Monday, November 24, 2008

Follow up on last week's O&G Board of Appeals meeting

Just a couple additional details related to the denial of the variance request for a compression facility near the Rockpointe Church....

--The vote was a 3 to 3 tie, with the Board's chairperson breaking the tie by voting against approving the variance.

--Concerns were raised about the proximity of the proposed site to the church, as well as to the unknown dangers of the chemicals used in drilling.

--Turnout was very light.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Variance Denied!

At Wednesday night's O&G Board of Appeals Meeting, the requested variance for a compression facility near the Rockpointe Church was denied.

More info to come......

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Variance requested for compression facility near church on Cross Timbers

In tomorrow night's O&G Board of Appeals meeting (6:30pm at Town Hall) a variance request will be voted on for a compressor facility to be located within 1,000 feet of The Rockpointe Church on Cross Timbers. Here is the link to the agenda:

According to the Town's case manager for the request, this location already has two wells--Bunn #1 and #2, which were drilled several years ago, but subsequently capped. The case manager stated that the wells were being "reopened" and that the developers were now wanting to place a compression facility nearby.

He also stated that Rockpointe has sent a letter to the Board stating their support for the project. (The proposed compression facility is 858 feet from the church.) He said that the nearest homes were on Quail Run Road, but that they were more than 1,000 feet away.

Here's my thoughts. These wells were approved approximately four years ago--well before most of us were even aware of "urban gas drilling" or the Barnett Shale. That's a fact. However, now that we know about the dangers of urban gas drilling, do we really want a compressor facility this close to the residential areas of the Town? Is it safe?

Regarding the safety aspect....did you read about Sunday morning's compression facility explosion in Johnson County? (It was two miles west of Cleburne.) Here's the link:

The headline is "Flames Seen for Miles after Natural Gas Compressor Fire."

Is that a possibility that we want for Flower Mound?

Please attend the O&G Board of Appeals Meeting tomorrow night at 6:30pm and let your voice be heard.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Flower Mound Home Owners Association Coalition (FMHOA Coalition)

Kudos to the folks that are working to revitalize the coalition of Flower Mound HOA's.

This is an effort that will positively impact all of us--whether our primary interest is urban gas drilling, land development, trees, or whatever. This is a group that will work to make a positive impact for what Flower Mound residents truly want.

Try to attend the first meeting this evening from 6 to 7pm at the Wellington Amenities Center.

Learn more about it at:

The new coalition's mission is to:

Create a network for Flower Mound homeowners residents’ boards to work together in addressing community challenges by establishing “Best Practices” and by leveraging our size to allow better negotiating power for goods and services as well as have more visibility with the town.

Again...tonight's meeting is at 6:00pm at the Wellington Amenities Center.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Onerous" and proud of it

Today's DMN has an article discussing the reasons that production companies have put a stop to the $25K leasing bonuses. It goes on to state that furthermore, many have stopped leasing altogether and are moving their rigs to the Haynesville Shale near Shreveport.

One section of the article, in particular caught my eye: [the highlights are mine]

On top of the global economic troubles, Chesapeake faces neighborhood protests and new restrictions on urban drilling. The company chose to retreat to the areas that have already welcomed its rigs.

"When you have so much opportunity and so much clamoring, it doesn't make sense to work in areas that are onerous to do business in," Ms. Wilson said. [Ms. Wilson is Chesapeake's VP of Corporate Development.]

It's good to know that they've heard us. It doesn't mean the battle is over, but I think we should take some comfort in knowing that fighting urban drilling at the local level has had some very positive results.

So, just call me "onerous" (and proud of it)!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cherokee Horn's latest attempt to snooker Northshore residents

Cherokee Horn's latest mailing touts their association with "Titan Operating, LLC". The mailing explains that Titan will be the operator and will be responsible for "permitting, drilling, and management of the well sites." It continues that "Cherokee Horn will continue to manage all leasing efforts."


In the last paragraph it says that they have enough acreage to start their next begin drilling. They add that they need to hear from you asap as they're "finalizing our preliminary pooling unit."

So what?

They want you to think that a) Texas has forced pooling and if you don't sign you'll just be left out. (It doesn't work this way.) b) that they've now got enough acreage leased and that it's just a matter of paperwork to get the application finalized and to get started drilling.

It's not that simple. Here's why.

While an approval for a drilling application may be a slam dunk at the Texas Railroad Commission, it's not with the Town of Flower Mound. The proposed drilling at Northshore cannot take place without approvals for multiple variances to the Town's O&G ordinance.

That is not going to happen any time soon--if ever. Ask Red Oak about their attempts to obtain variances to drill at the Riverwalk site--they've been denied twice and have now filed suit against the Town.

Northshore will be many, many times harder to obtain variances than Riverwalk. Northshore has literally hundreds of residents within 1,000 feet of the proposed drill sites. (There are two proposed sites--north and south ends of the property.) Riverwalk's most recent proposal (which was denied in June 2008) didn't have any residences within 1,000 feet of the proposed drill site.

The O&G Board of Appeals has been very outspoken in their opposition to locating drilling closer to residences than the 1,000 feet mandated in the O&G ordinance.

We are grateful for their steadfastness. They are protecting the citizens of the Town and in particular, those residents who live close to the proposed drill sites.

And while Cherokee Horn can argue that "you're gonna miss out if you don't sign now--drilling's just around the corner"; that statement is absolutely false and is nothing more than an attempt to scare people into signing a lease because "it's gonna happen anyway."

Well it's not. Drilling is not inevitable.

And that is why we fight it and that is why we will continue to do so.

Friday, October 17, 2008

An Evening with the Oil & Gas Accountability Project

An Evening with the
Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP)

Environmental, Public Health and Community Issues
Associated with Gas Development

Monday, October 20, 2008
7:00 p.m.

University Christian Church
2720 South University Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76109

Forum Speakers:

Gwen Lachelt, Director, OGAP
Oil & Gas Development in the U.S. : Community Issues and Organizing for Reform, Co-founder of OGAP, Gwen Lachelt’s mission is to protect homeowners and the environment from the impacts of oil and gas development. She has dedicated her career to reforming oil and gas policies and practices and has led precedent-setting campaigns to protect landowner rights, public health and the environment from oil and gas development throughout the U.S.

Jennifer Goldman, Public Health & Toxics Campaign Director, OGAP
Public Health Issues Associated with Oil and Gas Development
Jennifer Goldman works with communities across the U. S. and Canada on oil and gas reform efforts that address the environmental, social and public health impacts of dirty energy.

Wilma Subra, Subra Company
Oil and Gas Field Chemicals and Monitoring
Founder of the Subra Company and recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship “Genius” Award, Wilma Subra provides technical research and evaluation assistance to communities
in paving the way for policy changes impacting environmental
and human health issues at the state and federal level.


