Denton residents are rallying to prevent development in the rural parts of the city, voicing concern that green spaces could be replaced with urban areas.
The residents have organized themselves into a group called Friends of Northeast Denton, which is dedicated to preserving the rural areas of the city, particularly Hartlee Field.
Their preservation efforts began when the Don Carter property bordering Hartlee Field Road went up for sale.
Multiple entities vied to turn the grounds into a residential area, according to the group’s website. The property has since been purchased. The new owner intends to develop 1,800 homes.
Some residents believe that development increases traffic and disrupts nature around the area.
“We know development is coming. We just believe it should be responsible development — and preserve these special spaces for all of Denton to enjoy,” reads the Friends of Northeast Denton website.
The group organized a bike rally on September 16, riding from the city courthouse to the Hartlee Field area before returning to engage in a protest, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.
Members of the group and other residents attended the Denton City Council’s latest meeting on Tuesday wearing shirts reading “Save Northeast Denton.”
Several residents spoke against the city’s prioritization of development at the meeting.
“Rather than neighborhoods where people can put down roots, you’ve been paving the way for more apartments and homes and are annihilating our green spaces in the process — the very spaces that provide oxygen, shade, and serenity to any city,” said Danna Zoltner, according to the DRC.
During the meeting, Katherine Landdeck, another Denton local, claimed that council members had previously told them that attending the meeting with 50 people would prompt the council to listen. Landdeck said she arrived with 80 others at the August 15 meeting over one month ago to no avail.
“Please let us know how many more you need us to bring,” Landdeck implored the council, per DRC. “How many more people need to participate for you to listen?”
Denton Chief of Staff Ryan Adams said that a meeting between the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission and the city council was originally set for October 17 to discuss the plan for the area, but the meeting has been canceled.
“The next step in the process is for staff to conduct interviews with internal and external stakeholders to discuss potential recommendations and implementation strategies to present to [Planning and Zoning] and city council over the coming months,” said Adams, according to the DRC.
Margie Ellis, chair of the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission, said that the Northeast Denton Area Plan, a framework established to develop the “vision” of the area, is still under development and that no zoning changes have occurred yet.
“We as a city have been forced to be reactive to development pressures because we haven’t taken the proactive approach and planned,” said Ellis, according to the DRC. “We are finally doing that now, or trying to.”