Friday, January 22, 2010

Flower Mound Town Council votes 3-2 to amend the zoning classification for the Centralized Collection Facility

Last night the at the Flower Mound Town Council Meeting, the vote passed for a CCF 3 to 2. Therefore, the zoning classification for Centralized Collection Facility will be added to our Agricultural Zoning as a Specific Use Permit (SUP).

This includes:
Amendment to Article VIII, "Oil and Gas Pipeline Standards," of Chapter 34, "Environment," of the Town's Code of Ordinances.

Amendment to the Land Development Regulations (LDR 04-09), by amending Section 98-2 (Definitions), Sections 98-952 (Use Classifications), and 98-273 (Agricultural District Specific Uses), to provide for a Centralized Natural Gas Production Facility definition, use regulations, and special use conditions.

Council Member's Dixon, Levenick, and Wallace voted FOR the above amendments.

Council Member's Hayden and Filidoro voted AGAINST the amendments.

Council Member's Hayden and Filidoro, by their comments, listened to the residents and shared their concerns.

One item that continued to be brought up was on-site recycling and purification. Council Member Hayden talked about this process at length. Stating the benefits would be great for people on both sides of this issue.

Here are the benefits on site recycling and purification:

Recycle and reuse of at least 70% of produced water.
Less potable (fresh drinking) water being used and wasted
Greatly reduced truck traffic
No pipelines needed for transportation
Reduce chance of soil and ground contamination

Many residents expressed their concern about the broad exemptions that the industry receives from many federal environmental and human health statutes. Voicing the health concerns because of the exemptions. Melissa Northern had this to say:

"The Natural Gas Industry feels that they can only do business if they are exempt from the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other protective human health statutes that other Industrial Businesses are required to follow. In 2005 Congress allowed them to do business with these exemptions. This should be alarming to every resident in our community. An industry who is allowed to pollute the very basic needs for living – safe drinking water and clean air."

Several speakers challenged Mayor Smith and Council Member Jean Levenick to recuse themselves from participating in any further discussions or vote because they have signed gas leases with Williams Production (the gas company that is proposing the CCF). The Town Attorney, Terry Welch, explained that it wasn't technically a conflict because there is not an actual application from Williams submitted to the town. The issue of ethics came up because Williams is the only company that has requested this type of facility. One speaker showed a recent ad taken out in a local newspaper by Williams, praising the CCF.

Resident Steve Lyda had this to say about the issue.

" You have to stand up for the people who cannot speak for themselves. To serve ethically, you must hold yourself to a higher standard that will sometimes require you to walk out and not participate in a vote that will be perceived by many as a conflict of interest. Yes, legally you have a right to sit there and vote, ethically you do not.

An even more ethical stance would be to sacrifice yourself and never enter into an arrangement where you have to make this choice: to serve yourself, or serve the people who elected you."

One very unusual thing happened last night and we're not sure what to make of it. Mayor Smith actually stood up at the beginning of the meeting and provided an explanation to an allegation that she and Council Member Levenick had been involved in a sexual harassment incident. She did not provide a lot of details other than that the complaint mentioned that they touched a body part of another employee.

The Town had hired an external investigator to look into the case. Mayor Smith said the case was "quickly resolved". The town attorney Terry Welch, of Brown and Hofmeister gave Mayor Smith, Council Member Levenick and their attorney's an e-mail at conclusion of investigation. Here is what we believed we heard that the e-mail stated "that no remedial actions be taken but there should be a clear understanding by your client of work place issues."

Very confusing.......


Anonymous said...

The upcoming SUP vote WILL be a conflict.

Anonymous said...

can we start preparing now for the election in may? is there any chance to impeach mayor smith or council
member levenick?

Anonymous said...

a excerpt from the flower mound leader on friday jan 22:

Smith told “The Leader” that the incident happened Nov. 2 at a town council meeting. She said shortly before 6 p.m., she and Levenick had left the restroom and walked past a Flower Mound Police officer who was on duty for the meeting. Smith said as they walked past the officer, she and Levenick pinched him on the buttocks.

Smith added that she and Levenick had been friends with the officer for years.

“We laughed, we joked and the meeting went on,” Smith said. “Was it sexual harassment? No. Was it unprofessional? Yes. It was done in a friendly manner, but it shouldn’t have occurred.”

Anonymous said...

Here are the details about what the mayor was discussing. It is very dissapointing and an embarassment to our town.

TXsharon said...

I think all the citizens of the shale are having a paradigm shift. Democracy doesn't live here anymore. We must bring it back.

Anonymous said...

What a total lack of judgment on the part of Smith and Levenick.

Memo to you both: It's not alright to pinch police officers, or anyone else for that matter, on the ass at Town Hall.

You're both welcome for the tip.

Mad Mom Mary said...

The fact that these 3 council members didn't even seem to take anything said by the majority of residents at this meeting seriously is sad. And the way they tried to justify the decision as tightening the ordinance! Really, when did allowing more ways for gas companies to drill a larger amount of wells and produce more fracking waste making an ordinance better. Didn't they notice how many names are on the petition? It keeps going up too.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I talked about this whole sexual harassment thing.
Morally: Maybe we are old fashion but if I pinched one of our good friends husbands butt, it surely would cross the line.
I wonder if the "pinchee" is married and what his wife thought of this?
Professionalism: I am pretty sure I wouldn't have a job if I did this in the front office at my job with the video camera filming everything. Oh yeah and the company I worked for had to foot the bill to run an investigation too. Goodbye.
Ethics: The whole thing about Mayor Smith and Council woman Levenick being able to vote just stinks

Anonymous said...

So,what is the process to question how levenick should not have voted last night? The vote should be deemed illigal. Also, I drove past the "proposed" centralized wastewater storage site - lots of storage tanks are there, a barn like building, and behind that - bulldozers preparing a large plot of land. It sure looks to me like they are acting like they have a go ahead to put this thing in. The property with a well across the street from this is in a Bob Smith's name (any relation to jody?). And the mayor lives VERY close to this. It is all too fishy. As citizens we need to expose this - but how. We need a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Two comments:

Yes, the Town Attorney stated that Smith and Levenick's votes weren't "illegal" last night, but as several of the speakers pointed out, a conflict of interest involves even the "appearance" of impropriety. It is absolutely unconscionable that they failed to recuse themselves.

One more thing..I agree with a prior poster. Had I pinched a co-worker on the buttocks, AND my company had to pay $10,000 for an investigator to sort it all out, not only would I have been fired, I would have had no severance and certainly no recommendation.

Maybe we should do the same on May 9th (Town elections). In case you didn't know, the mayor announced her re-election bid today: