County OKs firm for thoroughfare plan

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Denton County commissioners took steps to accommodate the county’s growth Tuesday by asking a firm to create a thoroughfare plan.

Commissioners unanimously approved an evaluation committee’s recommendation of Freese and Nichols Inc. as the firm to develop the Denton County Thoroughfare Plan. The plan will outline where county officials plan for roads to go in the future so potential residents and business owners know where they could build.

“Based on the input we get from engineers, we will reserve right of way,” Commissioner Hugh Coleman said. “If someone wants to come into Denton County and build a house, a building, a convenience store, we won’t permit them to come close to the road.”

Coleman said the danger of not having a plan in place is that people can end up building right up to the road and may cause the future displacement of businesses or homes.

The cost for developing the plan is not known at this time, but now that the firm has been selected, negotiations on price can begin, officials said.

Coleman said the county estimated costs at $100,000, but the exact amount is yet to come.

Commissioner Andy Eads said that one of the key first steps is collecting the plans for each one of the county’s municipalities and seeing how they interact with one another and the county plan.

“We’ve done a great job of expanding our state highway grid here in the county, but we will be also looking at how we expand our county roads for the next 20- and 30-year horizons,” Eads said. “This will help our cities identify these roads so they can plan accordingly and annex new property in the unincorporated area of the county and also [residential] developers as they will be able to have a reliable source to look to for future traffic and planning.”

Creating the plan has been a priority among commissioners for a while, Eads said, and officials are glad to have outside expertise on board to coordinate and help advise the county on what the thoroughfare plan should look like in the years to come.

“It will be a collaborative effort. Municipalities, the county, the state and the public will have an opportunity to give input,” Eads said. “We want this to be a user-friendly document that people can refer to and that it does not collect dust on a shelf.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.


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