Friday, January 20th, was an exciting night for many in attendance at the Annual Awards Banquet & Casino Night held at the Hyatt Place in Garland. Some won awards, some won prizes and some won big at the black jack and craps tables - it was truly “A Night of Stars”.
2012 Annual Award Recipients: Member of the Year - Saxbys Business of the Year – Murphy Monitor Ambassador of the Year – Pam Arnell (All Around Girl) and Linda Yoo (Persona Marketing) New Member of the Year – Ed Williamson/HD Remodeling Volunteer of the Year – Sammie Hampton Business that Continues to Impact – Peak Physical Therapy Plano Chamber Colorful Character – Jose Santamaria Chairman’s Award: Jim Moebius, DVM (Murphy Road Animal Hospital) and Marv Williams (Healthy Living Solutions)
New location for Murphy Chamber luncheons Join us Tuesday, Feb. 21 for our chamber luncheon in a new location! This year, we will meet at the Murphy Activity Center, 201 North Murphy Road (across the street from City Hall, in the former Murphy Fitness Center building).
The Murphy Economic Development Corporation has developed a new initiative aimed at supporting and expanding Murphy businesses. “Buy Murphy!” will employ a multi-pronged approach to entice residents and outside consumers to shop Murphy.
Geographically, Murphy is surrounded by established (McKinney, Plano, Richardson) and small and growing communities (Wylie, Sacshse), offering consumers an expansive and dizzying array of shopping and dining choices. In Murphy alone, there are 136 businesses, in addition to 30 out-of-home businesses, as of Dec. 31, 2011.
To entice consumers to shop in Murphy, the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will roll out a business directory, shop local incentive programs, training opportunities, partnerships, marketing and a dine in Murphy program.
The Murphy business directory/database will be launching point for ShopsQA, an online marketing tool that will allow anyone to join the “Buy Murphy!” email list. ShopsQA will provide businesses free features such as links to their websites; directions on Google search; and email blasts used to announce deals, coupons and events.
Through ShopsQA, businesses will also be able to participate in in-house or on-site training from the Collin Small Business Development Center programs through Collin College. Other partnership and training opportunities will be offered through the Murphy Chamber of Commerce, which will conduct one-on-one meetings with businesses to discuss program and marketing opportunities, industry issues and growth potential.
In addition to ShopsQA, the EDC will launch R-TIP and Munch in Murphy incentive program. R-TIP, a receipt turn-in program, is geared to act as an investment to inject stimulating funds into the Murphy market and increase interest for shopping locally first.
For every $250 in receipts submitted to the city by a Murphy resident, they will receive a $25 gift card to the Murphy establishment of their choice. The program will allow a maximum of three gift cards per month per resident.
Munch in Murphy is an outreach incentive program intended as an investment to encourage consumers to think of Murphy restaurants and eating establishments by offering an in-hand incentive—Munch in Murphy Money.
Local establishments that choose to participate in the program will accept $5 Munch in Murphy Money—one per customer per visit—and then will submit it back to the city for reimbursement. The $5 voucher will include a QR code linking to the Munch in Murphy Web page.
Below is a breakdown of Murphy businesses, as well as key demographics that will impact local businesses growth:
Population: 17,700 7-year growth: 300 percent Average household income: $110,000 Median income: $91.163 Average age: 35-44 Homeowners: 89.75 percent Average house value: $255,000
Food: 26 Service: 25 Health: 23
Retail: 14 Spa: 12 Restaurant: 9
Realty: 5 Grocery: 5 Gas: 5
Auto: 5 Bank: 4 Private Schools: 2
Newspaper: 1 (Guess which newspaper was considered a Murphy business? It wasn’t the Messenger!)
The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the application of Winkelmann and Associates, representing D.R. Horton, for two construction plats at The Gables at North Hill. The Parks Lots plat is located at the intersection of North Hill Lane and Gene Autrey Lane and the Phase 2B plat is southwest of McCreary Road and McWhirter Road.
Both plats are on property zoned Planned Development (PD) district for single family uses. The homebuilder has a strong presence in the DFW metroplex. In fact, according to the Dallas Business Journal, Fort Worth-based D.R. Horton Inc. has been the number one homebuilder in North Texas for the past three years.
City staff said the developer met the minimum requirements for the PD but special provisions will need to be taken regarding the site’s easements and right-of-ways as agreed upon between the city and the developer and engineers.
Easements and right-of-ways allow developers to access owned land for different purposes—in this case they allow the builder to construct homes.
The other item on the agenda was to consider the application of Forestar Real Estate Group requesting approval of a Specific Use Permit for a hospital facility, professional offices and a concept plan on the property zoned Neighborhood Service District located at the northeast corner of FM 544 and Heritage Parkway.
Forestar requested that the Commission postpone consideration of the application until next month’s Planning & Zoning meeting scheduled for Jan. 23, 2012.
With Murphy residents experiencing the growth of their own community, they find that new businesses aren’t limited only to the city, nicknamed, “Life Lived at Your Pace,” but also to its eastern neighbor, Wylie.
Wylie, it would seem, is busting at the seams as well. Country Club Road was recently completed near the high school, but also the Target shopping area is continually growing with new businesses signing leases and expanding their footprint in the north east part of the Metroplex. The city of Wylie recently opened its new municipal complex, which was recently featured by the Texas Society of Architects in Texas Architect magazine.
