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First Denton Plan 2040 plan invites limited participants for community involvement in area development

Denton Stories

Leaders for the Denton Plan 2040 project, the next update in the city’s long-term comprehensive plan, hosted a virtual meeting Thursday in which they invited residents to interact with them and suggest additions to the plan.

Felipe Zubia, project manager for consulting firm Matrix Design Group, said more than 200 individuals had registered for the Zoom meeting. However, due to “technical issues,” participation was capped at 100 from 6:07 to 8:15 p.m. for the meeting’s duration.

Previously, the long-term planning for Denton’s growth was handled by Denton Plan 2030, which the city’s Longe Range Planning page said was, “the long-range plan for our growth, development and redevelopment. It is based on local conditions and trends and coordinates the efforts of many different aspects of a community, such as land use, transportation, community facilities, and natural resources.”

While Zubia said 2030 was continuing, he described 2040 as “the next step.”

“We want to hear from you in the community and really engage with you,” Zubia said. “This will be your opportunity to have your voice heard.”

While attendees were allowed to present comments and questions near the end of the meeting, Zubia and the other hosts presented polls. The polls asked Dentonites about the issues they felt need solutions, opportunities to be managed, the biggest threat to and the biggest asset for the city among other things.

For example, when it came to Denton’s biggest threat, 39 percent of those polled said it was, “too much development/congestions,” 16 percent said there were “infrastructure barriers to development” and 11 percent cited the “loss of open spaces.”

Inversely, when polled on what Denton’s greatest asset for the future was, 43 percent voted, “quality of life,” 14 percent said it was “opportunities for growth and business development” and 11 percent polled, “downtown potential.”

One attendee who came forward to speak was Candi Harris, the senior student success coordinator for the University of North Texas’s Strategic Retention Initiatives. She said she wished there was more effort made into making the meeting accessible to other Dentonites, as well as breaking down more of the details presented into layman’s terms.

“As someone who’s worked and had to put aside two to three hours for this, what are you doing to make this more accessible,” Harris said. “Are you guys canvassing in-person? How do you help normal people understand all of this?”

She said she thought the presentation was great, but wished more citizens present at the meeting represented diverse sections of the population.

Kate Landdeck, 51, is a resident of Denton County’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). She said she was disappointed at the meeting’s 100 person limitation.

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“Super disappointed that they couldn’t figure out the technology to allow all 200 people who registered to attend,” Landdeck said. “Limiting voices. No reason for it.”

She said she wasn’t pleased with the meeting.

“They seem to be listening to out-of-town developers who want to ignore the plan and destroy rural Denton,” she said.

While participation dropped to around 60-to-70 people by the end, Zubia said he was happy with the turnout.

“I will say, we’ve had fewer than 10 people show at many meetings, so this is a good turnout,” Zubia said. “I truly mean that. It’s good to see this community-engaged.”

The next meeting for Denton Plan 2040 has not been set, though Zubia gave a tentative date for “the middle of May.”

Courtesy Denton Plan 2040

Article Originally Published by Will Tarpley on North Texas Daily

Source: North Texas Daily

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