Friday, January 19, 2018

Fort Worth: Part 2. DR Horton's Dirty Drainage Deed

On December 19, 2017, I took this picture and sent it to the City of Fort Worth's Storm Water Management Division.....if you look at your water bill, we pay some pretty hefty fees for storm water drainage fees.

This is a photo of one of DR Horton's "retaining" walls located on the same property where DR Horton violated their Urban Forestry permit and destroyed over 100 mature, protected trees.  The "retaining" walls are supposedly designed to promote effective drainage of storm water.  I think the engineers may have underestimated the power of water.

Despite the recently cleaned out drainage ditches on Randol Mill Road, the storm water drainage overflowed DR Horton's "detention" pond and covered Randol Mill Road which made it impossible for motorists to tell where the road ended and the drainage ditches began. Very dangerous and a huge liability for the City of Fort Worth.

This is DR Horton's solution to their silt/sediment control problem.  Rocks.

What might be even more disturbing than DR Horton's solution to their storm water drainage problem is Fort Worth Storm Water Management Division's Assistant Director Greg Simmons' responses to my questions.

Were you aware DR Horton violated their Urban Forestry permit and removed more trees than they were allowed?   "Yes.  But, again, my e-mail wasn't about the permit."

How is it even possible for developers to obtain permits AFTER they have already done their dirty deed?  Who do I need to speak with about putting a stop to this?  "With regard to drainage issues, situations where a property owner starts work without a permit are handled on a case-by-case basis with the goal of ensuring the ultimate goal of our regulations still is met even though they got ahead of themselves.  I am not in a position to comment on how other Departments deal with such situations but I suspect it is similar."

Did DR Horton's drainage plan reflect that they would be removing all of the trees they did?  "Our drainage requirements, which are based on the regional standards, don't regulate tree removal and a developer's plan for leaving or removing trees has no bearing on their ability to meet drainage standards. The drainage plan is for us to verify that they have measures to mitigate additional flood or erosion risk regardless of the status of the tree stand, and there are ways to meet those standards with or without trees."

What will the City do to require the developer to reconcile the differences in the plan they submitted to the City but deviated from?  "The issues with their Urban Forestry Permit are not under my cognizance but I assume that the proceedings of the upcoming Urban Design Commission regarding this issue will answer this question."

Strike 2 for DR Horton.....but they'll probably get a walk....FW is the umpire.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fort Worth: DR Horton's dirty tree deed.

Acres of protected oak trees....

destroyed by DR Horton in the race to build more homes in Fort Worth.  

DR Horton is the greedy developer in this case.  Ironically,  DR Horton named this development Trinity Oaks, perhaps as a memorial to the over 100 trees DR Horton bulldozed violation of their Urban Forestry permit.   

DR Horton destroyed more trees than they were permitted and got busted when a concerned citizen called Urban Forestry and complained (and no, it wasn't me).  And in the typical Fort Worth Way fashion, the developer appeared before the Urban Design Commission in November 2017, after-the-fact, asking for a waiver of the requirement to preserve 25% of the existing canopy of trees they already destroyed.   

Fortunately for the citizens of Fort Worth who still value trees, the Urban Design Commission, expressed displeasure with what DR Horton did and asked a lot of questions DR Horton could not answer.  The case was passed as a result and is reset for this Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 10 AM.  

What DR Horton did was unacceptable and we need to send a very clear message to DR Horton and other developers that destroying our trees won't be tolerated and there will be a consequence!  DR Horton got greedy and cleared that land with the hopes of cramming as many single-family homes as they could on that property. 

If you are able to attend the Urban Design Commission meeting this Thursday at 10 AM, please do.  If you cannot attend, please send an email to the Urban Design Commission letting them know you support what they do and share their displeasure with DR Horton.  Ask the Urban Design Commission to require DR Horton to plant, at the very least, 5 times the deficiency as an effort to mitigate the loss of  those 100s of mature, protected trees.  It won't bring the trees back but it might teach DR Horton a valuable lesson by requiring them to give up some of their precious lot space to plant trees.  

Please send your email to and reference case # UFC 16-070.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Flooded Arlington Heights.....Failed by Fort Worth

Arlington Heights, like other areas of Fort Worth are flooding like never before and instead of fixing the flooding problems, Fort Worth is going to try to take the easy way out by buying out some of the very frustrated home owners.  Does anyone really believe these home owners will be justly compensated?  If Fort Worth gets away with this, Katy bar the door!

Just for the record, Arlington Heights hasn't always flooded.  The beautiful, historic neighborhood was established in the 1920s and only began experiencing flooding about a decade ago.  

So, what's Fort Worth been doing about this over the last decade?  

Well, in 2005, Fort Worth city staff estimated the cost to keep several areas of Fort Worth, including Arlington Heights, above water during rains at about $500 million.

Read more here:

Fast forward 12 years to 2017 and now that $500 million is a drop in the bucket.  City officials now believe the cost could exceed $1 billion and explain the aging storm water infrastructure can't keep up with the growth and development.  

So why is Fort Worth continuing to permit new development at a crazy rate knowing their aging infrastructure can't keep up?!  Almost sounds intentional and reckless to me.

Read more here:

Monday, July 11, 2016


Photo of Concrete Recycling Operation off Precinct Line and Norwood 

Got dust in your houses, cars, lungs?                                                                                                        

Do you know what's in that dust?

We used to have just plain old dirt dust from all the truck traffic and heavy equipment being used in the mining operations off Precinct Line, Norwood, and Trinity Blvd, but now we have silica dust.

Why do we have silica dust?