Presented by
The Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods
and The League of Women Voters of Tarrant County

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wednesday night's O&G Board of Appeals meeting

Tomorrow night (Wednesday, the 15th, 6:30pm at Town Hall) the O&G Board of Appeals will consider variances to the setback requirements for two proposed gas wells in the far western portion of Flower Mound. The property is a 371 acre tract, which is located north of 1171, west of Red Rock Lane, south of Freeman Road, and east of Tour 18.

According to the Town's assigned case manager, there are several variances that are being requested including variances to environmentally sensitive areas, upland habitats, and property lines.

In addition, there is one residence that is located less than 1,000 feet from the proposed drill site. The case manager stated that the residence is approximately 950 feet from the site and that the homeowner has written a letter and has also called the Town indicating his support for the well.

Public comments will be taken at the beginning of the meeting (these should be general in nature.) Then, if you wish to speak specifically about these variance requests, you can do that later in the meeting.

Personally, I believe that this application is one which doesn't meet the "highly residential area" criteria, and as such should probably be permitted.

Your thoughts?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Good News Bad News

While our 401(k)'s are in a world of hurt, so are the gas developers.

Chesapeake's stock has fallen to below $20 from its high in July of almost $70. Furthermore, Chesapeake has announced that they're cutting back production:

And to add insult to injury, last week the Ft. Worth City Council voted (for the FIRST time!) to reject Chesapeake's request for a high-impact drilling permit, which would have placed a well within 225 feet of residences:

Finally, today Chesapeake announced that its "Shale TV" production has been halted. (Remember the publicity when Tracy Rowlett was hired???)

Stay vigilant.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Health Effects of O&G Development

A September 15, 2008 white paper published by medical doctors from the Colorado School of Public Health is a must-read.

(Thanks to our friends at the "Bridlewood Quality of Life Coalition" for the link.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Texas State Candidates Debate (9/25/08)

The News Connection is sponsoring a 90 minute candidates debate on Thursday at 7:00pm at the Flower Mound Town Hall.

Participants include:
Incumbent: Senator Chris Harris-Challenger: Melvin Willms
Incumbent: Rep. Tan Parker - Challenger: Jesus Carillo
Incumbent: Rep. Myra Crownover - Challenger: John McClelland

Bob Weir will be the moderator. The first half of the debate will have questions from Mr. Weir and the second half will have questions from the audience.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tonight's meeting of the O&G Board of Appeals

Tonight's meeting (Wednesday, September 17th) of the Flower Mound O&G Board of Appeals will consider a variance request from Centurion American Development to decrease new construction setback requirements for proposed and/or new construction to existing wells and surface equipment.

The property involved is generally located west of Tour 18, north of FM 1171, and east of Pocohantas Trail.

The meeting is at Flower Mound Town Hall (2121 Cross Timbers Road) and public comments will be allowed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Canary in the Coal Mine Gas Field"

The Ft. Worth Weekly has an extensive, and well-researched article on Denton County gas drilling, "Canary in the Coal Mine Gas Field." See it here:

Note that the Cherokee Horn representative stated "There’s a lot of misinformation promoted about the hazards and dangers [of drilling],” she said. “In reality, everything is regulated by the Railroad Commission and the state and towns. The concerns are a little bit overblown.”

Two comments: First regarding the TRRC regulation. There are only enough inspectors to inspect a well about once every five years. Also, generally, the inspections are "pre-announced". Not terribly reassuring.

Second comment about the concerns being "a little bit overblown." There's so many ways to refute this comment, but I'll just say that I bet you're not personally faced with have a gas well drilled 500 feet from your house.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A "small inconvenience"

Tommy Lee Jones touts the benefits of the Barnett Shale and proclaims that even though it may come with just a bit of inconvenience it will be so much better for all of us.

Please take the time to watch this video. It tells the facts about pipelines and what eminent domain can and will do to MANY people as urban gas drilling becomes more and more commonplace.

I always try explain "our side" with the facts and with as little emotion as possible. (I believe that you always present a stronger case when you fight it with facts.)

So when you hear the argument that "it's all gonna be over in 30 days when they take down the drill rig", you should know that is an absolute falsehood. (And remember, that "30 days" is for EACH horizontal line that they drill. There could be a dozen per pad site.)

Please. Take the time to watch this video.

http://westandclear .com/2008/ 08/17/a-conversa tion-with- jerry-horton/

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's just plain STEALING !!

Many (if not most) of us have experienced the theft of our "Just Say NO to Urban Drilling" signs. And if you're like me and have replaced them--you've likely had then stolen again and again.

While some might attribute this to simply unrelated actions of a bunch of kids--I'm not so sure.

I think it's interesting that our adversaries in this fight would even consider stooping to such measures. Do they think that if they steal all the signs, it will suddenly be OK to bring gas drilling (heavy industry) into our beautiful neighborhoods? Doesn't this say that they're afraid of "free speech?"

I know that the "dark side" reads this blog. So here's my comment for them...Just keep stealing doesn't matter. We're not giving up and letting you destroy our neighborhoods so that you can make a few bucks.

To those of you who are part of this fight. I have purchased HUNDREDS of signs and "Just Say NO" bumper stickers.

Email me at or and we'll get you as many signs and bumper stickers as you need.

Remember, this is all about education and one of the best ways to educate your neighbors and friends is with a sign or a bumper sticker. Something that will make them ask, "what's all this urban drilling talk about?"

And one last thing, if someone takes your sign, it's just plain STEALING and there could (and should) be legal consequences.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Different Perspective

I saw a terrific response on another web site to a comment that there is already a gas pipeline in Flower Mound and that 24" high pressure, gas pipelines are simply part of the "modern conveniences we all enjoy, like water service, trash service and sewer lines" and that "we will regulate it responsibly and learn to live with it and benefit from it."


Perhaps a difference in perspective … the pipeline you speak of was there BEFORE the subdivision. It wasn’t added after the fact, after the folks who live near it bought their homes. One can argue that those folks were, or at least should have been, aware of the pipeline in their neighborhood. This isn’t much different than someone who chooses to buy a house next to a busy airport or freeway.

On the other hand, we are talking about the building of new gas wells in, or very near, residential neighborhoods. Most folks living here did not buy their homes with the notion of having a gas well “in their backyard.” Many will tell you that had that been a probability at the time they bought their homes, they might have opted to purchase their homes somewhere else … adding wells now changes the “rules” after the fact, much as adding an airport next door would change the rules.

Let’s take the discussion a step further … many / most of us have easements through our property now for utilities … gas, electric, cable, telephone, etc. We purchased our homes with the knowledge of these easements and their location a known quantity. With the gas wells come at a minimum the requirement to build a pipeline from the well site to one of the existing lines you speak of. The drilling companies have the right as a utility to seize property through eminent domain so they can build their pipelines to get the gas out. That means that ANYONE’s property that sits between a well and a transport line potentially could have a pipeline run across it, creating new easements, etc.

Again, the rules of the game are being changed after the fact, and that is what most folks are objecting to … how would you like it if they decided to run a line through your yard, cutting down your trees, etc.??? What would that do to the value of your house??? …

Oh, and by the way, one way for the drilling company to get the millions of gallons of water that they contaminate during the drilling process away from the well site is to build yet another pipeline.

