Monday night at the Flower Mound Town Council Meeting, Ginger Simonson, co-founder of the Flower Mound Cares Petition Drive asked the Town Council to make a motion to put the petition initiative on the May 8th ballot. The initiative calls for a 180 day moratorium for any acceptance and processing of a SUP (special use permit) for Centralized Collection Facilities, pipelines, gas gathering and compression stations. Ms. Simonson stated by putting it on the May 8th ballot, the town would save the cost of special election. The petition has passed the 5% signature threshold required in the Town Charter to submit for a vote of the people. The Flower Mound Cares petition has over 50% of the signatures needed to call for a special election.
Update: 2/5/2010 Flower Mound Cares Petition Association released this statement this morning:
On Monday, March 1, 2010, the Flower Mound Cares Petition Association (FMCPA) made an offer to the Flower Mound Town Council to submit its petition with 3,000 signatures the following morning. The 3,000 signatures are well above the five percent threshold needed to be placed on the municipal election ballot. In return, the FMCPA simply asked the town to certify the petition in time for it to be placed on the May 8 ballot. The Council refused to act on this request.
However, during the same meeting, a prominent land developer with close ties to a gas drilling company was able to secure an item on the May 8 ballot that, if passed, will authorize an unprecedented swap of town property. This land swap will require moving the town's current soccer complex to another, less-desirable parcel of land adjacent to a mobile home park. The current soccer fields will be converted to retail use which, in turn, will allow a gas company to expand its drilling operations on the site. (Drilling cannot take place now as the pad site is within roughly 600 feet of the soccer fields.) Once again, the gas company's agenda prevailed, while the will of 3,000 concerned Flower Mound citizens was disregarded.
FMCPA's March 2 offer to submit the petitions was made in close consultation with the group's attorney, Robert Hemphill. The goal was to give the Town Secretary sufficient time to validate the required number of signatures for the May 8 election, saving the town the expense of holding a special election. Despite the Mayor and Town Council's efforts to dissuade us, the FMCPA remains committed to enacting an ordinance that places a 180-day moratorium on accepting applications for centralized collection facilities (CCF) and their related pipelines and establishes a process for reviewing and revising the CCF ordinances. Once the remaining signatures are collected -- roughly 3,000 more are needed to reach the 15 percent threshold necessary to call a special election -- the petition and proposed ordinance will be presented to the Town. Town Council will then have a choice to make: either accept and enact the ordinance as written, or schedule a special election.
If you would like to sign the petition or host a signing event, please contact the Flower Mound Cares Petition Association at email@example.com.
PETITION SIGNING EVENTS FOR THIS WEEKEND: FRI. Mar. 5th, SAT. Mar. 6th, & SUN. Mar. 7th
Given the number of signatures gathered so far, I'd say it's a big mistake, politically, for Smith to dig in her heels on this. The Council and the Town don't have to verify all the signatures unless they really want an excuse not to act. It shows a definite bias in favor of gas drilling at any cost, over the objections and concerns of citizens to allow a vote on the land swap.
Whether one is for or against the moratorium, I think you have to agree that putting it out to the voters during a regularly scheduled election is the most cost-effective and democratic way to handle it.