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Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Newspaper Article

Flower Mound Works to Save Space

Flower Mound – A town committee will begin meeting this spring to try to preserve much of the community's undeveloped areas and manage growth.

The seven-member Open Space Board will be responsible for overseeing the open space plan. In the plan, developers can opt to use smaller lots but still build the same number of houses or other structures. The land saved would be set aside for parks and nature areas.

“This is my passion,” board member Marilyn Jenkins said. “I feel so strongly about the beauty of Flower Mound. I want to tell my grandkids about the 200-year-old trees.

The open space plan is part of the Flower Mound master plan, which guides development. The town’s population more than tripled from 1990 to 2000 to 50,702 residents from 15,527. That makes it the nation’s 10th fastest-growing community, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Under pressure from many residents, Flower Mound has been a leader in growth management in greater Northeast Tarrant County. Besides the open space plan, the effort has also included tree preservation programs and 13-month moratorium on new housing projects that ended in February 2000.

“There’s not a lot of other examples in Texas. We’re pretty much on the forefront,” Councilwoman Stephani Spruill said.

Critics of Flower Mound’s environmental stand say the town limits economic development. But supporters say the effort has preserved the town’s beauty.

"Flower Mound has gotten progressively more restrictive in the last few years, but the regulated environment creates a more thoughtful planning process, and the results are higher standards,” said Ed Toole, executive vice president of Grand homes, which is building houses at Morriss Road and Farm Road 407.

To illustrate the effect of the open space plan, town officials point to the Chimney Rock development on Farm road 1171. The development was stated to have an estimated 48 2-acre lots. But the developer, Willard Baker, chose to participate in the town’s conservation development program, which is part of the open space plan.

Now, Baker will build 48 1-acre lots and keep the remaining land open.

The town offers incentives for developers to participate in the plan, including faster review of proposed projects, no permit fees, reduced costs for streets and tax breaks.

Officials said the Open Space Board will also be responsible for creating a public education program that would include symposiums to educate residents and landowners about land preservation options.

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