On Tuesday night, the Forney City Council voted 6-1 to approve the highly controversial site plans for a Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers to be located on the southeast corner of FM 548 and the US Highway 80.
Listed on the official agenda as three separate actions items, the Forney City Council went a good three rounds before ultimately voting to present the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) with a letter requesting that the state agency overturn its latest FM 548 traffic analysis which prohibits a southbound “left lane turn" into the undeveloped property.
Addressing developer Will Tolliver, Mayor Rick Wilson said “First of all I want to say that we did have an agreement through an RFP (Request for Proposal) that we would not have any left hand turns out of that location, that we agreed to up front.”
As has been previously reported, the Forney City Council authorized the Forney Economic Development Corporation to put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to sell the undeveloped property which the city had purchased from TxDOT.
Concerned about traffic at this intersection, the City Council very specifically inserted wording into the bid proposal that prohibited any new property owner from installing a left turn into the property from southbound FM 548.
However when the property was ultimately sold to the Leon Capital Group, the “prohibitive language” used in the RFP was accidentally, inadvertently left off the sales contract and property deed.
Responding to Mayor Wilson's questions, Leon Capital Group Managing Director Will Tolliver spent about five minutes describing the entire process his employer has gone through since purchasing the property from the Forney Economic Development Corporation.
Tolliver said “We feel like without any communication beforehand, we got a little bit of the rug pulled out from under us. So now, Cane’s has hundreds of thousands of dollars in design and engineer costs invested, not to mention the $2.5 million dollars we paid the EDC for the property. So we decided to table it and come up with a better solution but we haven’t been able to do that.”
Tollivar said “Since then Cane’s has terminated their contract, Taco Cabana terminated their lease and here we sit with a piece of undevelopable property because we can’t get the access approved.”
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers Director of Property Development, Robert Montgomery, also addressed the council and neither he nor Tolliver expressed any sympathy for the motorists or residents dealing with the daily traffic congestion at the FM 548 and FM 1641 intersections.
The only elected official interested in questioning this developer was Mayor Rick Wilson, who asked several questions about the safety issues addressed in the latest TxDOT traffic analysis of this intersection.
Mayor Wilson said “I would just employ Raising Cane’s to be a good corporate citizen to the community by realizing what they will do to the congestion that is already at that intersection. The study proved that if the railroad arm goes down and a school bus is between the intersection and the drive, coming right into Raising Cane’s if somebody blocks the intersection, that traffic arm will actually hit the school bus. Are you aware of that?”
To which Leon Capital Group developer Will Tolliver stated “Raising Cane’s and private businesses can’t be held responsible for how school bus driver’s drive.”
With former Mayor Darrell Grooms sitting in the audience with these developers, it quickly became obvious just who is pulling the strings attached to Council Member’s Shaun Myers and Robbie Powers.
Growing a spine because his mentor was in the room, it was incredible to observe Shaun Myers, the most immoral council member the voters of Forney have ever elected, watch for the approval of Darrell Grooms as he profusely thanked this developer for coming back before the Council.
Myers said “I’m glad you came back. I sat in the audience right over there last year and I was embarrassed by what I saw. It’s been my intention since I got elected to bring you guy’s back.”
Responding to Myers, Mayor Rick Wilson stated “Well, I think it’s appalling to hear you say that considering the safety of the public is wasting time. But I guess we’ll have to move on from here.”
Council Member Cory McGee never said a word about the issues surrounding this development, and neither did Council Member Kevin Moon, although both these council member’s voted to approve the site plans as presented.
Council Member David Johnson had no questions about the safety and traffic congestion issues surrounding this project, however he did request legal variation from the city attorney regarding exactly how the motion to approve the site plans would need to be worded by Council Member Myers.
Without regard for the safety of the residents traveling through this interstation daily, Council Member’s Mary Penn, Robbie Powers and Shaun Myers each visibly kissed up to this developer; undoubtedly at the direct instruction of Darrell Grooms.
After the three Raising Cane’s action items were discussed and voted upon, the next discussion on Action Item #9 revealed that Assistant City Manager Wendle Medford would be holding a meeting with TxDOT officials on Wednesday morning.
Medford explained that this was his regularly scheduled meeting with TxDOT, and that he had recently added the FM 548 traffic analysis to the meetings’ agenda for discussion.
Medford stated that he would appreciate a couple of Council Member’s attending the meeting to provide insight into the councils' intention should TxDOT refuse to reverse their traffic safety ruling.
Mayor Wilson immediately advised Medford that he would attend Wednesday’s meeting, and this fact got an instantaneous rise out of both council member’s Shaun Myers and Robbie Powers.
The residents of Forney who are concerned with the development of the intersection of FM 548 at Broad Street and or the development of the FM 548 - FM 1641 intersection, should not waste their time contacting the members of the Forney City Council.
Council Member’s Myers, Powers, Penn, Moon, Johnson and McGee simply do not care about your opinion on the development of this intersection; they’re loyalty has been solidified with any developer interested in Forney.
Residents wanting to voice their concerns about the traffic situation on FM 548 - FM 1641 may contact the TxDOT Dallas District Office or TxDOT Regional Supervisor Brenda Callaway by email at Brenda.Callaway@txdot or by phone at (972) 962-3617.
Written by: Denise Bell