Would I love to have the “free money” for the gas under my house? Sure, but not at the expense of my quality of life, and I don’t want it if it is at the expense of my neighbors in the town of Flower Mound , either. I am no hypocrite. I own my minerals …. Many folks here do not, so they won’t even stand to benefit. They could have wells and pipeline, but no cash. I guarantee you that no one thought about wells in their backyards when they signed on the dotted line.

So no, I do not want a well in my backyard. I do not want a pipeline run under my property. But I adamantly believe that NO ONE in a populated, non-rural area should be forced to have them either. We need the gas … OK. Find a way to get it that doesn’t put wells a few hundred feet from someone’s backdoor and doesn’t force someone to have a pipeline a few feet from their house.

Friday, August 1, 2008

DMN story about Flower Mound's fight against Urban Gas Drilling

Here's the link to the story in today's Dallas Morning News:

Also, here's a comment I received from someone who was forwarded the link to the video that went online yesterday:

"I sure know about this mess. I have several rigs drilling around me now here in east Fort Worth . The noise is ridiculous. We get paid for our mineral rights but no amount is worth the noise. We fought it from day 1 but our city council allows the gas drillers to do whatever they want. Really sucks."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

DMN Video of Cherokee Horn Picketing

Dallas Morning News came out and shot a video of the picketing last night.

Check it out at:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday night picketing

Thanks to everyone who came out late this afternoon to picket at Cherokee Horn. The turnout was terrific, despite the rain and the lightening.

Watch for the story in Sunday's metro section of the "Dallas Morning News."

Friday, July 25, 2008

"A Letter"

Today's Messenger reports that the Town Council received a "threatening" letter prior to Monday's meeting.

I know nothing about it other than that type of behavior is completely unacceptable. Nothing else needs to be said.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday morning musings....

Tonight's Town Council meeting (6:00pm Town Hall) should be "spirited", as always.

I'd expect plenty of comments about the response to the Red Oak lawsuit as well as the proposed Riverwalk development.

I had someone point out a very interesting letter that Mayor Smith wrote to a Bridlewood resident, which besides Bridlewood mentioned Hillard and Northshore.

See it here: and then scroll down to the posting: "Bridlewood resident's letter to Mayor Smith".

Very nice web site, by the way.

More on Town Council tomorrow.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Town to Defend Itself Against Red Oak Lawsuit

In tonight's Town Council meeting it was decided that the Town WILL be mounting a defense against the Red Oak lawsuit.

More tomorrow.......

"Protect Flower Mound"

Please sign the Protect Flower Mound petition at:

This petition will be placed in front of every Councilmember tonight as they meet in executive session to decide what their response to the Red Oak lawsuit will be.

Whether you are for or against gas drilling in Flower Mound, please consider signing it.

Do we want our Town ordinances dictated to us and interpreted for us by outside developers? Or by our own neighbors who serve voluntarily on the Town boards?

This is important.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

If you wish to communicate to Town Council regarding the Red Oak lawsuit

I was originally told that public comments would be allowed in Thursday night's (July 17th) Town Council workshop. That is not the case since it is not a regular meeting.

However, you still have the opportunity to communicate your concerns regarding the need for the Town to aggressively defend itself against the Red Oak lawsuit. (This issue is MUCH more than simply an O&G matter.)

Please see a discussion of the reasons that it is imperative that the Town defend itself on the previous blog entry.

If you wish to express your concerns to the Town Council prior to their workshop session this Thursday, please email each of the Town Council members as well as the Mayor. Be sure to include your name and address so that the Council can be confident that these communications are coming from actual Flower Mound residents, rather than people or organizations who do not live in our Town or even our state. Also, please copy Paula Paschal, Town secretary, at

And finally, would you mind copying me at I'll also print off copies of the emails and deliver them to Town Hall just to make sure that they get them.

Here are their email addresses:
Mayor Jody Smith:
Councilmember Joel Lindsey:
Councilmember Al Filidoro:
Councilmember Tim Trotter:
Councilmember Jean Levenick:
Councilmember Jeff Tasker:

Please mark your calendars for 6:00pm Monday, July 21st for the next regular Town Council meeting. As always, public comments will be allowed at that time.

One last thing...If you haven't signed the petition yet, would you please considering doing so?

Consider forwarding the link to your friends and neighbors here in Flower Mound who, like you, want to protect this great little spot we call home......

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Protect Flower Mound; Sign an On-line Petition


As you know, Red Oak filed suit against the Town and the O&G Board as a result of the Board's June 18th denial of all variances requested for the Riverwalk site.

There is a VERY strong concern that Town leadership may seek to settle this suit outside of court, rather than vigorously defending it. This would be against the best interests of Flower Mound residents. Why?

--It could immediately open up the center of Town to gas drilling
--It would communicate to aggressive developers/homeowners that all one has to do is threaten to sue and the Town will back down (this goes beyond gas drilling.
What's to keep for example, a used car lot, a liquor store, or an adult bookstore from insisting that they be allowed a location on every other corner?
--It would undermine the authority of ALL Town boards
--It would undermine the agreed-upon PROCESS for handling O&G variance requests. The Town Council put these in place--they need to uphold them.
--It would indicate a disregard for the will of the residents and the established processes for handling disputes arising out of board decisions.

Certain members of Town leadership may assert that a settlement is in the best interest of the Town as protracted litigation could be expensive. Litigation will be expensive and it may well be protracted, but the alternative could be much more expensive. Does the Town want to face a potential lawsuit every time a developer is denied a variance?

What can you do?

1) Sign the petition stating that the Town needs to protects its citizens by vigorously defending itself from the Red Oak suit. Furthermore, if Town leaders do not aggressively fight the suit, then we, the citizens, have no choice but to seek leaders who will stand up against Red Oak or any developer who doesn't agree with the decisions of our Town boards.

Sign the petition here:

Also, please forward this link to as many Flower Mound residents as possible. Write them a short note explaining why this is so important.

2) Attend the Planning and Zoning meeting on Monday, July 14th at 6:30pm. The Red Oak lawsuit will be discussed and public comments will be allowed.

3) Attend the Town Council work session on Thursday July 17th at 6:00pm. During the work session, the Council will discuss how they will respond to the Red Oak suit. There will be a public participation session in the beginning and public comments will be allowed.(In all instances, if you wish to speak, you should keep it factual and under three minutes.)

4) Write letters and send emails to the mayor and members of Town Council.

(Their contact information can be found here: If you send a letter or an email, please bring a hard copy to the meeting on the 17th and those will be presented to the Town secretary for inclusion in the meeting minutes. (If you cannot be at the meeting, give your letter or email to someone who will be there.)

5) Write letters to the editor of the local papers as well as the Dallas Morning News and the Ft. Worth Star Telegram.Your participation matters. Make your voice heard and let Town leaders know that they need to protect the citizens by fighting the Red Oak lawsuit.

