Christ cross

Around Argyle – June 2022 – Cross Timbers Gazette | Denton County South | mound of flowers

As I write this column, Barbara and I are in Scotland. In a few days we will visit Inveraray Castle, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll and Clan Campbell. Former mayor Yvonne Jenkins visited the current Duke’s father three decades ago and adopted the distinctive ‘A’ in the late Duke’s signature as Argyle’s logo. At the end of the 19e century, one account tells that a railway surveyor working on the Texas and Pacific Railroad named the hilly area surrounding the station for its resemblance to the district of Argyll in Scotland. We look forward to seeing the Duke and Duchess, who will be presented with a pair of personalized rodeo spurs bearing the Duke’s current signature and Argyle logo, as well as a ceremonial bottle of 407 barbecue sauce.

Growth and Argyle

Let’s all take a moment to be grateful to live in Texas. The rest of the country has noticed the benefits of living in the Lone Star State, and North Texas is home to the two fastest growing counties in the United States (Denton and Collin). In-migration to our region presents many challenges, but we enjoy a very high quality of life that is the envy of most countries in the world. People will keep coming.

The inevitable local issues for our area that come with Denton County rapidly approaching and soon to exceed a population of one million will require wisdom and flexibility if we are to retain the small town charm we all cherish. .

In recent municipal elections, the group that has controlled the city since 2017 once again secured enough voters to retain its majority. I commend them for an effective campaign that included negative social media posts by elected officials and their unidentified spouses and, in a new twist, a fake Facebook account. Now that they have reasserted their control of the city, however, this group will be responsible for what comes next.

Development proposals will necessarily increase in the future with the value of property suitable for commercial uses, most on I-35W. Unfortunately, we have a blueprint and a future land use plan that send confusing messages to developers.

For example, the form-based code, which was reaffirmed by most of the current serving council members during their review of the overall plan in 2018, is designed to guide urban development and was never a framework for appropriate development for Argyle. My proposal to replace the form-based code with a city-initiated master planning process at key business sites has not been adopted by council, so it’s hard to see where the governing body will go with a review of the overall plan and the future land use plan.

Argyle High School again won the UIL Class 4A State Academic Championship. Argyle won with 282 points and had the highest points total in the six UIL rankings. The title marked the school’s 9th state championship in the last 10 years.

Why is Forms Based Code (FBC) a problem? On the one hand, FBC sends the message that Argyle supports the density that most citizens oppose. For example, a developer has proposed a townhouse project south of Cook Street and north of FM 407 that matches the future land use plan and aligns with the FBC. City staff have communicated with the developer on the low likelihood that the city will approve, but we will go through the motions of a zoning proposal regardless because the project is a reasonable interpretation of our city’s development guidelines contained in the FBC.

A confusing development policy that does not give clear guidelines to landowners and developers is just one problem created by Argyle Council. Elected officials are not public service professionals. City officials should prioritize the hiring and retention of qualified and experienced staff to manage city affairs. Instead, we have a history of micromanaging and ultimately fleeing public service professionals who should be allowed to work without interference to deliver board-mandated results.

Over 20 of our senior staff have left town since 2017. We can and must do better.

Farewell to Troy Norton

For nearly 25 years, Troy Norton served the city, eventually becoming director of public works. Last month he retired. Troy was the city’s institutional memory. His many contributions will be missed.

Argyle Police Sponsor Child Safety Fair

On Saturday, June 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Argyle Police Department will host the second annual Child Safety Fair on the grounds of Liberty Christian School. Bring the kids and enjoy first responder vehicle displays, food to buy to benefit the Texas Police Chiefs Association, and giveaways including car seats and gun and medicine safes. Chief Jackson and other police department leaders will once again take care of the dunk stand. Hope to see you there!