Not sure if many of you use the "Next Door" app or not (there are SO many social apps to weed through), but there have been some recent discussions mentioning the current tree clearing by Hendricks Development on Cypress Oaks Dr. and mentioning a few other topics about the Wa
ter District that people may not understand. I am going to share a couple of the reply comments made by one of the Water District Directors (Jerry Strickland) that some of you may be interested in.
Let me remind ALL of the WCID110 residents that Water Board meetings are conducted on the 2nd Wednesday of every month and on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 5PM unless otherwise posted. We post meetings notices as events on FB and post the agenda’s on our website and on the message board just next to the Clubhouse office front door. ANY & EVERY RESIDENT of WCID110 are ALWAYS welcome to attend these open meetings and the Board of Directors ALWAYS make time to listen to or address resident issues at every meeting (usually are taken visitors first).
I see a lot of comments from good people that have never attended a WCID110 meeting. I see some comments from some that attended a lot of meetings. I personally have attend EVERY board meeting because I have been a director for over 34 years. I am the longest serving of any of our directors and we have been together for over 25 years. So, please allow me to sort of inform folks about what is going on.
We have a website, 2 or 3 Facebook sites and a Pinterest page, and do our best to practice active communications, sending out information 3 to 5 times a year via full color newsletter to EVERY address in WCID110 & active club members. We send out information in our monthly water bill, and post information on the digital board in front of the club. We have at least 2 monthly meetings in the District Boardroom located at 19023 Joanleigh, at 5 PM the second Wednesday of each month and at 5 PM the third Thursday of each Month. Other meetings are posted on the outside of the door to the office area at 19023 Joanleigh, on the website and Facebook pages.
ALL our meetings are open to the public, and all our minutes and records are open to the public. Our complete financial status is presented at each Wednesday meeting via paper handouts. It is available to any that attends or wish to have them.
Over the past 35 years our water district, created on May 9, 1968, and has grown from less than 200 homes to over 2200 (8 HOA’s). Less than $40 million tax base to almost $900 million. From 8-10 small commercial buildings on Magic Oaks to over 200. From a tax of 80 plus cents down to about 40 cents. From having zero schools in the district to having several. From having two exits onto 45 to having 5 or 6. And in all that progress trees were cut down to make way for EVERY house and business in the district. I had nothing but trees behind me in 1970 and now there are nice houses. We had no park, no swim areas or fishing lakes that we owned, and one part time constable. The now district has parks, lakes, jogging trails, walking trails, tennis courts, fitness gym, rental clubhouse, park pavilions, wildlife everywhere and being fed and protected inside the park areas, local businesses, theaters, grocery stores, auto repair places, clothing, etc.. and trees were cut down to do that.
We, the Water Board hire 8 full time constables in addition to budgeting for police overtime of over $65,000 per year and provided them a police car and police ATV. We spend almost a half million dollars a year on constables! We are actively pursuing a method of getting a pct 4 substation permanently located on Holtzwarth near the theater that if all works out as we hope will wind up costing the district very little out of pocket money and bring an ADDITIONAL 40 to 80 constables to be housed within the District.
As for 'retention ponds' flooding - NOT ONE retention pond in WCID110 has ever overflowed or flooded that was not immediately adjacent to Cypress creek (Forest Oaks Park is designed to flood)! NOT ONE EVER has overflowed! The retention ponds that did flood were flooded by Cypress Creek getting out of his channel. In the first 10 years or so I was here, Enchanted Stream flooded maybe 8 times. They have flooded maybe 8 times in the last 20 years. The actions Flood Control has taken work, and work well in 99% of the cases. We can all complain about flooding, but the only way to stop flooding is to stop any building, anywhere, and let nature take it's course.
WCID110 has taken over maintenance of several of the area detention ponds to ensure the 'retention' capability is maintained to help alleviate the overloading of feeder creeks and gullys. This includes the retention lakes surrounding Cypresswood lake and the one between Gander Mountain and Spring Park Village and have offered to take over the lake at Lakes of Cypress Forest. We recently asked Target to clean out theirs to ensure that designed retention was maintained. The one behind USA Auto repair was the same. We prodded the owner and they responded quickly and in a professional manner.