The Town Council decisions made in the next few days will resonate for future generations of Flower Mound. If our Council will not look to the future, we must.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

KRLD Coverage of Flower Mound Gas Drilling Issues

KRLD (1080 AM) will be covering the Flower Mound drilling issues, including the Red Oak lawsuit, on Wednesday morning between 5:00am and 10:00am.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Red Oak Challenging the Riverwalk Variance Denials by the O&G Board of Appeals

In a June 27, 2008 filing in state district court, Red Oak Gas is appealing the O&G Board of Appeals' decision on June 18th to deny all of the variances for the proposed Riverwalk site.

Quoting from an article posted last night on the "The Flower Mound Leader", they are challenging the Board's decision saying that it was “without reference to applicable criteria and standards, is illegal in whole or in part, constitutes an abuse of discretion, was arbitrary and capricious, causes Red Oak Gas an unnecessary hardship, is otherwise wrongful, invalid and unenforceable and should be reversed.”

I believe that this is just the start. It is the start of us having our rights stripped away and is nothing more than big 'ole oil and gas forcing themselves into our neighborhoods.

The question is, what will our Town do to protect us? Will they aggressively defend the Board's decision? Remember, the Board's decision was based upon the Town's O&G Ordinance, which was put into place by the Town Council.

This is an opportunity for those in Town government to show that they're listening to us--the residents--rather than the big monied interests of developers and oil and gas.

I believe the Town has an obligation to fight this lawsuit with everything its got. Otherwise, why have Town ordinances? If the Town rolls over for this, then what? A gas well on every corner?

More to come......

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cherokee Horn's "Happy 4th" Advertisement

This morning we woke up to small flags in our yards with a note from Cherokee Horn attached stating that "NATURALLY gas is good for our environment, our economy, our country. We wish you and yours a Happy 4th of July."

Again we're told we're unpatriotic if we don't support their efforts to destroy our neighborhoods.

My suggestion...toss the Cherokee Horn propaganda and place the little flag into the corrugated area at the top of your "Just Say NO" sign. That's what we did. Plus we put up a big flag on our fence surrounded by "Just Say NO" signs.

July 4th celebrates the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence and I quote from the preamble..."We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I think that gas drilling 500 feet from my home impacts my Life, my Liberty, and my pursuit of Happiness.

Happy 4th of July.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Today's Postcard from Cherokee Horn...

Today I received yet another communication from Cherokee Horn. This one just about put me over the edge.

To quote our "good neighbors" at Cherokee Horn..."Texas has always been an oil and gas state. We produce more energy than any other state, but we also consume more. It only makes sense that we are prepared to meet future needs with natural gas from the Barnett Shale."

My first response is to refer them to Mr. Belcher's--oh so succinct--comments at the recent O&G Board of Appeals meeting. Here they are on youtube:

But instead, I'll be a bit more rational. Let's break this down:

Claim: Texas has always been an O&G state.

Fact: Texas has a "colorful" history of unmonitored and unsafe, oil and gas drilling--even in unpopulated areas. The Texas Railroad Commission has openly admitted oversight problems and that it has no guidelines for urban drilling, because it is so new and so little understood.

Oil and gas interests are major contributors to political campaigns which results in decisions that benefit the few and harm the many. Just because this unsafe and unfair scenario is the "norm" is no justification for it to continue--especially now that so many lives are directly impacted.

Claim: We produce more energy than any other state, but we also consume more.

Fact: Most people know that Texas is the second largest US State, with one of the highest populations. This is irrelevant for justifying drilling near my family's home.

Claim: It only makes sense that we are prepared to meet future needs with natural gas from the Barnett Shale.

Fact: Gas is already being extracted from the Barnett Shale in wide open spaces and in some neighborhoods where decisions are made by people with oil and gas conflicts of interest. Most people acknowledge there is a difference between drilling on large acreages and remote pastureland and a residential neighborhood.

Other recent communications by oil and gas representatives/supporters have inferred that they are willing to sue towns and neighborhoods who only want reasonable protections.

Insults and name-calling by speculative bullies and their supporters defines them, not us.

These are our homes and our neighborhoods. Until the attitude changes at the local and state level, the only protections for our neighborhoods is neighborhood unity. Special interests have the time and money to wait for us to wear down.

Or so they think.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Report on the June 18th O&G Board of Appeals Meeting

What a night!

The attendance was great (better than ever--the lobby was completely full and the spillover was located in two hallways) and Red Oak brought a passel of consultants and attorneys (probably twice as many as in April). The mood was definitely "anti-urban gas drilling" and the hired guns had to know that they were in for a real battle.

And they got it.

The fireworks started with the "Public Comment" portion. Three speakers came forward. The first proceeded with a rambling, almost incoherent, "explanation" of the history of Flower Mound, which was cut off at the three-minute time limit so I'm not sure about what happened after about 1990. I guess the purpose was to explain why in 2008 we "need" urban gas drilling, but alas, the 3 minute buzzer killed the punch line. Maybe next time.

The second speaker set the tone for the entire evening. I'll admit to a bit (well, a lot) of prejudice, but this guy was fabulous!! Larry Belcher (get the connection???) got up and provided a two minute and 45 second slam dunk regarding the developers tactics. Just to quote one of his more succinct points..."I am tired of hearing that I’m uninformed, unpatriotic and downright unintelligent because I fail to see the benefit of inviting rich developers—developers who do not live within miles and miles of any of the proposed gas wells—to frankly come take a dump in my front yard."


The third speaker challenged the ethics of the O&G Vice Chair for her behavior during the April meeting when she was witnessed by more than one person outside of the meeting (while the meeting continued inside Council chambers) discussing the Riverwalk variance request with a former Town Councilmember, the current mayor and another resident. Subsequently, during her remarks as part of the April deliberations, the Vice Chair presented a plan of action for the applicant to return with minor adjustments for consideration--which is exactly what the applicant requested last night. This speaker suggested that the Vice Chair recuse herself from last night's vote. She did not.

At this point, the Red Oak contingent began their presentation. Following are some of their comments:

--If the variances are denied, it will results in "loss of value" to the property owner
--A reminder that Red Oak's consultants had been part of the Flower Mound O&G Stakeholder's Group
--The entire 134 acres of Riverwalk is an "environmentally sensitive area"
--This new proposal (it was substantially different from their April proposal) did not require residential variances
--Trucks would be routed on state roads 407 and 2499. (The Red Oak presenter avoided an answer on who would repair the damage that the trucks would surely do to the roads, but stated that "I think the state will take care of the roads--they always have on other roads.")
--The new drill site was proposed for 695 feet from the "Applewood Day Care Center", but the presenter assured the audience that the owners had provided their consent for the drilling. (The presenter did not mention whether or not the parents had provided their consent.)
--The drill site would only be 300 feet from Morriss Road, but one of the attorneys stated that the road actually provided a "barrier."
--There was much discussion about floodplain variances and which floodplain designation was the right one. There are three competing floodplain designations.
--Their "prime consideration" was avoiding residential variances.
--They were proposing two wells, but there was the potential for 10-12 wells.
--Discussion which appeared to tie the viability of the Riverwalk development (including the proposed hospital) to the approval of the drilling variances. The O&G Board clarified that their purpose was only to rule on the requested variances and that any plans for future development were to be discounted.

