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Denton City Council Elections – Survey of candidates and voting info

March 11, 2019

Election Information

What district am I in?
Look up your voter district by selecting the Locate My Voter District button under Election Resources. For additional elections information, including voter registration, voter ID requirements, and precinct information, please visit the Denton County Elections website at Questions can also be emailed to or call (940) 349-7718.

Where do I vote early for the May 4, 2019 City Council Election?

Early Voting will be held April 22 – April 30. Registered voters may vote at any early voting location.

Early Voting Location Address
University of North Texas Greek Life Center 621 S. Welch St.
Denton Civic Center* 321 McKinney St.
Denton County Elections Office 701 Kimberly Dr.
Robson Ranch Club House 9428 Ed Robson Cir.

* Note: The Civic Center will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 26 and CLOSED on Saturday, April 27 due to the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival.

Where do I vote on Election Day for the May 4, 2019 City Council Election?

Election Day is May 4, 2019. Registered voters may only vote in the district in which they are registered. Look up your voter district by selecting the Locate My Voter District button under Election Resources.Look up your voter district by selecting the Locate My Voter District button under Election Resources.

Election Day Voting Locations Address
District 1
Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center 1300 Wilson St.
Pecan Creek Elementary School 4400 Lakeview Blvd.
District 2
North Branch Library 3020 N. Locust St.
Denton I.S.D. Annex 230 N. Mayhill Rd.
District 3
North Lakes Recreation Center 2001 W. Windsor Dr.
University of North Texas Greek Life Center 621 S. Welch St.
Fire Station No. 7 4201 Vintage Blvd.
Robson Ranch Club House 9428 Ed Robson Cir.
District Four
Denia Recreation Center 1001 Parvin St.
L.A. Nelson Elementary School 3909 Teasley Ln.

Denton Candidate Questionnaire on Environmental Issues

This candidate questionnaire was put together by Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund and Denton Drilling Awareness Group. Responses were requested from all candidates. Only one candidate, John Ryan, did not respond to this questionnaire.

1. What would you propose to the Denton Development Code to address economic, social, and environmental costs associated with climate change? How can the city be a leader in reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring a more equitable future for our most vulnerable populations?

George Ferrie (D1) – Denton’s Development Code is currently being updated to reflect the growth of our city and will include several environmental solutions. My hope is that the Code provides a variety of solutions such as requiring new commercial properties to install water bottle filling stations and solar panels in an effort to lower their carbon footprint. Outside of the Development Code, I would also like to see the city install their own electric car charging stations at public parks and other city-owned destinations to increase the feasibility of electric cars for Denton residents. I also want to ensure that all city-owned properties utilize eco-friendly paper products to cut down on waste. Lastly, I would like to see Denton reinvest in community garden projects and our community market to produce local sustainable farming which can dramatically lower greenhouse emissions. These are a few ideas of many that could extensively improve Denton’s current environmental state to ensure that we have a safe, livable and enjoyable community for generations to come.

Gerard Hudspeth (D1) – The building code should reward and encourage more green building standards. This is already happening, by way of example the new Embassy Suites hotel is a LEED Gold certified building.  Another example, Habitat for Humanity homes are now built with spray-foam insulation to save energy.  The code needs to reward green energy construction.


Keely Briggs (D2) – Smart Development. Main thing is to Use and protect landscapes we have and not infringe on our sensitive areas.  Not build in flood plain. We made some updates to allow points for roof top gardens to help with insulation, living walls. Allowing gardens with fresh food to be in neighborhoods. In area of water conservation, not requiring as much turf grass. We also added rain water catchment systems, xeriscape/ low water plants to landscape design and incentivized it by not requiring sprinkler systems which can be very costly.  Make sure multifamily has space for 2 large containers in initial development plans. Incentivize electric vehicle infrastructure and alternative transportation infrastructure by, reduce parking requirements in development. There is much, much more to do. We have other programs and grants to help make energy efficient upgrades but that isn’t in DDC.

Jesse Davis (D3) – Getting serious about climate change in Denton has two parts–reducing our impact and planning for the future. Reducing our impact means more residential and commercial solar incentives and rules that encourage developers to build green (sustainable materials, efficient design, etc.) Planning for the future means recognizing that our average annual rainfall is projected to drop 71% by 2050. We have to provide incentives for sustainable landscaping and xeriscaping.