Now to the 'clearing' of land along the south end of Enchanted Oaks. That land has been in the same owners possession for about 30 years. Anyone could have bought it. It is private property! Same as yours or mine, PRIVATE PROPERTY! I for one feel I have ZERO control over a lawful use of ones private property. The Water Districts 'control' over any development is legally limited, very limited. We either have the water and sewer capacity or we dont. At the moment we are at or near our sewer plant capacity and are planning to expand that capacity in the next 3 to 5 years at a cost of about $3 million. The land in question was under an agreement from the late 1980's and early 90's. The Board inquired of the owner as to the price if we wanted to buy all the undeveloped land that was going to be cleared and we received a price of about $1.2 million per acre! Now you may question that value if it is in the flood plain, but if out of the flood plain and has water and sewer that is about the right price. They plan on removing dirt from the area, about 12-13 acres, just south of the east edges of our park and putting that fill on the cleared land to raise it totally out of the flood plain. Additional drain pipes will be installed to take that storm water from their development into the new detention pond. The new detention pond will be at least 25 foot deep. The new detention pond and all remaining land (about 22 acres) will be deeded to the Water District upon completion of the land filling. Our initial plans are to create trails and wildlife areas and to keep and or replant as many trees as possible. We already own the wooded area from the edge of 45 at the bridge west to the gully (about 8 acres).
Some person said something about the District taking the land via 'eminent domain' procedures. We would have to pay the fair appraised price for it under that scenario! Where do we get the money? Lets say the appraisal comes in at a million an acre, and we have to fork over 10-15 million! That requires a 10-15 Million dollar bond issue (which will be higher for costs of the bond issue) and we also have to get a vote of the residents to approve that bond. So, everyone along the south end of EO will say go for it, and the other 1800 homeowners will say 'Hang on a second"! We have been over that road several times and it just doesnt make any sense at all. “Eminent domain” laws require that we have reason and need to use the land for municipality purposes (plant expansion, lift stations, etc.), not to just sitting vacant and wooded. We cannot just “take” property because we want to or do not like what the property owner is doing with the property. We have talked some about a 'sound wall'. That is a far more feasible undertaking. The District already has some easements adjacent to the south end of EO going west and it is possible to get a 'sound wall' built there. We might get some help from the developer on that also but it has not been discussed with them. The other side of the coin here is the 'sound wall' may not do all we want and it will be expensive. About 1200 foot of 10-12 wall will cost a ton! We have been hoarding money to buy back outstanding bonds early as some of them are callable in the next few years. We have already saved taxpayers a couple million dollars doing this. Spending 5-6 million on that, 3 million on the sewer plant and the 1.5 million on rehabbing old sewer lines will take almost every penny we have ratholed. So, choices will have to be made and I am not sure there are 3 votes, a majority, on the board to build a wall. I probably would not vote for it myself unless we get a huge windfall in money somehow and we are NOT raising taxes or any other fees to do this. We continue to diligently pay as we go with cash and continues to lower District taxes.
I urge everyone to go look at every development this developer has done and then look at the money they are putting into that land. They will have to sell it for a ton of money and something that costs that much will be nice! They have NEVER built anything that was not really nice and I dont think they will this time either. They have a finite amount of water and sewer capacity allocated to the property so forget about high occupancy buildings or low income apartments. We went down that road about 5 years ago when we were approached to build 700 apts on the east side of 45 and those folks could not afford the 6-7 million it would take to get water and sewer capacity and we have successfully fought off low income apartments in the District twice. Also, someone said something about keeping the trees, well, I think the logic of clearing them was you cant keep a tree alive if you put 4 foot of dirt around the base of it. It will die and the dirt has to be put there.
Yes we will have some noise, a LOT of noise in some cases, but we plan on having a tree barrier there in the easements and our right or ways and I promise you we will explore the 'sound wall' issue, but me personally, being straight up honest with you, I will have to have a great confidence it will significantly reduce the noise levels before I vote to spend a million dollars on it! In maybe 4 years, hopefully we will have almost all of them with 2 story buildings on them that will help a bit in the noise issue.
I know I haven't answered some, all or any questions but if you have a specific thought or idea I am willing to hear it and do my best to answer. Please keep in mind I am only one of 5 on the board. I also respectfully ask you to consider the past 25 years of service our directors have given to the district. Three of us were prior EOHA presidents, and all three of us participated in the initiation and attainment of the revised deed restrictions in Enchanted Oaks. I was recently elected to the EOHA Board again but resigned because the directors wanted to reduce the numbers from 9 to 7. What I hope you do is to look at the big picture rather than a single issue. The 5 existing Water Board members care about the District as much as you and will continue to improve and protect our neighborhoods as we have for the past 34 years.