t sell this land, but we can lease it to you.”

I can’t imagine why The Longhorn council didn’t anticipate this sale because the BSA is selling off prime wilderness land all over the US. More importantly, why wouldn’t they have anticipated this proposed sale to John Femrite when Dan Clifton was instrumental in selling Granbury's Leonard camp to the same John Femrite in 2001? And “Yes” there is a Femrite development in Granbury with at least 57 landowners. Does the Messenger even think it might be newsworthy to go down to Granbury to interview a few residents of Femrite’s development there?

Clifton would have us believe that all Femrite has done on Scout land during “the study period . . . is build a road on the property line.” Well that “road” is pretty darn big, and the clearing that he’s made (removing hundred’s of trees) is large enough now for a small development! The photos I took almost two weeks ago have been circulating among nearby residents who get the Sandflat News at http://sandflat.blogspot.com/ and who subscribe to our discussion pages. Anyone who reads any active message board in Wise County could have gotten the photos. The Star Telegram saw my pictures, and then they sent out their own photographer. Should we expect less from our own Wise County Messenger?

Some residents near the proposed development have been accused of being “protectionists” or worse, accused of being “backward” or “against progress.” As residents living on Lake Bridgeport, we recognize that we cannot stop development on this lake, but we can take a proactive stance to insure that rampant uncontrolled development does not go unchallenged. We want to encourage our county commissioners to be proactive in creating Smart Growth initiatives that will help to preserve and protect our valuable resources such as water and open space lands, and most of all to discourage the uncontrolled sprawl of development into fragile areas like floodplains, wetlands, and important habitats. We would like to see our commissioners enforce Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances (APFOs), which require that infrastructure like roads and sewer lines be fully paid for before new development moves forward.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments publishes a free web page full of resources for our city councils and county commissioners called “The Center of Development Excellence for the future of North Central Texas” at http://www.developmentexcellence.com/links/misc.html

(Note to our readers: I'll post the link to today's Wise County Messenger article when the article is added to their archives.)

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