Diana Leggett (D3) – First and foremost would be providing convenient and economical ways for people to move about the city without their cars.  Hailable on-demand green vehicles – especially important for our most vulnerable population – along with establishing connected green space bike and pedestrian trails throughout the City will go far in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring people together.  Public and convenient transportation is key.  Phasing our street lights over to solar powered and investing in alternative methods of building including alternatives to concrete sidewalks creating a permeable surface for percolation to occur.  By embracing solar, wind and geothermal energy alternatives everybody wins as new jobs and technologies are brought into our economy.  Green homes – along with green roofs – will reduce utility bills and lessen our carbon footprint.  Preserving our tree canopy greatly reduces air pollution while clustering homes in new developments will help create open natural land and greenspace.  Denton is poised to be the leader in going green and sustainable.

Matt Farmer (D3) – According to our city’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, the three biggest sources of harmful greenhouse gas emissions in Denton are waste, transportation, and electricity. Therefore, there are several areas we really need to focus on, and there are a variety of ways this can be done. Considering how much our population is anticipated to grow in the next 5-10 years, we must expand our public transportation system, mandate recycling, and provide more composting options to businesses and residences. We must also increase our city’s walkability, along with our bikeability; there are too many major roads in Denton that don’t have sidewalks, and there are so many streets that could add protected bike lanes. If we can encourage more people to drive less often, we can significantly decrease our carbon footprint. As developers continue to set their sights on our town, we must commit to preserving Denton’s green space, protecting and augmenting our tree canopy, and ensuring that there is sustainable functionality to our future infrastructure projects. Environmental stewardship should be a priority in every facet of our growth and development— not an afterthought.

Emily Meisner (D4) – The city of Denton has a great number of partnerships in place to help improve air quality and reduce GHG emissions.  However, I feel that adding more environmental tax-incentives for citizens and developers would be a great implementation to enhance and maintain sustainability. We could offer a more streamlined process that benefits citizens to add sustainable infrastructure.  For example, those that install solar panels should be given fair rates for the wattage they generate. The city could implement solar panels on all city buildings. Developers could be encouraged to voluntarily increase reverse setbacks for vulnerable populations.  We do have a good tree rebate program for citizens already in place. I’ve utilized it myself for my own home. I only wish more people knew about it and utilized it to its fullest potential. When the City reviews potential new developments we should preserve existing tree canopies and natural resources, while also bringing in policies that encourage new growth to build in a eco-friendly manner (xeriscaping, drought resistant landscaping, more green space and pervious areas).  As we move toward 100% renewable in 2020 we should look at every decision we make through the lens of how it will impact our environment and future citizens. Our commitment to keeping our city healthy and safe while protecting our natural resources should be at the forefront of every decision regarding growth.

2. Are there any aspects of the gas well ordinance that you would change? Why? If not, why?

George Ferrie (D1) – Yes. I think it is vitally important to increase the current gas well setbacks to ensure all Denton’s citizens are protected. Furthermore, I would also like to see policy enacted to require developments and property owners to inform residents when they are looking to purchase or rent a space within a certain distance of a gas well. Residents have a right to know, and should be required to sign a notification acknowledging they were properly informed on the mater.


Gerard Hudspeth (D1) – Yes, it is practical to review all city ordinances on a regular basis.  Scientific studies and reporting continues to get better.  The City Councils’ role it to protect its citizens.  The gas well setbacks should be consistent with the latest industry standards and updated regularly.



Keely Briggs (D2) – Yes, there are things I would change.  Our Gas Well Ordinance was written with fear of lawsuits not the intent to protect our residents. We need to review it.




Jesse Davis (D3) – I support 1000-foot setbacks and reverse setbacks across the board, where legally possible.




Diana Leggett (D3) – Yes.  The current ordinance allows for a 250 foot setback or a 1,000 foot setback – ambiguous at best.  The scientific studies are in and there is no question now about the health risks associated with residences in close proximity to gas wells.  When the science shows that proximity can produce everything from asthma to cancer to fetal death I think we are done questioning.  If the land where the gas well exists does not support the ability to build residences then utilize it for something else – commercial or industrial.


Matt Farmer (D3) – Right now, a significant number of people in our community live near gas wells, but are completely unaware of it— in fact, Texas has the highest number of residents living near active wells. Research consistently shows that living near a gas well leads to a variety of health risks, including cancer, asthma, and even neurological problems. I believe our residents should not only be informed of nearby gas wells, but should also be informed about these health risks, along with precautionary measures in case of an emergency. In regard to our current gas well setback distances, I believe the reverse setback distance should be bumped up to 1,000 feet. It doesn’t make sense that existing homes, apartments, schools, and other “protected uses” are required to be 1,000 feet away from gas wells, while new developments can be built a mere 250 feet away. Everyone in our community deserves equal protection from the dangers and health risks posed by these gas wells.

Emily Meisner (D4) – Yes, there are several aspects of the gas well ordinance I would change to promote citizen safety and health. As you know, reverse setbacks dictate how close new homes and businesses can be built to an existing well. I would like to see increased setbacks and reverse setbacks to at least 500 feet, preferably more.  We currently only have 250 ft. minimum reverse setbacks and studies have shown that health risks increase under 500 ft. Then there are the safety concerns associated with the close proximity to gas wells such as leaking, migrating gas and possible explosions.  I would also like to see setbacks and reversed setbacks be increased even more for vulnerable populations. These “protected use” sites, such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers and daycare’s only have a 1,000 ft setback. The city should also encourage developers to increase the reverse setbacks out of the best interest of the residents.  Taking care to keep our citizens safe and healthy is my top priority.

3. Denton has filed for an expansion of its landfill to grow over 200 feet high. Right now, over 35% of annual trash disposal is coming from outside cities and businesses. What kinds of programs and policies would you consider to reduce trash volumes at the Denton landfill? Would you consider any recycling or composting mandates for businesses or apartments?

George Ferrie (D1) – Yes, absolutely. All apartment complexes and multi-family dwellings within Denton should be required to provide onsite recycling if they exceed a certain number of tenants. Next, I would like to see the city partner with multi-family developments and single-family communities to provide composting onsite which the city would pick up and distribute appropriately. We should also provide all Denton residents, whether renters or homeowners, with information regarding appropriate and effective recycling and composting habits to ensure everyone is aware of all available services. I also think our city should stop accepting trash from outside businesses and cities and focus on how we can begin to reduce our waste.

Gerard Hudspeth (D1) – The outside cities usage of the landfill has already been addressed and 35% figure is likely no longer accurate.  The Council decided to stop accepting ‘obviously’ contaminated recycling bins.  The solid waste department continues educate all customers and that has increased the amount or recycled material and increased the quality of the recycling.  The focus on reducing and recycling must continue to be a priority.


Keely Briggs (D2) – We already raised the price we were charging outside entities to use our landfill. I hope to significantly reduce the outside agencies from use so we have more control over what comes in and where it goes. Programs I am in support of: Residential composting, Recycling education, Multifamily recycling, and grow our re use store and make it more widely known.  Best way to keep trash out is not create it- a reuse campaign is also needed. We are seeing a positive impact and reducing greenhouse gases from our programs. If we grow in a positive way we can reduce them even more.

Jesse Davis (D3) – The only way to meaningfully reduce trash volumes is to provide more incentives and opportunities to recycle. Recycling in Denton in 2019 ought to be easy and free. Can you tell I’m the militant recycler in my house? I also support residential and commercial composting, but compostable material is a drop in the bucket compared to non-biodegradable, recyclable trash. Commercial waste producers (offices, apartments, etc.) will always respond better to incentives than to fines or unenforceable mandates.


Diana Leggett (D3) – Expansion permit or not, the City expects the landfill to last at current rates for another eighteen years, and by that time landfills will be obsolete. At least I certainly hope so – but only if we engage our citizens and make recycling even more a part of our everyday culture. With the advent of waste-to-energy, de-contamination of recyclables and a more educated and engaged public what goes into our landfill will become a product rather than something we bury.  Sorting at the curb with an extra bin for organic compost, establishing more recycling stations around our city, reducing the amount of food waste at our schools, enhancing and creating more opportunities for the reuse of construction materials are all integral parts of reducing the need for our landfill use.  Give businesses/commercial incentives to recycle and a reduction in their bin pick-up.  All apartments should be required to recycle and the appropriate bins provided.  By increasing recycling stations you also give people the choice to recycle at home or at a station.

Matt Farmer (D3) – Several cities around the nation have implemented recycling and composting mandates in order to cut back on their overall greenhouse gas emissions. Since our businesses and residents already have the resources to recycle, mandating recycling would be a good first step. However, with 44% of our waste being compostable, I’d love to see our city provide curbside composting options for businesses and residences. There are several different ways we could go about it, but right now our city isn’t even having that conversation. If we can afford to spend money on expanding our landfill, which will only worsen our greenhouse gas emissions as we grow, we can afford to expand our composting programs as well.

Emily Mesiner (D4) – I would encourage and incentivize recycling to all citizens, businesses and corporations.  Let’s teach homeowners and businesses how to recycle more efficiently by strictly adhering to the guidelines.  At a recent city council work session I learned that a certain percentage of Denton’s residents recycling gets put into the landfill due to contamination and including wrong products.  If we could educate more people to proper recycling principles that would be a step in the right direction. Look for new efforts in “Recycling Contamination Prevention” to begin on March 1st. Our community has good intentions but just needs a little more help with more education & reminders.  I would also like to see a pilot program for apartment recycling with on-site recycling. If we can determine this to be cost effective we could implement recycling to other apartments.

4. What should Denton do to improve transportation accessibility for its residents and visitors?

George Ferrie (D1) – First and foremost, we, as a city, need to ensure existing transportation options, such as cycling, are safe and then expand these options further. These include having clearly marked bike lanes on major roads and population dense areas. I have spoken with several cyclist who have recounted many terrifying moments when biking through the streets of Denton. By ensuring these passageways are safe, cyclists would be more included to utilize their bike as a more cost-effective way to travel. We also need to ensure that we have adequate lighting in areas where foot traffic is common to ensure safe passage for walkers, cyclists and motorists. By ensuring that members of our community feel safe when traveling without a vehicle, we can reduce our carbon footprint with in the city. We also need to ensure that public transportation is safe and feasible for all citizens. With all of the new developments going up across town, we need to require that we are also providing covered, seated bus stops so that each and every citizen in Denton has access to the transportation they need. We should be mindful of ADA needs in our city, specifically when we are talking about historic buildings. There are plenty of small, inexpensive steps that can be taken to be more inclusive to all communities that make up our great city.

Gerard Hudspeth (D1) – Talk to the citizens and visitors that utilize the transportation service.  Ask for their feedback and act on that usage data.  The City Council members and staff should utilize the transportation service to gain a firsthand understanding of our citizens’ experience.  The City Council is set to spend over $21 million dollars on infrastructure and that focus on infrastructure should continue annually.


Keely Briggs (D2) – Have a better working relationship with our public transportation agencies so our community needs are addressed. Build complete streets with safe alternate use infrastructure.




Jesse Davis (D3) – Denton (as a leader in the DCTA) needs to take a hard look at point-to-point and ride sharing programs. Other cities have had some success with replacing half-empty buses on routes nobody needs with Uber and Lyft contracts. These aren’t a replacement for good bus routes, but a “both/and” solution.



Diana Leggett (D3) – A more robust light rail coupled with hailable, on-demand green vehicles, frequent and convenient “small” green transit buses connected by bike and pedestrian trails are attainable and smart business.  Connecting our outlying neighborhoods together with a series of multi-modal pathways will provide much needed alternatives to people not just wanting to visit Denton but enhance the lives of Dentonites.  People moving should be safe and accomplished with ease with Denton being at the forefront of accessibility and process/design innovation.

Matt Farmer (D3) – Frankly, we need to allocate more of our budget to public transportation. There are many residential parts of the city that are nowhere near a bus route. Many of the bus stops we do have are not ADA compliant. Many stops don’t provide weather protection. Our current routes often require transferring between multiple buses, which makes ride times unnecessarily long, and certainly doesn’t inspire people to use the system in general. If we want to get serious about increasing ridership for our public transit, we have to make it easy for our community to navigate the system. We need to approach these fixes holistically, and quickly— we can’t afford to wait on this. The congestion on our streets is already bad enough, and it’s only going to get worse in the coming years. Furthermore, transportation alone produces a significant portion of our city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Investing in our public transit will make our air cleaner, it will alleviate our traffic problems, it will boost our local economy, and ultimately make our city safer.

Emily Mesiner (D4) – Denton should improve all sidewalk connectivity to support & encourage walking, biking and equal access to bus stops for all, including persons with disabilities. When developers come in let’s make sure the neighborhoods are actually walk-able and connected to local business and parks.  We already encourage our citizens to ride-share and utilize public transit like DCTA and the A-Train, which are great.  Finally, adding more connected bike lanes around the city would promote biking and improve safety for our residents as well as promote Denton as a walk-able, bike-able, environmentally sustainable place to live.

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