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Development hinges on 8 voters

Profile image for By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
By John D. Harden / Staff Writer

Along a winding, unpaved road in an area between Argyle, Flower Mound and Northlake, three mobile homes sit surrounded by more than 1,200 acres of barren fields.

In Tuesday’s election, the eight registered voters who live there can either approve or deny more than $100 million in bonds that would reignite a stalled residential development in the area. The bonds are expected to be used by developers to develop water and sewer infrastructure.

That area, known as Canyon Falls, was turned into two separate utility districts by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2008, in an effort to develop a community of 1,700 homes.

The Canyon Falls special district was created by petitions signed by a majority of the people holding titles to the land in the proposed districts, and the petitions were submitted to the TCEQ for approval.

After gaining TCEQ approval, however, financial hurdles forced Highland Capital Real Estate Advisors and McGinnis Real Estate to put the development on hold in 2009, file for bankruptcy protection in 2010 and eventually sell the land in 2012.

In July, Connecticut- and Massachusetts-based Wheelock Street Capital bought the 1,240-acre Canyon Falls development from the real estate developers for an undisclosed amount.

Wheelock officials said they plan to develop the area into a residential and commercial hub. Local officials expect the value of the project to top $1 billion by completion.

Canyon Falls is located along Interstate 35W about two miles north of Northwest Regional Airport.

The development is separated into two districts — a municipal district and a water control and improvement district. Five voters reside in the utility district, and three live in the water control district.

The responsibilities of each district are similar, according to the TCEQ. The districts are tasked with making the necessary improvements to prevent floods, irrigate land, establish drainage and supply water and sewer services.

In each district, residents can vote to approve or deny $50 million in bonds, appoint a five-member board of directors and give the districts authorization to collect taxes.

The bonds and the tax collections are expected to help fund the infrastructure needed to support the development. The bonds also will go toward administrative, maintenance and operational costs, according to a Canyon Falls engineering report.

Attempts to contact residents living in the mobile homes were unsuccessful after several visits. According to Denton County tax records, Canyon Falls Land Partners LP owns the mobile homes.

Calls to candidates for the two boards of directors were not returned. The directors will be responsible for the business of the district and daily operations.

Mike Rafferty, Wheelock’s Texas operations director, said crews are expected to begin work on the main road leading into the development site, Cleveland Gibbs Road, this year. Rafferty said the company expects the first houses to appear by the fourth quarter of 2013.

According to Northlake officials, zoning in the development will be low-density residential, with homes priced between $250,000 and $1 million.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is .