It’s an incontrovertible fact that Sonoma Verde is a beautiful planned development in McLendon-Chisholm. I have supported the efforts to make the development the best that it can be and the fact that I think it should never have been built in our city doesn’t change that.
Recently, however, three of my key supporters who live in Sonoma Verde made me aware that my ongoing fight against those city leaders that approved the development, among their other actions, can come across as animosity towards those who live there, which for me is a most regrettable consequence that is not a true reflection of my heart.
My frustration was, and has always been focused on those current and former city leaders who, even after their attempts to mislead and deceive citizens failed to stop last year’s landslide vote that rolled back the outrageous tax rate increase and catapulted me into office, they continue to fight for and justify their actions that betrayed the public trust.
One act of betrayal was their approval of two high-density developments, approved within weeks of one another in 2005. The first was the Triple Creek Development, which planned to put 1,876 homes on just 409 buildable acres, followed by Sonoma Verde, which actually proposed far less density than the former. The problem was that both proposed developments violated a long-standing city ordinance that’s still in effect today, that requires a minimum of 1.5 acres per homesite, which was established to protect the wide-open spaces and more rural lifestyle that citizen’s desired. So rather than changing the city’s regulations or mailing citizens any notice about either of the two proposed developments, these city leaders approved them both.
Of course, Sonoma Verde has moved forward and Triple Creek has not (the developer died), which is why Sonoma Verde, and not Triple Creek, has become political shorthand for a “high-density development that violates the standards that most in our city want to be protected.”
The fact is, I love Sonoma Verde and have been thrilled by those who are drawn to McLendon-Chisholm because of it, especially those who embrace the more rural lifestyle of the community and the city’s wide-open spaces. Of course, rhetoric can be hollow, which is why I hope that citizens will judge me by my actions, including the following facts:
- I recruited Adrienne Balkum, a long-time Sonoma Verde resident (she and her husband were actually the third residents to move into the new development) and vocal advocate for homeowners, as well as being a long-time supporter of mine, to run for city council (she’s running unopposed and will be seated in May).
- Last month, I fought to try and have her appointed to fill the vacancy left by the untimely death of Councilman Jerry Klutts.
- Close friends of ours have chosen to build their home in Sonoma Verde, which should be completed sometime in May. I would never encourage friends to move somewhere that I did not feel was a good fit for them, and I know that they will love living there. We can’t wait until they move in!
Though one of the key reasons that I was elected was to help keep future high-density developments like it out of our city, Sonoma Verde is here to stay and I am committed to seeing that those who live there are as much a part of the community as everyone else. In that light, I will also be more thoughtful in my tone and vernacular when making reference to it because I don’t want to leave the impression that my attitude towards this part of our community is anything but supportive.
Finally, for those who live there it is important to remember that if I am successful in keeping others out, the value of the homes inside the Sonoma Verde development (the only development with homes on less than 1 acre lots in the city) are sure to increase and should become one of the more desirable developments in Rockwall County!