A Petition Could Force a Local-Option Election for November to Allow Liquor Sales in the City
Residents of Lewisville could soon buy packaged liquor from stores in Lewisville instead of driving to Highland Village, if voters approve. A group of Lewisville residents has completed the first step of a process to launch a petition drive calling for a local option liquor election. Since the last local option election in 2005, Lewisville residents have been able to buy beer and wine locally, but residents looking for distilled spirits must still drive to nearby Highland Village.
City Secretary Julie Heinze received the petition request last Friday, and verified that it meets the requirements under Texas law, having been signed by 10 eligible Lewisville voters, and a notice of intent published in a newspaper of general circulation. The petition calls for a measure to legalize “The legal sales of all alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption only”. Since beer and wine sales are already allowed, the effect of the petition would be to allow the sale of distilled spirits. Mixed drinks are already allowed to be sold for on-premise consumption in Lewisville bars and restaurants.
The petition is being organized by Eppstein Group, a Dallas-based firm that provides these services on behalf of its clients. We have reached out to Eppstein for more information and have yet to hear back from them, but we understand that liquor retailer Total Wine and More is pushing for the change. We have also attempted to contact Total, but had not yet heard back from them by the time we posted this story. Interestingly, the public notice of intent was published December 7th of 2012 - over six months ago in the Denton Record Chronicle.
The next step in the process is for Heinze to generate the petition forms. The organizers then have 60 days to gather 4,422 signatures in order to get it on the ballot for a special election for the voters. That number is equivalent to 35% of the registered voters in Lewisville (both Dallas and Denton County portions) who voted in the last gubernatorial election. Once the petition is returned, the City Secretary would then verify the signatures as valid voters, and certify whether the requirements had been met.
Organizers could not have asked for better weather for SummerFest, which was held Saturday at Westlake Park on Lewisville Lake in Hickory Creek. The event itself was free, although admission to the park costs $4 per carload. Westlake park is managed jointly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Our Lands and Waters Foundation. SummerFest was held in conjunction with National Get Outdoors Day.
The event featured live bands, a classic car show, a cardboard boat regatta, a fishing competition, and the North Texas Steak Cook-Off. Dozens of competitors in the steak cooking contest had the area smelling of delicious smokiness, and were sharing appetizers and steak with the public. One volunteer we spoke to said that the parking lot had over 500 cars, but that since there were no admission gates, it was hard to estimate the crowd. Still, for a first-year event, that kind of attendance is laudable.
Nearby, scores of boats were lashed together for a huge party in the water near the old dam.
Our Lands and Waters Foundation PR and Marketing Directory Stephanie Berndt said that the event’s purpose is to raise awareness of the public’s parks. “They’re your parks, and we want people to know what kind of amenities are available in the parks,” said Berndt. “We have wonderful picnic sites; we have pavillions for rent; we have the boat launch,” she added.
Berndt explained that the foundation partners with the Corps to co-manage and enhance the parks, repairing and upgrading amenities, as well as trying to open closed parks. The organization hopes to put in a new swim beach in Oakland Park. The organization, a 501(c)(3), offers free membership, with a monthly e-newsletter. For more information check out the Our Lands and Waters Foundation’s Facebook page or website.
It's Thursday morning, and burnout continues. I should probably be at work right now, but my youngest son has surgery later this morning and my nerves are up, so we're sitting at the house killing time before we have to take him up to the hospital. It's nothing serious; just a little procedure to correct a congenital issue with one of his ankles. If it goes well, he'll get the other one done later this year. He is super-excited about it, and not the least bit nervous that I could tell. (Update 6:30 p.m. - He's home now, all drugged up, and doing fine)
As my regular readers know, I am a computer programmer / consultant in my day job, so normally I write code for a living. The past few weeks I've been gathering requirements and writing proposals, estimates, and functional specifications for a big project. What it has meant is many hours on the phone talking to folks, lots of time hunting through thousands of programs constituting millions of lines of code, and a lot of head scratching and reckoning. It's daunting sometimes being faced with huge problems where you start out with a goal in mind, but too many unknown unknowns.