At this point opposition comments were requested and a number of people came forward. Following is a sampling of comments that were made:

--An individual who had been in O&G all his life talked about the unacceptability of gas drilling in residential areas and in particular the fact that they were literally proposing to place a "bomb" under the proposed hospital.
--Others spoke about the unacceptability of the floodplain variances, the fact that gas drilling simply does not fit on the proposed Riverwalk site, that no one has the "right" to drill for gas on their property if it does not conform to the Town's O&G ordinance, the day care is too close to the proposed site, the Town O&G Board is a "stop gate" to protect the Town's residents, that Red Oak's proposal did not meet standards (as outlined in the Town's O&G ordinance) 4, 5, 6, and 9, nearby property values would be reduced 5-15% and if you want to be assured of accessing your mineral rights you should go out to the uninhabited areas.

There were two resident who spoke in support of the variances. The first said that the hospital was not afraid of the drill site and so neither should we. Furthermore, there was a lot of fear in the room, but that it was unfounded. The second said that it [Riverwalk] is just vacant land now and that the Barnett Shale is here to stay.

Then, a number of the people who were being paid to attend spoke in favor of the variances.

Next, the board proceeded to read approximately 20 emails that had allegedly been received in support of the variances. (I say "allegedly" as many of them did not have addresses, some were obviously from businesses and a number even identified themselves as being from outside of Flower Mound--one was even from out of state--Escondido, CA.)

The Board then went into "executive session" where they proceeded to debate, among themselves, the proposed variances.

Here are some of their comments:

Alisa Rich: Concern over the proposed transportation routes (407 and 2499); drilling is not necessarily in conflict with the Master Plan; she has a problem with the proposed pad being just 700 feet from a school; does not think that there is an imminent danger of explosion as there is new technology

Tina Miller: Not in favor; this whole process was put together eight years ago and the process works. She said that Flower Mound is well-served with the current ordinance and we should keep it and this isn't the right time to be doing this. The residents of Flower Mound have been accused of not being "developer friendly", but this isn't so. They love their town as is and there are just certain areas that should not be developed.

Gavin Poston: Objected to one of the Red Oak comments that those in attendance were simply "anti-drilling". He said until March 2008, no one came to these meetings. But once the variances started being requested inside of the residential areas, people started coming. He said that the people were not anti-drilling, but rather anti-"urban" drilling and that it's a lot different when variances are requested for the rural areas of Flower Mound.

--Mike Walker: Did not see enough potential danger to deny the variances, especially since there were no homes within 1,000 feet of the proposed drill site.

The Vote:

Fifteen variances were voted upon:

Tina Miller, Gavin Poston and Amy Wallace voted "nay"
on every proposed variance.

Mike Walker voted "aye" on every proposed variance.

Alisa Rich voted "aye" on ten of the fifteen variances.


After the meeting, one of the individuals who had spoken out for the variances became very upset and began shouting that the "lawsuits are gonna start". This individual then proceeded to "flip off" those of us standing around the foyer relishing the victory.

I thought that such behavior was something reserved for adolescents and the highly inebriated.

Guess not.

Fox News Story on Last Night's O&G Meeting

Here's a link to the Fox News report on last night's O&G Board of Appeals Meeting.

Go get 'em Larry!

(I'll have a full report ready late tonight.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

**********JUST IN**********

All proposed variances for the Riverwalk development were D E N I E D in tonight's O&G Board of Appeals meeting!!! Full details tomorrow.....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The next O&G Board of Appeals Meeting is Wednesday, June 18th at 6:30pm

The gas drilling variance requests for the proposed Riverwalk development are going before the O&G Board of Appeals (again) in Wednesday night's meeting. (As a reminder, they were denied in the April 2008 meeting.)

As before, the developers are asking for a number of variances for their proposed gas wells, including: floodplain, environmentally sensitive areas, public parks, public buildings, property line, right-of-way, tank batteries, and storage tank setbacks.

Additionally, they are asking for a variance for any new construction at the Riverwalk development from the current 500 foot requirement. With approval from the O&G Board of Appeals, this can be reduced to 300 feet. (Would you want to live or shop or dine 300 feet from a gas well?)

Remember, this proposed drill site is right in the center of Flower Mound. If approved, hundreds and hundreds of trucks will be driving east on 407 and south on 2499 to the site. More importantly, an approval may well set the precedent that it's "OK" to bring the gas drilling scourge right into the heart of our Town.

And while this proposed location may not be in your backyard--the next one may be. Also, what about the piplelines that will be required to move the gas?? Drillers in Ft. Worth are exercising "eminent domain" to literally run pipelines though homeowners' front yards. So, while you may escape the gas well right outside your front door, you could well be faced with a 24", high-pressure, gas pipeline running through your property.

Please attend Wednesday's meeting and let the O&G Board know that all of the setbacks, as detailed in the Town O&G ordinance, should be upheld. They were put there for a reason. Keep them!!!

One more the request of concerned citizens, the O&G Board of Appeals now meets separately from the Board of Adjustments. (Many thanks to Chairperson Tina Murphy for this consideration!) What this means is that the O&G Board of Appeals meeting will now begin promptly at 6:30pm. Please be there early so that you can make sure you have a seat and have submitted your name as a speaker (if you wish to speak).

Your attendance is critical. The developers are banking on those of us that have shown concern in the past to run out of steam and to eventually give in. This reminds me of a great quote I ran across recently by Thomas Sowell: "One of the painful aspects of studying great catastrophes of the past is discovering how many times people were preoccupied with trivialities when they were teetering on the edge of doom."

See you at 6:30 on Wednesday, June 18th
Flower Mound Town Hall
2121 Cross Timbers

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yesterday's full page ad in "The Messenger"

Please check out the full page ad in yesterday's "Messenger". They got it right this time. (For free.)

Friday, May 23, 2008


Trust me. That ad was NOT what I submitted.

Stay tuned.

Full page ad in today's "Messenger"

Two weeks ago, a local resident placed a full page ad in "The Messenger" about urban gas drilling. It contained a number of inaccuracies, which I didn't think should go unanswered.

So, I prepared a full page ad of my own. In contrast to the prior ad, I believe this one is factual, non-emotional and will hopefully serve to educate residents as to why urban gas drilling in the highly residential areas of Flower Mound is such a bad thing for all of us. It's in today's "Messenger".

I hope you will encourage your friends and neighbors to read it. The cost of the ad was $2,249.10. If anyone wants to contribute to its cost, I'd really appreciate it. You can send your check to me at 2900 Aberdeen Dr., 75022.

Thank you very much,

Beckie Belcher
Flower Mound Citizens Against Urban Drilling

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Say NO to Urban Gas Drilling" signs are here!!