Because now we have 2 UNAUTHORIZED concrete recycling operations near our homes. No State-required air quality permits.  No City-required zoning.  No public hearings.  The developer just did it!

Remember the recent battle between the developer and the White Lake Hills neighborhoods?  This is exactly what they were fighting.  They didn't want a concrete recycling operation near their neighborhoods.  They stuck together and beat it! At least for now. The developer can try again in a year. Or maybe the developer won't bother and will just do this developer did!?

What's so dangerous about concrete recycling? What's silica dust?

This is what OSHA says about it:  

"Crystalline silica is an important industrial material found abundantly in the earth's crust.  Quartz, the most common form of silica, is a component of sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar.   

Silica dust is hazardous when very small (respirable) particles are inhaled.  These respirable dust particles can penetrate into the lungs and cause disabling and sometimes fatal lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer, as well as kidney disease.

Exposure to respirable silica occurs when cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, ceramic tiles, rock, and stone products." 

The Fort Worth Weekly recently published a short article about these unauthorized industrial operations but said our neighborhoods "aren't bothered".  

I think uninformed is more the case.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Fort Worth: Got Permits?

Question:  What’s worse than developer Wallace Hall trying to put a concrete recycling plant near east side neighborhoods?
Answer: Developer Ken Newell operating two concrete recycling plants near east side neighborhoods without permits or public hearings!
That’s exactly what Metroplex Sand & Gravel, owned by developer Ken Newell, is doing. At least Wallace Hall followed the rules.  Ken Newell has been developing without permits and expired permits for decades. Sure, he’s been caught a couple of times, but at the very worst, Fort Worth issued him a Notice of Violation and then allowed him to get the permit after the fact.  

Do you think the average citizen could get away with putting a concrete recycling plant in their front yard?  I don’t think so.  We’re issued citations and fined for the heinous acts of leaving our trash cans at the curb too long, building a fence a few inches too high, or worse, being the victim of a house fire. And we’re subjected to an army of city inspectors when building an oh-so-potentially-hazardous storage shed in our backyard.
Meanwhile, Ken Newell is allowed to operate concrete recycling plants without permits, public hearings, and inspections. These are industrial activities which spew carbon dioxide, silica, and dust into the air, into our lungs, and into our homes on the east side of Fort Worth.     
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the City of Fort Worth’s Environmental Division of Air Quality claim they were unaware of these operations until Wallace Hall’s plans brought attention to concrete recycling activities.  
Anyone want to bet what the consequences for developer Ken Newell will be?
To be continued…..  

Monday, April 18, 2016



Irresponsible industry and two-timing politicians and government agencies changed my life. As a Fort Worth citizen devastated by the negative impacts of urban gas drilling, I’m excited to announce the Fort Worth premiere of the documentary Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now.

The film is produced and directed by National Geographic’s Jon Bowermaster and takes a cross-country look at drilling, highlights stories of its victims, contamination, and the false promise of economic boom, and emphasizes the need for clean energy solutions. Several Fort Worth and area citizens are in this film.

I’m honored to be on the discussion panel with Jon Bowermaster, noted oceans expert, award-winning journalist, author, filmmaker, and six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council; Dr. Bill Luker, Jr., Urban Environmental Economist with a PhD. in Economics from UT-Austin; Mark Miller, Ph.D. in petroleum engineering, retired professor of petroleum engineering at UT-Austin, and current candidate for Texas Railroad Commission; and Calvin Tillman, former Mayor of DISH, Texas and current Deputy Mayor of Aubrey, Texas. Our panel will be moderated by Reverend Kyev Tatum, minister, civil rights activist, former collegiate athlete, and university administrator.

There are only 250 seats available for the Fort Worth viewing and they’re going fast so please reserve your free tickets at:

WHEN: April 21, 2016
5 PM to 8 PM
WHERE: The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76107
WHAT: Reception with cash bar begins at 5 PM. Meet the director, panel, and locals interviewed for the film.
Discussion panel at 6 PM.
Film premieres at 7 PM and is 110 minutes in length. The panel will be available after the film to answer your questions and discuss ways you can help.
WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND: Because we're all affected by irresponsible drilling and paid-off politicians and government agencies.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Permitting Affluenza

On March 9, 2016, our wonderful Fort Worth Zoning Commission voted 7-2 in favor of establishing a larger boundary around the historic Stockyards.  I, like many others, are thrilled with their decision and proud of them for representing the people's wishes.

The developers are acting like spoiled brats!  The larger boundary doesn't mean the area can't be developed, it just means more care and consideration will be taken into what is built in the area.  Lord knows permitting oversight in Fort Worth is on the endangered species list.

Just this week, Fort Worth's Asst. City Manager Fernando Costa had to eat some crow regarding permitting problems.  This ain't their first rodeo either.  Fort Worth is knee-deep in permitting snafus by developers who have an over-developed sense of entitlement and who are way too used to asking forgiveness instead of permission.  The developers know all too well that if their permitting problem is ever actually caught, the City won't make them take it down.  Below is just one example.

Developers in Fort Worth seem to enjoy permitting privileges the average citizen could only dream of and our Zoning Commissioners, minus the 2 who sold out, sent a message to developers and elected officials that Fort Worth's history is more precious than money.

By the way, our Zoning Commissioners aren't elected, they are appointed, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them get booted off the Zoning Commission as a result of their Stockyards-friendly, people-approved, developers-disappointed decision.  We need to support our brave Zoning Commissioners and thank them for speaking up for us.  

I think we should pack City Hall on April 5, 2016 and take note of which City Councilperson represents their citizens and which ones represent the developers.   The ones that don't represent the people need to be voted off the island!