Fairview Town Council Focuses on Growth and Zoning Issues: Residents Urged to Oppose the US 380 Red Route Proposal
As is often the case with many North Texas city and town councils these days, the Fairview Town Council continues to wrestle with a myriad of issues all related one way or another to the extraordinary growth that is taking place across Collin County.
At its May 1st meeting, that lasted nearly three hours and kept the town council chambers packed with citizens intent on having their says on a variety of issues, the Fairview Town Council took on five separate public hearings having to do with the rezoning of several land parcels. A cadre of Fairview residents posed numerous questions to the council about rezoning policies and procedures, several spoke in defense of a property owners rights to use the land they own without unreasonable interference and several expressed their commitment to ‘keeping Fairview country’. Much to its credit, the members of the town council welcomed the resident’s input and participation throughout the lengthy and sometimes tedious proceedings. Several residents who spoke lauded the town council and its staff for their outreach and responsiveness to residents concerns. In other words, while somewhat tense, both the town council and its residents worked together amicably.
All of the zoning proposals were recommended for adoption by the town council’s staff and all were adopted as submitted. Interestingly, several of the proposals had to do with the construction of sports courts. Fairview, it seems, is the only Collin County community that requires prior approval for the construction of sports courts because, as Mayor Darion Culbertson explained, “there are just too many variations of sports courts to permit residents complete autonomy without policies to guide new construction”.
One zoning issue uncovered a heretofore-inadvertent gap in retail construction, leasing and occupancy. A request for two warrants to allow for the construction of 20,000 square feet of new retail space at Fairview Town Center adjoining the Whole Foods Market revealed that small business owners had been precluded from securing leases at the center because rental spaces were simply too large for most small businesses. The proposed new space will accommodate eight to ten small businesses including a boutique men’s clothing store and a massage spa that are about to lease the new space. A Fairview insurance agent, Paula Harrington, shared that she had just signed a five-year lease in Plano because suitable space at Fairview Town Center did not exist. “Perhaps, in five years I will be able to relocate to Fairview where I live”, she said.
Mayor Culbertson and James Chancellor, PE, Town Engineer briefed the council on the current status of the proposed US 380 TxDOT plan that is a long-range project designed to eliminate traffic congestion in northern McKinney by enhancing US 380 to become a limited access roadway or freeway. Several potential routes have been identified by TxDOT including one, labeled the Red Route that would intrude onto land owned by Fairview near the McKinney Regional Airport. Mayor Culbertson noted that he and several other north Texas mayors are discussing the project. Culbertson explained his opposition to the Red Route because it would have to be elevated since it crosses land that lies within the 100-year flood plain and would result in ambient traffic noise that would intrude into far north sections of Fairview. Chancellor explained that several public hearings have been conducted and citizens are urged to secure an official form with which to register their opposition to the Red Route. Information about the project including the response form are available online at www.Drive380.com. Comments must be postmarked not later than May 18.
Town Manager Julie Couch briefed the council on the status of the Citizens Advisory Group that is studying the future infrastructure needs of the town. The construction of a third fire station, she said, is considered the town’s most important priority. The group was organized following voter’s rejection of an ambitious bond proposal intended to finance new town facilities.
Council member Tom Hendricks briefed the council on the status of the McKinney Regional Airport’s Master Plan and explained that the newly hired Airport Director, Kenneth Carley, is reviewing the various proposals and may have some modifications to recommend. The plan consists of three phases proposed to take place over the next twenty years. Most noteworthy is the extension of the current runway by 1,500 feet to allow aircraft bearing heavy loads to safely take off during especially hot weather. The construction of a new parallel runway is discussed in phase three of the plan and would support the expansion of aircraft activity. Hendricks noted that this aspect of the plan is under review by Carley and he may not support the concept. Hendricks will keep the council apprised of developments as they occur.
In other business, Mayor Culbertson declared May as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness month in Fairview and presented a proclamation to a group of motorcycle safety advocates.
Two Lovejoy High School freshmen summarized their respective independent studies for the Council. PK Kotra reviewed his research project, “Applications of Nanotechnology, while Marcus Tsai explained how he approaches “Creative Writing”. Both students perceptibly impressed the Mayor, council and audience with their maturity and proficiency and received hearty congratulations and applause.
The next meeting of the Fairview Town Council is scheduled for June 5, 2018.