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From the July 21st, “Friday Staff Reports to City Council

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The Friday Staff Report to City Council provides weekly updates between staff and Council. Due to construction at Fire Station No. 9, the Airport Terminal Building will be temporarily closed, and Denton Water Utilities urges conservation because of waterline repairs. A recent meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors addressed the national mental health crisis, and a new program offers employment to shelter residents. The Community Fan Giveaway has seen a high uptake, while a food waste diversion program is being piloted. A tree was removed from Quakertown Park after causing damage, and discussions were held regarding the Chairy Orchard’s future. Denia Recreation Center held camps for children exposed to domestic violence. Council members addressed various community concerns, including land development, traffic, water shut-offs, and construction projects. Upcoming events include “Christmas in July” at the Denton Senior Center, a TxDOT public meeting, National Grandma Day celebration, an Urban Wildlife Workshop, and several recreational and entertainment events such as an adapted recreation dance, a 70s party, and a movie-watching party.

General Information

The Airport Terminal Building is closed on July 24 and 25 due to a planned electrical outage from Fire Station No. 9 construction. Administrative staff will work remotely. Airport Operations staff will be on-site from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

On July 25, Denton Water Utilities asks residents to conserve water due to repairs on waterlines to the city’s treatment plant. Public notifications will be sent out on July 21 and July 24, urging limited non-essential water use. Essential water quality and availability remain unaffected.

Due to extreme heat, Atmos has limited its crews to 40-hour work weeks until October 1, 2023. The impact on the Atmos Relocation schedule is uncertain. City staff are assessing potential effects on city projects.

On June 27, 2023, City Council directed member appointments to committees and boards, with formal actions on June 27 and July 18. A table lists all appointments. New members for the Development Code Review Committee will start on Sept. 1, 2023.

The Council Priorities report updates on 24 strategic initiatives marked as Council priorities, tracking progress via the City’s performance software. These initiatives are among 100+ on the City’s public dashboard supporting key focus areas. Details will be discussed in the August 5, 2023, Council meeting.

On July 19, a bipartisan delegation from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, featuring Mayor Hudspeth, met with Congress members to address the nationwide mental health crisis. The related article can be found online.

In collaboration with the Doe Foundation, Our Daily Bread and the City’s Solid Waste and Recycling department launched the “Ready for Work” program in March 2023. Shelter guests, dressed in uniforms, work at the City Landfill, collecting litter and covering significant distances on foot. The program provides paid roles, aiming for housing stability and potential permanent positions.

The Community Fan Giveaway, organized by ESS and DME, was successful this year with both online preregistration and onsite signups at four events. Of the 1,200 fans available, over 850 have been collected by residents as of July 20. Any unclaimed fans will be offered from July 21 on a first-come basis. No recent registrant will go without a fan, and reservations will be kept for a rolling 30 days.

On July 10, 2023, with a $60,723 NCTCOG grant, the Solid Waste and Recycling and Wastewater departments launched a pilot for organic food waste diversion, addressing the 32% waste from the commercial sector. Downtown restaurants collect this waste, which is then processed at a wastewater treatment plant, transforming it into renewable gases and compost materials. Expanding beyond just pre-consumer waste, the program now includes post-consumer waste. Over a six-month period, data will be collected to guide future programming.

Parks and Recreation staff removed a problematic American Elm from Quakertown Park near City Hall. Over three years, the tree dropped large limbs, recently damaging the “Festival in Motion” sculpture. An assessment revealed the tree was unsound, diseased, and needed removal.

On July 13, Parks and Recreation discussed the future of Chairy Orchard with Denton residents, with insights from Judy Smith, an original Chairy Fairy. There was consensus on centralizing elements saved from the original orchard rather than dispersing them. Attendees preferred an arrangement similar to the original, with outdoor art “rooms” and significant trees, while also supporting educational programming on native plants and conservation. Suggestions included spreading Chairy Orchard’s spirit across Denton and integrating elements like the locks of love at the Lilly Cantu playground. Parks and Recreation is keen to incorporate community input.

Other VOD Stories

On July 15 and 19, Denia Recreation Center held Denton County Friends of the Family’s Camp Hope and Pathways one-day camps, with 45 children aged 7-16 participating. Activities included rock climbing, STEAM projects, and nature exploration at Denia Park. The camps mentor youth exposed to domestic violence and offer exposure to nature, college preparation, and STEAM topics.

Council Member Requests

On July 12, Council Member Holland addressed a resident’s query about land development south of Unicorn Lake and the removal of security gates from the Tuscan Hills subdivision. Despite the gates’ removal, Tuscan Hills streets remain private. For them to become public, a City Council vote is needed. Potential development of the land adjacent to Tuscan Hills poses challenges:

  1. Access: Tuscan Hills’ streets are private. Residential developments with 30 or more units require two access points; currently, there’s only one. Changes would need Planning and Zoning Commission approval.
  2. Zoning: The land is under the Unicorn Lake Overlay District, restricting its use to single-family units, specific accessory uses, and limited office spaces. No multifamily apartments are allowed. For changes, City Council approval is required.
  3. Environmental: The land may contain Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) and FEMA-regulated floodplains. Before approval, an ESA field assessment is necessary, and any confirmed ESAs would subject the development to specific city requirements.

Concerns about speeding on Clubhouse Drive in Sundown Ranch were raised to Council Member Holland. A 2021 speed study showed most drivers were below the speed limit, and traffic volume didn’t justify a new four-way stop. The area will receive increased police monitoring due to the concerns.

A resident from the McKamy Evers community expressed parking concerns to Mayor Hudspeth. City staff explained they couldn’t place “No Parking” signs in the residential area. Instead, they offered to address the issue through communication with the offending party or by educating the community at an HOA meeting.

Council Member Holland addressed concerns about recurring water shut-offs at a Dallas Drive business, which are related to the SED-B Project. The shut-offs are necessary for new waterline connections on Smith Street. Staff are focused on completing the project and keeping affected parties informed.

Concerns were raised about a Kayewood Drive property’s potential use as a group home, but it doesn’t meet the Denton Development Code’s group home criteria. Council Member Meltzer sought clarity on the difference between community homes, hotels, and motels. Hotels offer short-term lodging with amenities, while motels provide similar accommodations but with separate exterior entrances for each unit.

Council Member Meltzer relayed concerns about speeding on Windsor Drive. A speed study has been scheduled for the area, and the location has been added to the Police’s High Visibility Enforcement list for increased monitoring and enforcement.

Council Member Byrd asked about the public parks reservation process. Reservations can be made online, in person at the City Civic, or by phone. Details and availability can be accessed through the “Book, Rent & Reserve” web page.

A resident inquired about the timeline for the south Bonnie Brae Street construction. The final phase is set for Council consideration in August 2023. If approved, the project will start in Q3 of 2023 and take around 30 months to complete.

Mayor Hudspeth inquired about traffic signals. The average construction cost is approximately $600,000 per signal. Maintenance is performed twice yearly at about $2,000 per signal, not including equipment replacements from failures or accidents.

Former Council Member Davis relayed concerns about traffic at Cindy Lane/Western Boulevard and US 380. Staff initially requested more time for a thorough investigation. They later provided a detailed response to the resident and informed Davis.

Upcoming Community Events

Christmas in July – Missing the winter chill and the sugar and spice of the holiday season? Come celebrate Christmas in July with active adults ( 50+) on Wednesday, July 26 from 11 a.m. to 1 p. m. at the Denton Senior Center ( 509 N. Bell Ave.). The cost to attend is $7 and registration is available online through July 24.

TxDOT Loop 288 Proposed Improvements Public Meeting — On Thursday, July 27, the Texas Department of Transportation ( TxDOT) is hosting an in-person meeting ( open house) regarding proposed improvements to Loop 288. The meeting will be held at Denton High School( 3001 Bronco Way) from 5: 30 to 7:30 p.m. The meeting will also be available online for viewing and public comment through August 11.

National Gorgeous Grandma Day – The Denton Senior Center( 509 N. Bell) is celebrating National Grandma Day on Friday, July 28 for active adults ages 50+. Bring a picture of you and your grandchild(ren) plus a picture of you in your youth and join us at 11 a.m. to share about your family. This event will include a fashion show and special treats! Registration is available online.

Urban Wildlife Workshop – Join the North Texas Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program for an Urban Wildlife Workshop on Thursday, August 3, from 9: 00 a.m. to 3: 00 p.m. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas – Land and Water Resources Building ( 7360 Coit Road, Dallas, TX 75252). Experts from across the Metroplex will cover potential problems involving egret rookies, rats, feral hogs, coyotes, and more. Talks will be of interest to city employees, master naturalists, and residents interested in learning more about living alongside wildlife neighbors. A full agenda of the day’s events can be found online. Workshop registration costs $ 60 and attendees in need of CEUs will gain five Animal Control Officer Credits. For additional information, contact registration@nntmn.org.

Adapted Recreation Dance – Parks and Recreation is hosting an adapted recreation dance on Friday, August 11 at North Lakes Rec Center( 2001 Windsor Dr.) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event is $ 5 per person and open to individuals living with disabilities 16 years and older. The event will feature a dance floor, photobooth, and the opportunity to mingle with new and old friends. Registration is available online.

That 70s Party – The American Legions Hall ( ALH) Senior Center ( 629 Lakey St.) is hosting a disco-themed dance night for active adults over 50 on August 25. Dress in your best 70s garb and dance the night away to old-school tunes. The dance is a great opportunity to show off your dance skills and meet new people! The cost to attend is $ 10 and registration is available online.

Movie-Watching-Party – Join Adapted Recreation at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center ( 1300 Wilson St.) for a movie- watching party on Friday, August 25 from 11 a.m. to 1: 00 p.m. The event is free to attend, and registration is available online.

Upcoming Street Closures

Street/IntersectionFromToDescriptionStart DateEnd Date
Inman St( 201)Meadow StCentre Place DrConcrete Panel Repair07/31/2308/18/23
Oak StMounts AveFulton StWastewater sewer main lines and services installationTBDTBD
Oak St.Bonnie Brae St.Thomas St.Working on curb and gutter07/21/2307/31/23
Peninsula TrlSea Cove LnMarina orSidewalk Panel Replacement07/24/2308/18/23

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