I just got in a huge order of "Just Say NO to Urban Gas Drilling" signs. They're $3 each and I'm hoping that each of you would be willing to take 10 or more. (You know, Cherokee Horn pays people $100 to put "Gas is Good" signs in their yard. We need to demonstrate that we don't have to be paid to express our opinion.)

Please put one in your yard and ask your neighbors if they would, as well. These signs are a great way to let folks know that there's a group of us out here that's not going to just roll over and let the drillers destroy Flower Mound with drilling in our highly residential areas.

I know that many of you have HOA's whose covenants supposedly prohibit signs. While I am not an attorney (and I am NOT offering legal advice), other attorneys have told us that these signs ultimately come down to freedom of speech and as such, cannot be prohibited. Plus, they are NOT commercial and they are in the public interest.

Please let me know how many signs you would like to have. I would love to quickly run out and have to reorder!

You can email me at:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Random Observations about the Town Council Elections (Post-Election)

I'll save the discussion about the full page ad in Friday's "Messenger" for another day. If I hadn't used all my "special interest" money on a campaign contribution, I'd buy an ad to rebut all of the uh..."inaccuracies" in it.

Well deserved congratulations to Al and Virginia for running a clean campaign. It is an honor to know them.

Wonder why Jody felt it necessary to put up signs at the last minute--all strategically placed between the Dixon and Levenick signs?

45 votes. Wow. Every vote really does matter. Virginia ran a heck of a campaign even though it started late and didn't have the "influential" backers that her opponent had.

Kudos to Virginia for bringing the drilling in highly residential areas issue to the forefront. I'm sure the seniors won't mind.

Lastly, for those of you that think the drilling issue is going to just "go away" now, be forewarned. I just got 400 new "Just say NO to urban drilling" signs. We're just getting started.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Random Observations about the Town Council Elections

Did you see Jean Levenick's flyer which included her statement that "It offends me, a resident and voter of Flower Mound, that she [Virginia Jellison] now asks for your vote." What?!?!

Have you noticed that the large campaign signs for Jean Levenick and Steve Dixon generally are placed on large landowners' properties?

Have you noticed that many of the Al Filidoro and Virginia Jellison yard signs also have a "Say NO to urban drilling" sign next to them?

Have you seen any of the "Say NO" signs next to Dixon and Levenick signs?

Please vote on Saturday. 7:00am to 7:00pm at the Police & Court Bldg.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Town Elections

Through Saturday (May 3rd) only about 900 people have voted in the Town elections. This means we're on track for about 2,400 voters total.

What does this mean?

It means that very few votes will decide this election and YOU have the opportunity to make a difference. How?

1) GO VOTE!! (See below for dates, times and the location.)

2) Call at least 10 of your friends and remind them to vote.

3) Explain the importance of this election to anyone that you can--a neighbor, a co-worker, or someone at church.

We believe that this election is a referendum on the issues that face us today. Do we want to continue down a path that will have us looking like Odessa before long? Or, do we want to maintain the character and the uniqueness of Flower Mound?

This matters. Please vote.

Early Voting: Monday, May 5th and Tuesday, May 6th
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Flower Mound Police and Court Building
4150 Kirkpatrick Road

Election Day: Saturday, May 10
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Flower Mound Police and Court Building
4150 Kirkpatrick Road

Note: As some of our "friends" have so graciously reminded us (repeatedly), we (FMCAUD) cannot endorse a particular candidate, since we are not registered as a PAC. So, we're not doing that. This is simply a reminder to vote and to make your voice heard.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Water

The drilling companies continue to say that the water used in the fracing process is completely safe. Nothing more than water and sand.

Here's an article worth reading. . Several people in Hill County are having serious problems with their wells. Wells that have produced clean, healthy water for years. All of their properties are within a couple of hundred yards of two gas wells drilled by Williams Production-Gulf Coast Co. Hydrologists have tested the water and the residents have been told not to use the water for anything, not even watering the grass. Of course, Williams has denied any problem and the RRC has been of no help.

FM citizens have raised many concerns about our water supply but those concerns have been dismissed by The FM Oil and Gas Board.

Some quotes from Chair Murphy taken from the minutes of the March 12 meeting:
"And you talk about polluted water. Well, there's a thing called a closed loop system that's being used. The water is not eroding the ground."

"And with the closed loop system and even if the trucks have to be brought in, it's still much safer for our environment and for our water than the fertilizers or the the aerated septic tanks on the two-acre estates that water the grass that runs into Lake Grapevine;"

Best case, WE DON'T KNOW YET. We don't know the full impact of drilling in an urban setting. No one has all the answers yet, not even FM's Oil and Gas Board which claims to be so much smarter than us.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Proposed Riverwalk Site

Someone has posted a video on YouTube showing what the 158 acres of the Proposed Riverwalk Site looks like now. Please take two minutes and watch it. How is this "smart" growth? This is about as "smart" as the lonely landscaped roundabouts at Lakeside Business District.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Candidate's Forum Saturday April 19th.

Please see the notice on the right side of the blog about the Candidate's Forum this Saturday Night. Get there early if you want a seat...
Keep in mind that our current ordinance had to be approved by Council Members and Council Members appoint the members of the Oil and Gas Board. Council members are critical to the issue of urban drilling.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Report on Last Night's O&G Board of Appeals Meeting

Last night’s attendance was GREAT! This time the Town was prepared and many extra chairs were set up in the lobby and down adjacent hallways.

Just like last month, the Board of Adjustment deliberated endlessly over one variance request which involved a request by a local resident to build an out-building which would be two feet higher than code. This was debated for over an hour and a half before it was finally denied. Two interesting quotes from the board’s chairperson did come out of this session, however. First, was her concern that this request violated both the “spirit and the intent” of the town codes and second was that while they “love” to grant variances, it can’t be a variance due to a “self-created hardship.”

Once the over-sized garage request was defeated, the board announced a thirty-minute break before they would reconvene as the O&G Board of Appeals. The crowd groaned as it was already almost 8:00pm. During the break, one enterprising resident circulated a petition asking that that the next O&G Board of Appeals meeting be held at a specific date and time so that we wouldn't have to arrive 2 ½ hours before the actual meeting started. He presented this to the Board chair and she actually instructed the Town staff to try to find another date/time to conduct the next meeting.

When the meeting finally started, I noticed a marked change in the board’s demeanor from last month’s meeting. While at certain points they were condescending, pompous and excruciatingly long-winded, I believe it was less so than last month. At least we weren’t subjected to detailed recitations of their academic credentials, nor were we told that if “my credentials aren’t good enough for you, then I don’t know what you’d want.” We didn’t have to hear again that if we “knew as much as they did, then we’d be on the board.”

Next was the public participation portion of the meeting. Speakers were not restricted to two minutes (like last month), but only twelve speakers were allowed to speak. A highly-respected local realtor spoke very convincingly about the reduction in property values that would, without question, occur if Flower Mound were to become known as the place where all the drilling is taking place. He said that whatever revenue might come to the Town because of the drilling, it would be offset by the loss in property values.

Several other residents spoke passionately (and very well, I might add) about their objection to any gas drilling within the highly residential areas of Flower Mound.

The chairperson at this point then said something that I thought was condescending and down-right rude. She spoke to the audience like she was speaking to a roomful of first-graders and said very loudly and very slowly “There is N O T H I N G to talk about.” She went on to explain that no applications had been received for Bridlewood or Northshore so there was absolutely nothing to talk about. One Bridlewood resident then got up and said that just that afternoon she had seen the surveyors on the golf course at Bridlewood and she thought that indeed there was something worth talking about.

One especially effective speaker talked about the hundreds of 80,000 lb. trucks that would be required to haul water in and out of the site and that the damage that they would cause would not be offset by the estimated $11K in revenue that the well, over its expected 20 year life, would be estimated to bring to the Town.

One of the candidates for Town Council, Virginia Jellison, spoke about the need for the Town Council to revisit the O&G ordinance because advances in technology have made the current ordinance obsolete. She said that the O&G Board of Appeals must refuse all variance requests for drill sites within the highly residential areas.

This is the second time I have seen Ms. Jellison speak against urban drilling at the O&G Board of Appeals. She also spoke against it at Monday’s Town Council meeting as well as a prior Town Council meeting in March. Interestingly, I have not heard her opponent speak about her position on gas drilling in highly residential areas. Since she was busy last Sunday and didn’t attend the FMCAUD Candidates’ Forum, I was unable to hear her views at that time.

I also have yet to hear the challenger for Place 2, Steve Dixon, articulate his position on urban gas drilling as he too was “busy” and couldn’t attend the Candidates’ Forum nor has he spoken publicly in Town Council or the O&G Board of Appeals meeting about this.

The consultant for Red Oak, Bobby Dollack, [ hi Bobby, I know you regularly logon to this blog :-) ], spoke about how the proposed location was the one that best protected the citizens, etc. He said that there were only two property owners within 1,000 feet of the proposed drill site. He said that they would use an “urban” rig, which was smaller and quieter than others we might have seen. He disclosed that the drill site, would be only 300 feet from townhomes that would be part of the Riverwalk development and 500 feet from the proposed hospital. He also said that the trucks would come east on 407 and then south on 2499 and that this would be the least impact to the Town residents.

Mr. Dollack did not address the required pipelines and later in the meeting, when I tried to ask about it, I was told that I couldn’t ask a question at that point.

The chairperson asked if the whole Riverwalk development was riding on this decision. Mr. Dollack said it was not, but that it would change the plans for the development, if the variances were not approved.

The town O&G inspector, Dustan Compton then made a presentation which talked a great deal about the floodplain, the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs), the proximity to the Timber Trails Park, and the fact that 3.4 acres of trees would have to be cut down.

In follow up questions and comments, it was explained that as many as 10 wells would be constructed—all from the same pad site. This first well would only have one lateral, which would be about 1,700 feet in length and that the current property owner, Cole McDowell, already owns all of those mineral rights.

Should the other nine wells be drilled, it would require the leasing of the mineral rights from hundreds of residences north and west of the proposed drill site. None of those neighborhoods have been notified of the possible drilling yet.

At this point residents were allowed to speak against the requested variances and a number did so. Probably most importantly the two impacted property owners spoke. First, an individual who represented one property owner reminded one of the board members of her comment last month in which she stated that the approval would effectively “hose” future development nearby. This individual stated that in this instance the property owner that would be “hosed” was his client and that he was not in favor of it. (As opposed to last month’s request from property owners in far west Flower Mound, who requested that the variances be approved so that drilling could occur on their property.) He also reminded the board of their statement in the earlier session when they denied a homeowner the right to build a garage that was two-foot higher than code, that they don’t approve variance just as a result of a “self-inflicted hardship."

Next the daughter of the other property owner within 1,000 feet of the proposed site, stated that she was particularly upset about this as she had only been notified of it within the past day or so. She was very much against waiving the variances and stated that she was especially concerned about the potential for flooding as she has lived there 36 years and has seen it flood many times.

Other residents, including outgoing Councilmember Laurie Long, spoke of how this would have devastating impacts on the master plan and how that even if you didn’t live near the proposed site, you would be impacted due to the number of trucks (and the resulting damage) that would now be inflicted upon 2499.

Only a handful of people spoke in support of the variance requests. Probably the most outspoken was a woman, who I have been told is the campaign manager for the person who is challenging Ms. Jellison for Place 4. She stated:

--Texas has always been an O&G state; the Barnett Shale is here
--The developers live here too, and they’ve spent a lot of money to get to this point
--The hospital (proposed) isn’t afraid of the gas drilling
--She’s not going to live her life afraid of everything
--There has been a lot of misinformation (but she didn’t say what that was)
--We don’t have mob rule
--And, a meteor could always hit us, anyway

Mr. McDowell spoke of the millions of dollars in purported economic benefits to the Town.

Interestingly, the chairperson, refused to allow questions from the audience. (Last month the audience was given that opportunity.)

One other side note: At one point late in the discussions (when things were starting to look bad for Red Oak), one of the board members, Ms. Rich left the room and was seen in conversation with Mr. McDowell, Mr. Dollack, and the mayor, Jody Smith. Of course, they may have just been discussing the weather.

When the deliberations among the board members began, it became apparent that this wasn’t going to get an approval as easily as the variance request that was heard last month. A few key comments:

--Poston: We’re at a crossroads. Is drilling an entitlement? I'm concerned with the number of variances as well as the percentage of variance requested.

--Murphy: Agrees somewhat (with above statement).

--Walker: Denied that they set precedents and one request is completely separate from the other. But, he doesn’t like the variances that take the setbacks down to zero.

--Rich: Is drilling an entitlement? They [the mineral rights owners] have as much right to their minerals as the surface rights owners have to theirs. This WILL be developed. The value of nearby property will “skyrocket.”

--Ward: Concerned about the number of variances; they’re in place to protect the public safety. (The Riverwalk area has been proposed as a community gathering place.) Concerned about objections from neighbors.

--Doherty: The property values will go up in surrounding areas, but due to the Riverwalk project, not due to gas drilling.

Finally, all twelve variances were voted upon. Every single variance was denied by “nay” votes from every one of the board members, except Ms. Rich, who voted “aye’ on four of the proposed variances.

The meeting was finally adjourned around 12:20am.

One last comment. Do not think for a moment that this battle has been “won”. This was only a minor victory in a small skirmish. You must still make your voice heard. Put up a sign. Write your local officials. Call talk radio. Talk to your neighbors. DO NOT SIGN A LEASE !!!

Stay informed and stay tuned.

**********JUST IN**********


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What's it to be?

Wednesday, April 9th, at 6:30 is a night when Flower Mound history will be made.

Why? The O&G Board of Appeals will hear requests from Red Oak Gas Drilling for seven variances in the Town's O&G ordinance for the proposed Riverwalk development. These requests are to seek decreases to the setbacks for all of the following:

**Environmentally Sensitive Area
**Public park
**Property line
**Tank battery
**Storage tank

But why will this night be historical? Other variances to the O&G ordinance have been approved, right?

Yes, but never before in the middle of town.

Never in a location which would bring hundreds of 80,000 pound trucks down our streets to compete with moms picking up kids from school, teenagers heading to Sonic for a cherry limeade and dads rushing to the ballfield just in time for the kickoff.

Is this what we want for Flower Mound?

Make your voice heard on Wednesday night.

It matters.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Report on the Candidates' Forum

We had a packed house at yesterday's Flower Mound Citizens Against Urban Drilling Candidates' Forum with close to 100 in attendance. Each attendee was given a piece of paper at the sign in desk and was asked to write their question out for the candidates. There were a number of good questions (many were related to urban gas drilling, as expected), but there were a fair number that were on topics such as oldgrowth/ancient forests, SMARTgrowth and the MasterPlan, high-density housing, and mixed use developments.

Only two candidates chose to attend yesterday's forum--Al Filidoro, who is the incumbent for Place 2 and Virginia Jellison, who is running for Place 4. The other two candidates, Steve Dixon and Jean Levenick, as well as Mayor Jody Smith, who is running unopposed, declined FMCAUD's invitation (which was delivered on March 24th) to participate in the forum saying that they had other commitments. (Mr. Dixon did however initially accept the invitation, but rescinded his acceptance the same day that both Ms. Levenick and Ms. Smith declined.)

The forum was conducted in an orderly and respectful manner and basically, all of the questions offered, were answered. (Many were very similar in nature, so not every single question was read, however.) Furthermore, the candidates stayed long after the meeting ended in order to answer questions from individuals as well as the news media.

Many, many thanks to all of you who attended. I appreciate your willingness to give up a bit of a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in order to learn the positions of the Town Council candidates.

Just a couple more case you haven't registered to vote, please do so. Your voter registration card must be postmarked no later than Thursday, April 10th.

Also, don't forget tonight's Town Council meeting at 6:00pm. Three-minute, citizen input remarks are allowed near the beginning of each meeting.

And finally, please make your plans to be at Wednesday night's O&G Board of Appeals meeting at 6:30pm. This is a VERY important meeting as a number or variances related to the Riverwalk project are up for approval by the board. These variances include setback requirements for floodplain, Environmentally Sensitive Areas, Public Parks, Residences, Property lines, Tank Batteries, and storage tanks. Citizen comments are also welcomed at this meeting.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Candidates' Forum on Sunday, April 6th at 2:30pm

Don't forget the Candidates' Forum on Sunday, April 6th at 2:30pm at the Flower Mound Library.

Also, in case you're not registered to vote, your voter registration card MUST be in to the Denton County Board of Elections by April 10th.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

FMCAUD Sponsored Candidate's Forum

Where does each of the candidates for Flower Mound Town Council and Mayor stand on urban gas drilling? Find out the answer to this question and have the opportunity to question our Council candidates on this and other critical issues facing our community.

Voters will have the opportunity to attend a Candidate’s Forum at 2:30pm, Sunday, April 6th, at the Flower Mound Town Library, sponsored by the Flower Mound Citizens Against Urban Drilling (FMCAUD).

Invitations have been delivered to Council Member Al Filidoro and challenger Steve Dixon for Council position place 2 and Virginia Jellison and Jean Levenick for Council position place 4 as well as to the current mayor, Jody Smith, who is running unopposed.

Here is a copy of the entire press release which went out yesterday.

Press Release
Town residents to hold candidate forum for Town Council and Mayoral Candidates regarding critical issues facing Flower Mound

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Flower Mound, TX March 28, 2008

Where does each of the candidates for Flower Mound Town Council and Mayor stand on urban gas drilling? Find out the answer to this question and have the opportunity to question our Council candidates on this and other critical issues facing our community.

Voters will have the opportunity to attend a Candidate’s Forum at 2:30pm, Sunday, April 6th, at the Flower Mound Town Library, sponsored by the Flower Mound Citizens Against Urban Drilling (FMCAUD) announced its president, Rebecca Belcher.

“While gas drilling per se, is not on the ballot of the May 10th elections, it is one of the topics of upmost concern to a great number of Flower Mound residents and we think it is important that all candidates be given a forum in which they can make their positions clear.”

Ms. Belcher stated that invitations had been delivered to Council Member Al Filidoro and challenger Steve Dixon for Council position place 2 and Virginia Jellison and Jean Levenick for Council position place 4 as well as to the current mayor, Jody Smith, who is running unopposed.

“The forum will be conducted in an organized and impartial manner. Each candidate will be allowed to make three-minute opening remarks. Then, the floor will be opened to questions. The length of questions, as well as the length of the responses will be limited so that as many people as possible will be able to pose their questions.”
Ms. Belcher said that “all Flower Mound voters are encouraged to attend the Candidate’s Forum, regardless of their position on urban gas drilling. It’s important to hear what each of the candidates have to say, which will allow voters to fully understand each candidate’s positions and to vote wisely in the May 10th elections.”

Ms. Belcher stated that while her organization’s stance is very opposed to drilling in residential neighborhoods, they are not opposed to all gas drilling. “We believe that there is a place for gas drilling, but it’s not within highly residential areas. Gas wells a few hundred feet from homes threaten the public safety, the environment, and significantly impact the quality of life.”

Ms. Belcher explained that she organized FMCAUD in early February when she, along with her neighbors, were shocked by the arrival of a letter from a gas developer, Cherokee Horn, announcing that the neighboring Northshore Club had been leased for gas drilling and that a number of gas wells were planned.

“I was dumbfounded that this beautiful little town—the place my husband and I specifically chose to retire in when we moved here from Amarillo six years ago—would allow heavy industry to locate as little as 300 feet from our home.”

Ms. Belcher continued that “no area of Flower Mound is ‘safe’ from gas drilling and that even the exclusive Bridlewood community is now faced with the prospect of a gas well on the golf course driving range.” She said that even the proposed Riverwalk development includes a gas well. “Residents have a right to question candidates for office on their positions—this is a matter that if improperly handled, could negatively impact the residents for many years to come.”

Event: Candidate’s Forum, sponsored by the Flower Mound Citizens Against Urban Drilling
Date: Sunday, April 6th
Time: 2:30pm
Place: Flower Mound Library
Invited Participants: Mayor Jody Smith
Place 2 Candidates: Incumbent Council Member Al Filidoro, and challenger Steve Dixon
Place 4 Candidates: Jean Levenick and Virginia Jellison [Council Member Laurie Long is not seeking re election]

Flower Mound Citizens Against Urban Drilling mission is the following: To work in a legal, ethical, and civil manner to stop urban gas drilling in the highly residential areas of Flower Mound. We are not against all gas drilling, but rather that which will adversely affect the public safety, the enjoyment of our homes, and our overall quality of life. Their blog is located at: