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Vitruvian Park's road runs into Farmers Branch Creek!

Here is what we have discovered about the Farmers Branch Creek low flow issue and the Road from Addison's Vitruvian Park to Alpha Road in Farmers Branch.  

Branch Forum doesn't believe that Farmers Branch city manager, Gary Greer, has handled either of these issues properly.  We reached this conclusion after reading over 300 documents acquired through an open records request of the City and other records provided by interested parties.  If you agree, after reading the summary below and the associated documents in our Dropbox, talk with your Council member and ask to delay action on the road, at least until the creek issue is resolved.

The Creek

In 2010, UDR, the developer of Vitruvian Park, impounded water from Farmers Branch Creek to create a water feature with two ponds and a large fountain.  Shortly after, Todd Womble who lives on the creek by Mallon Park, noticed that the creek was low and sometimes even dry.   He turned to the City for help.  Todd found that in 2011 the City had requested a hearing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality which had issued Addison the permit to impound the water and inexplicably withdrew the request less than a month later.

In 2014, after city staff had continued to put up fierce resistance to the notion that  Addison's Vitruvian Park was the cause of the low flow, the Council directed the city manager to hire a consultant to study the creek's flow.  As a result of the consultant report, the city and the creek residents each hired attorneys to write a formal complaint to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  In the last month the TCEQ has ruled in Farmers Branch's favor on the majority of the contested issues.  Addison has asked to be exempted from some of the TCEQ findings.  

You can read the documents that tell the story.  They are in our Dropbox in chronological sequence so you can easily review them.

The Road

Branch Forum made an Open Records Request to the city for information about the proposed road running from Vitruvian Park, through the College, onto Alpha Road.  We received over 300 pieces of relevant communications between and among our city staff, the College, the Town of Addison, UDR, the developer of Vitruvian Park, and residents of Cambridge Crossing, the nearest Farmers Branch neighborhood to the road.  Below is a short summary of the information found in the Open Records Request.  We were surprised and dismayed by the close working relationship of our staff with the representatives of UDR, often working together against the Cambridge Crossing homeowners.

Branch Forum has created a chronological file of relevant documents telling the story of the work on the road city staff has done from 2011 to January, 2015.  You can review this file by going to our Dropbox location.   Unfortunately, the city sent some of the documents to the State Attorney General to seek an exemption under the pending and contemplated  litigation clause and we are awaiting the AG's ruling.  We were unable to find any reference to current or pending lawsuits in the information we were given.

In 2012 Addison, UDR, and Farmers Branch city staff approached Brookhaven College with a proposal; they would give the College a north entrance through Vitruvian Park in exchange for connecting Vitruvian Park to Alpha Road in Farmers Branch.   This road was long planned by Addison and its funding was approved in a 2012 bond election by Addison residents.  Then Councilman David Koch was included in the initial discussion with staff and UDR. 

In 2013, Jesse Sprague, a resident of Cambridge Crossing, which would be adjacent to the new road, brought the issue of the road's negative effects on his neighborhood to the City Council's attention.  No action was taken.  In fact planning for the road proceeded full speed ahead.  However, the Farmers Branch City staff determined that the Cambridge Crossing Homeowners Association (HOA) would be included in the discussions.  There is evidence that the City staff wanted to keep their work confidential until they were ready to talk about it.  Sprague upset that plan when he appeared at City Council.

The HOA agreed to give it's support to the road if certain conditions were met.  Conditions agreed to by Farmers Branch staff and UDR, Addison, and the College were that:

  • the entrance onto Alpha be moved slightly south
  • there be be no median cut in Alpha
  • Farmers Branch staff would recommend the City take ownership of a part of Sigma Road (currently part is a private street maintained by the HOA)
  • UDR pay to construct a 4 acre park and path next to the neighborhood
  • UDR give the HOA $50,000 (later $75,000) for either maintenance of Sigma Road or neighborhood gates the HOA might install after the road was built

Addison has spent over $300,000 on engineering drawings for the road.  Our city manager has had our city attorney work on finalizing the wording of an Interlocal Agreement about the Road which is to be signed by Addison, Farmers Branch and the Dallas County Community College District   The College District Board signed the agreement this past November. 

Our current City Council has not discussed this road in a study or regular meeting or been briefed on its details.  Two of the Council members were not even elected when the road planning started.  Branch Forum believes that the public should have been included in the discussion in 2012 before taxpayers spent staff time and tax dollars on this issue.  What do you think?

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