Friday, February 10, 2012

Gas Drilling Is Not A Dead Issue In Flower Mound

People of Flower Mound.....

Flower Mound's new Oil and Gas Ordinance is in jeopardy. The very ordinance that may be the most protective of its citizens in the State of Texas AND the United States.

There is an important article in the Flower Mound Leader that residents should read.

Council clashes over Charter Review

After all the hard work that included walking neighborhoods, phone calls, and repeated trips to Town Hall, the controversy is happening again! Despite the citizen’s referendum on Gas Drilling, it appears that Councilmember Stephenson is trying to take away our right to vote on protecting the new Oil and Gas Ordinance in May.

During Monday’s Council meeting, Councilmember Stephenson failed to comply with meeting protocol. Councilmember Stephenson under the Item A Future Agenda, asked the council to postpone any further Charter Review meetings until her summons of the Charter Review Chairman could be fulfilled. When the Town Secretary informed her that the Chairman was not available due to a work schedule conflict, Councilmember Stephenson became angry and defiant and continued to ignore meeting protocol. It was somewhat confusing, but Mayor Northern was trying to explain to Councilmember Stephenson that since Stephenson did not have an item to put on the agenda, the Council could not discuss having a special meeting to satisfy Councilmember Stephenson’s demands at that point of the meeting.

It really is interesting to watch the video of the meeting on FMTV, because during the Item M Calendar Section, Mayor Northern and Councilmember Lyda were being very accommodating to make this happen per Councilmember Stephenson's request. It makes us wonder what is Councilmember Stephenson’s real agenda?  We allege that her goal may be postponement of the recommendations of the Charter review items be put on the May ballot.  At a cost of $10,000 to $30,000, why does Councilmember Stephenson want to burden the taxpayers of Flower Mound by paying for a special election in November?

At the February 2nd Charter Review meeting, the members reviewed, discussed, debated, and voted on all items that had been submitted to the committee by Staff, Council, and residents.  The residents in attendance were given an opportunity to make comments on each item as it was presented. In fact, the residents were allowed to speak as long as they wished and as many times as they wished. 

Only ONE recommendation was a 3 in Support and 2 in Opposition.  Surprise… the ONE was the recommendation made by the Oil and Gas Advisory Board in July of 2011 to protect the new Oil and Gas Ordinance via a Super Majority, or 4 to 1 Council vote to change, weaken, or repeal the new ordinance.  Why would the two CRC members be opposed to this item going to the voters of Flower Mound? 

We want to have a chance to vote on the Charter amendments in May.  If all the issues and recommendations have been addressed, why should the process take longer? The Charter Review Committee will present a 30-page document that will be reviewed by Council. THE RECOMMENDATION SURROUNDING THE SUPER MAJORITY VOTE TO AMEND and/or REPEAL THE 2011 OIL AND GAS ORDINANCE IS IMPORTANT! You can see how serious it is by the Council’s appointees:  a former Mayor and Planning and Zoning Commissioner; a former Councilmember; a current Planning and Zoning Commissioner and former Oil and Gas Advisory Board Chairman, another member of the former Oil and Gas Advisory Board, and two attorneys.  The majority of the committee had first-hand experience of this document and understood its importance. It took the last Charter Review Committee longer to understand the Town Charter and the rules that govern it. This is not the case with the current committee!

Per Councilmember Stephenson’s request, Council is having a special meeting on February 15th.  This is a public meeting and any resident can show up. You may speak during the public participation portion of this meeting or send emails to voice your concern. 

Simply ask the Flower Mound Town Council: do you support a charter amendment requiring a public hearing and a super-majority vote to amend the ordinance?

If their answer is no, then beware—an accommodation to the drillers may be in the works.

To contact the Mayor and all Town Council Members, please e-mail mayor/

The Charter Review Committee will have another meeting on February 16th.

Most importantly, let the citizens of Flower Mound vote on the items on May 12th. 
Please give a first and last name when commenting.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this very informative information. The residents need to know what is going on in this town. Stephenson is such a snake in disguise. Where is the antivenom because I feel I have been bitten?! I will remember this in May!!