What has been worse for me in the past week is that having taken a SWAG at an initial estimate, then gone back and taken the deep dive to gather more details, my estimates have generally gone up and the hi/lo ranges gotten bigger - which is the opposite of what should happen with more information. So each and every day this week and last, usualy by 3 p.m. my brain has wanted to shut down, saying "enough of this".
It's been awful hard to keep going, because my favorite activity is just to take a single well-defined issue, and try to write some code to solve the problem. Even better is when the problem is well-defined, and you tell me that it can't be solved, but then give me the time I need to prove you wrong. I need some time off, but I really need to land this project.
Saturday night / Sunday morning was awesome. (Video is here.) Now that is how a city welcomes home champions. At Monday night's City Council meeting, the Mayor recognized them again, and then yesterday the city had a pep rally at City Hall for them. City staff are looking into what it would take to add some recognition to the water tower on I-35E.
On Tuesday afternoon, I joined what seemed to be 100-200 others at the Lewisville 2025 Plan "Big Ideas" event at the MCL Grand Theater. I wish I could say that it was better-attended than it was. There were a lot of familiar faces there. The event basically was a venue for citizens to learn about existing plans, talk with city staff in various departments about how things currently are, and provide big ideas about where we would like to be in 2025. At this point in the process, it's all about brainstorming and gathering the ideas to see what the trends are, and what people are thinking about. Going in, I couldn't think of much, I have to admit, but after viewing some of the ideas that other folks had shared on some of the paper boards there, the ideas started flowing, and we contributed quite a few. I took my oldest son with me to this. At 14, I think he might have been one of the youngest there; Councilman T.J. Gilmore had his kids there too.
I've been somewhat familiar with a lot of the plans just by my proximity to the issues from tracking and reporting on them here, and because I've attended the last several years of Council retreats and budget workshops. But it was still neat to get another look and see details that I had either missed before, or forgotten.
There will be two more of these Big Ideas gatherings on June 19th at the Senior Activity Center, and July 18th at the Municipal Annex. We strongly encourage everyone to attend one or both. Even if you don't have any ideas now, or don't feel strongly about anything, you may change your mind once you see what others have been thinking. For me, putting check marks next to the ideas of others was equally worthwhile.
Events This Saturday, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m., the Our Lands and Waters Foundation presents SummerFest On the Lake. The event is in Westlake park on Lake Lewisville, which is in the city of Hickory Creek.
Battle Of The Badge softball tournament benefiting the Children's Advocacy Center for Denton County (CACDC) happens this Saturday. Numerous local police and fire agencies will send their teams to compete.
On Saturday, June 22nd, Denton County Democratic Party’s Democratic Gun Club will meet up at the range for some shooting. RSVP by June 14th. I only post this because people who have been brainwashed by the NRA wing of the Republican Party seem to think that all Democrats have the singular purpose in life of taking away their guns. While there may be some in our party with strong anti-gun views, the majority of us just seem to favor sensible regulations that are consistently and fairly enforced. This is especially true in Texas and throughout the rest of the south, and is why I have exactly zero fear of the government ever taking my guns away - no matter how loud the radical voices on either side of the issue may be.
Best Little Brewfest is June 22nd at Texas Motor Speedway. Proceeds benefit Cloud 9 Charities, Alzheimers Caregivers Support, and Teen Suicide Prevention. 50+ Craft brewers with over 100 beers will gather under one roof. Admission is $30, which is a little steep, given that you will probably not want to consume more than about $10 worth of beer if you are going to drive home, but it's for a good cause.
On June 1st, cities in the North Texas Municipal Water District started mandatory Stage 3 water restrictions due to drought, and may only water lawns once per week. City of Lewisville Staff posted the following comment on Facebook this week: "Lewisville is not a NTMWD customer and is not subject to those restrictions. Residents are, of course, encouraged to be wise about their water use. Per capita consumption in our city already is lower than the conservation target for the impacted cities, so good job everyone! Keep it up." Lewisville Lake is still at about 517 feet, or about 5 feet below conservation pool. Lewisville Public Works director Carole Bassinger said earlier this week that even with the rain, Dallas Water Utilities is pulling out water, so the level has not risen.