Craig Kelly, public information officer for the city of Wylie, said that Rack Room Shoes and a Ross store will soon be part of the landscape. Both stores will be located between Target and Petsmart.
Viewpoint Bank, which has been anchoring the northwest corner of the business development, will soon be joined by a Rosa’s Café. Two other smaller storefronts will soon join the lineup, including an AT&T store and Eyemasters.
Across the street from Woodbridge Crossing, construction is already underway on an Aldi Grocery store, which also will have a Cartopia Car Wash nearby.
Murphy residents stand to benefit from growth and expansion not only at home, but also from what its neighbors are doing. So, living life at your pace might mean, stepping it up to a longer stride.
It has come to my attention that an email regarding the approval of Walmart has been circulating around town.? This email contains the following statement:
I intend to file a referendum with the City to reverse that modification to make it go back to multiple junior anchor stores, then Wal-Mart cannot build because the land won\'t be appropriate for their use.? The City avoids a lawsuit from both the land owner and Wal-Mart, and residents get what the popular vote wants.? I think this was what City Council was trying to lead me to do without saying specifically how to do it.? They had no choice but to follow the rules of the approval process or face discrimination lawsuits.
The statement that Council wants someone to lead an effort in support of a referendum is not accurate.? The Council as a body did not communicate, and has never deliberated or made any statement regarding a referendum. Furthermore, it is my opinion that the Council did not approve Walmart because we had no other choice or were afraid of a lawsuit.? We voted to approve Walmart because after carefully weighing the pros and cons (and there clearly are both), we felt that it was the best course of action for the city.
What are the positives of a Walmart coming to Murphy?? The easy answer is it generates a lot of sales tax revenue.? Murphy is overly dependent on property taxes.? The plan has always been for sales tax revenues to grow and take the place of building permit revenue.? Unfortunately, economic development has been stagnant and build-out (when we get no more revenue from building permits) is not too far away.? Walmart will go a long way toward helping us diversify our tax base and enable us to keep property taxes low.? This is essential to maintaining a vibrant community.
For me, an even more important benefit is the extra business it will generate for our existing businesses throughout the city.? This will help them succeed and become profitable.? It will also help attract new businesses.? The anticipated traffic that Walmart will generate has already led to increased interest in properties throughout the city.? This will help the Marketplace fill out and become a more healthy and sustainable development.? It will help us attract the shops and restaurants we have all been seeking.? I think the increased traffic will also force TxDOT to work with us to address the traffic problems we already face.
If we had denied Walmart, I personally believe they would have looked to build on the other side of Target inWylie.? If that were to happen, we could say goodbye to economic development in Murphy.? All of the energy and synergy would be headed out of town, including the shops and restaurants we want.? Traffic would still increase and we would get no benefits.
Walmart has a lot of detractors and I don’t support all of their business practices, but many of those same complaints could be made toward other businesses in Murphy, too.? Walmart is already a member of the Murphy business community, and my interaction with them has been nothing but positive.? They give generously to support our public service departments and community events.? Allowing them to move across the street and sell more items that you cannot currently buy in Murphy is a good thing, in my opinion.
Finally, we were able to get Walmart to agree to build to a very high level of architecture, landscaping, and building standards (higher than Murphy Marketplace).? It will be all brick and stone with large glass foyers inspired by our City Hall complex.? This was a crucial step in carrying our desired building standards throughout the city.? The prior landowner has always refused to build to those standards.? He rightly pointed out that this property is situated between a storage unit, railroad track, Sonic Drive In and Walgreens (with very low architectural standards).? I don’t think we could persuade anyone else to make the significant and costly upgrades Walmart has agreed to make.
I could go on, but I think I have made my point.? In the end, this was not an easy decision for council to make, and it only came after careful consideration of all the pertinent information, including the input of both the proponents and opponents of Walmart.? I recognize that there are strong feelings against Walmart and that is understandable, but I firmly believe that allowing them to move their business across the street and expand their offerings was the right decision to make.? Given that it was a unanimous decision of council, we all apparently came to the same conclusion.
The matter of a referendum is also concerning, as it could lead to costly litigation involving the city.? The City of Canyon, Texas went through a similar event in which a referendum was used to challenge a zoning ordinance.? After deliberating the issue, the Court of Appeals ruled that a referendum could not be used to challenge zoning on a specific piece of property.?? If that is the case, the city may not be able to accept a referendum except through litigation.? Based on our experience with other law suits, it would take years to go through this process and come at a great financial cost to the city.
Sorry to be so long-winded, but this is an important matter.? If you know of residents who would not be aware of this situation, could you please forward this email to them.? I want to make sure we are all making informed decisions and no one signs a petition under the guise that City Council is encouraging this action.
Thank you, Mayor Baldwin
In response to the letter from Mayor Baldwin, Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem Colleen Halbert sends out a qualifying statement:
This was a letter solely from the Mayor and not a communication from any other member of Council. We deliberated at the meeting and each based our vote on our own understanding of the facts and input. I encourage you to contact each Councilmember individually rather than take this as a City Council communication.