FMCAUD said...

We are asking for a first and last name when commenting. No anonymous comments will be accepted.

Mark Berman said...

This is interesting stuff. I live in Denton and our town just put a moratorium on all new gas drilling permits. They have a task force reviewing our ordinance. I don't go to the meetings but I have been watching blogs like yours and others to see what is going on in the area. Obviously it is a good idea to check out if our town has a super majority in place. Do you know much about Denton?

FMCAUD said...

I don't know anything about Denton's Charter, but if you send me an email (our emial is on the front right side of the page), I may be able to give you some names of people that could help you.

John Huntsaker said...

It appears Stephenson is using a delay tactic by demanding the Charter Review take more time even though it seems the majority of the committee is saying “we are almost finished”.
The reason could be if they delay the recommendations, they won”t make the May ballot. If Mayor Northern, Filidoro and Lyda don’t get re-elected, the new council gets to vote on which recommendations will go to a vote. You can bet the super majority requirement for an ordiance change or repeal won’t be one of them.

One thing your post forgot to mention, the 2 committee members that voted no, were Kendra Stephenson and Tom Hayden’s appointments to the committee. So I guess we know how they feel about the super majority issue.

Plus the 10,000 to 30,000 dollars you mention is taxpayer money!!!
I hope Flower Mound is paying attention again. The last time they fell asleep, somewhere between the years 2005 and 2009, over 60 gas wells popped up.

Mellany Lamb said...

As a resident who attended the Charter Review Commission meeting on February 2nd, it was impressive to see how well prepared and knowledgable each of the members were regarding the proposed ballot items. Of course, the Super Majority for any amendments or repeal of the 2011 Oil and Gas Ordinance was the most deliberated item by the members and the residents in attendance.

I personally found it interesting the Mr. Simonson thought that the issue needed more time in light that he is married to one the most vocal activist for better oil and gas regulations in the area and one of the original Flower Mound Petition Assocition officers. Wasn't it Mr. Simonson's wife's arduous efforts that brought forth the fruition of the 2011 Oil and Gas Ordinance?

Differences aside, after witnessing the fully competent individuals of the CRC, I do not understand why some residents are critical of allowing the voters to decide the issues in May? Many of the critics have close ties with the Council, who hand-picked the committee members. None of the committee members claimed that process was going too fast. And why should the taxpayers of Flower Mound have to pay an additional $10K-$30K to delay the ballot items to a special election in November, when there was no overwhelming controversy surrounding putting forth the items to the voters on the upcoming May ballot?

Coring Services Texas said...

Hayden said he wants to encourage businesses to come to Flower Mound.

Karen Berson said...

The problem is some politicians can't help themselves. Elections have become so expension to run, they need the contributions from the big guys.
It is happening in small towns across America. The gas industry and hangs the money like a carrot in front of their faces.
Coring Services of Texas, just what kind of business does your elected official Hayden want to bring to the town? Your company is an oil and gas field equipment repair. Will you benefit from this "business"?

FMCAUD said...

@Coring Services of Texas, Flower Mound opened up quite a few businesses in the last year. I am curious why your type of company would be promoting a elected official. Do you live here?

Tammi Vajda said...

Protecting the ordinance is the nearest and dearest thing to my heart. I personally have been in this fight for over 4 years.

I view NFL differently than a certain group of people. But some of the things that have gone on during the council meetings, at times where meeting protocol has been ignored, just is a red flag to me. It is my opinion that someone wants to create friction.
I guess people just have to watch it for themselves and make that decision. But I believe that Mayor Northern did go out of here way to accomodate Kendra’s request for a meeting.

Back to the issue of the Charter Review and Super Majority
If you look on the FMCAUD, you will see that this is not the first time our ordinance has been attacked. In fact, in 2006 another Oil and Gas Advisory board weakened the ordinance by decreasing the setbacks. Those very setbacks may have played the part in some pad sites getting approved too close to homes and schools that may not have under another ordinance. And certainly not under the new more protective one. It only required a simple majority. Do we want that again?
That is the only question that those of us that have fought so hard should be asking ourselves.