The Town of Flower Mound has created an anonymous tip line to help teens with drug problems get help. The program focuses on intervention outside the criminal justice system. Typically, police departments focus on law enforcement, so sometimes in the course of investigations, they may suspect people of drug use, but not have evidence to prosecute. This program sets out to cure the problem by working with the individuals' families to get help for the person. If you have information relating to a teenager using narcotics, please call the Flower Mound Police Sergeant Colin Sullivan at 972.874.3341 or the FMPD non-emergency line at 972.539.0525. All tips and information regarding teen narcotic use will remain confidential and no criminal charges will be filed, once information is provided.
During the school year, kids get nutritious meals at school. But kids are just as busy and just as hungry during the summer break. KIDS EAT FREE.
In an effort to help families in today’s challenging economic times S.Tracy Howard Project is sponsoring the Summer Food Service Program and meals will be provided to all children 18 years and younger without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. The program kicks off Monday, June 10th and will continue through August 24th, serving Breakfast Monday - Saturday between 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. and Lunch 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. A balanced hot meal and beverage will be provided at the following locations:
Bay Shore / Parc Lake Village 1901 Lakeview Cr Lewisville, TX 75057 Willow Ridge 797 S. Old Orchard Lewisville, TX 7506. Macon Manor Apts. 2534 Vintage Drive Farmers Branch, TX 75234 St. Charles Place Apartments 1090 S. Charles St Lewisville, TX 75057 Oak Tree Village 1595 Old Orchard Ln. Lewisville, TX 75067
Keep Lewisville Beautiful will hold a June Garden Secrets class at the Lewisville Library’s Crawford room on Thursday, June 13th, 2013 from 6-7pm. This informative class on “Landscaping with Stone” is the perfect class for learning about using hardscapes that don't require watering, how to implement different types stones in your landscapes, and the many ways stones can be used-pathways, retaining walls, borders, and even birdbaths! The key speaker for the class, Rudy Ramierez, is with Green Meadows, a local landscaping business. Bring your family, friends, and neighbors for this informative garden secrets class. We look forward to seeing you there! Don’t forget to bring your questions for the question/answer session.
This FREE gardening class will be held at the City of Lewisville Library in the Crawford room located at 1197 W. Main St., Thursday, June 13, 2013 from 6:00-7:00pm. Please call to reserve your spot! RSVP required by June 10th. This event is open to all participants (Lewisville residency not required).
The Lewisville City Council met in its regular scheduled meeting Monday night, June 3rd, 2013. The agenda for this meeting may be found here. These are the unofficial notes on the proceedings. Minutes are generally posted by the City Secretary after the following meeting. Councilman Leroy Vaughn was absent due to illness.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by the LHS Lady Farmers Softball Team. The Mayor then introduced the team to the audience, and praised them for bringing home the state championship. Farmers Coach Lori Alexander then presented Mayor Ueckert with a softball signed by the team. Mayor Ueckert presented the team with a proclamation celebrating their victory.
Business Next, the Council went into closed session to consider the appointments of Mayor Pro Tem, and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem. Back in open session, the Council selected Councilman Leroy Vaughn as Mayor Pro Tem, and Councilman TJ Gilmore as Deputy Mayor Pro Tem. The Mayor Pro Tem serves as a backup to the Mayor. In the Mayor’s absence, the Mayor Pro Tem (or Deputy Mayor Pro Tem) will take over the Mayor’s duties. It is typical for the Council to select these positions each year after elections, and for the positions to rotate among council members.
After a public hearing, the council approved a zone change for 432 Barfknect Ln. - from agricultural to light industrial.
No citizens wished to speak in the citizens’ forum portion of the meeting.
The consent Agenda - Items 1 - 7 passed unanimously without comment. Among these items was the approval of expenditure of $238,193 in consulting, materials, equipment, and installation for an upgrade of the AV and recording equipment in the Council chambers and work room at City Hall, as well as in the video control room. LTJ will explain more about this item in a future post, but what it means is that the city will be able to broadcast Council meetings, including workshop sessions on the city’s cable channel. The funding comes from a state-mandated 1% charge added to everyone’s cable bill, and can only be spent on capital equipment such as this.
Item 8: Council approved the preliminary plat of Highpoint Oaks Estates addition, which is a 21.245 acre parcel zoned estate townhouse (ETH) with 86 residential lots and five HOA maintained right-of-way areas located on the southwest quadrant of Vista Ridge Mall Drive and Denton Tap Road With one associated variance, as requested by JBI Partners, Inc., representing the Property Owner. Councilman Gilmore noted the council has approved over 250 single family houses this year.
Item 9: This was the consideration of a Brownfields assessment program application for the property at 1099 West Main St. Gilmore moved approval as presented, and Councilman Ferguson seconded. This item passed unanimously.
Item 10: This was a consideration of waiving the third floor rental fee for Community Services, Inc., to hold their energy assistance program workshop on June 22nd, 2013, as requested by Pauletta Hines, the Executive Director. Gilmore moved approval, with a second by Councilman Tierney. This item passed unanimously.
Item 11: Council approved dates related to the city’s budget process for next year. Council set the workshop session for Saturday August 3rd, with follow ups on August 5th and 6th if needed. LTJ will post a reminder as the date gets nearer, as well as an update afterwards regarding the proposed tax rates and budgets.
Item 12: Was the discussion and consideration of appointments to various City Boards/Commissions/Committees. The Council decided to take the normal route, which is to split up into three teams of two people each to interview candidates and make recommendations. Gilmore and Vaughn will work together; Ferguson and Tierney will work together; and Ueckert and Durham will work together. The specific committees to be worked on by each team was not formalized as far as we could tell, but Ueckert seemed to indicate in workshop that Ferguson’s team would take on Planning and Zoning.
Announcements: There will be a public pep rally Wednesday this week in front of City Hall to honor the Lady Farmers, Wednesday, June 5th, at Lewisville City Hall, 6PM.
Police Chief Russ Kerbow reminded everyone that Thursday is early release day for schools - pay attention to school zones. Battle of the Badge will be held at Toyota of Lewisville Railroad Park this Saturday, June 8th. Admission $5 - Children are free. Proceeds go to Denton County Childrens’ Advocacy Center. Several cities are participating.
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Gilmore noted that Lewisville’s 2025 Plan kick-off is Tuesday night at Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater, 4-8 p.m.
Councilman Ferguson urged residents to bring a lawnchair Tuesday night for the Downtown Fever concert right after that event at the MCL Grand. Leave it in your car until the concert. He also noted that on Friday nights, Visual Art League has acoustic jam sessions in the MCL Grand’s art gallery. There is a Dan Lattimore solo exhibit in the gallery. Asked about the Chalk This Way arts festival by Councilman Tierney, Ferguson said it “was awesome”. Ferguson said it was a good turnout, and that the brief rain did not hurt the artwork, and that vendors and the public seemed to be happy.
Mayor Ueckert once again thanked the softball team for representing our city so wonderfully.
The Lewisville Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a person who robbed the Bank of the West at 329 West Main Street on Friday, May 31.
The unknown suspect entered the bank at approximately 10:00 a.m., displayed a note and demanded cash. The suspect fled the bank in an unknown direction.
Detectives believe the suspect is a black male, 5’00”-5’02”, slim-medium build, with a dark complexion. He was wearing large sunglasses, jeans, and a long-sleeve button up shirt. Please note the unique markings on his cap.
Anyone with any information on this robbery should contact the Lewisville Police Department at 972-219-TIPS (8477) or Denton County Crime Stoppers at 800-388-TIPS (8477).
We're told that yesterday's Chalk This Way art festival in Old Town Lewisville may have had as many as 1,200 visitors over the course of yesterday, which is good for any event's first-year attendance - especially on a day where there were weather concerns. Here are some photos:
The Lewisville High School Lady Farmers Softball team has just won the state 5A championship in softball, with a 3-2 win over Kingwood.
It was an exciting game to watch. We'll link to the sportswriters' coverage of this as soon as we can, but I wanted our readers to know that parents and community members are planning an impromptu heroes welcome for the girls tonight as they roll back into town sometime around midnight to 1 a.m.
Update: 6/2/2013 - 2:18 a.m.:Lewisville, you are awesome! That is how a city welcomes home champions. We estimate that some 300-500 people lined up in the street for a grand welcome home for Farmer Softball at 1:30 in the morning. We have the video, and we'll try to get that posted this morning.
Update: 6/2/2013 - 4:32 a.m.: Here's the video from earlier this morning: