Stephen Luhrs is running for Southlake City Council.[/caption]
Stephen Luhrs, who is an entrepreneur, is running for the Southlake City Council Place 6 seat in the Sept. 9 special election.
The vacancy was left by Gary Fawks, who announced his resignation May 16 due to a job promotion.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Luhrs a series of questions. His written responses, edited for publication style, are below.
1. Why are you running for council?
I have always had a desire to serve for the community I live in. The opportunity had never presented itself as we had to move a few times, and the last community we lived in was unincorporated so there was no city council or elected position offered. Southlake offers the chance to be involved on a municipal level, and with the open place on the council it just felt like the right time.
2. If elected, what would you strive to accomplish?
The most important goal for me, if elected to Southlake City Council, would be to keep Southlake’s charm. I think that Southlake has an amazing feel about it from Town Square to "Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon." City Council should ensure that Southlake never loses this charm.
3. What makes you qualified for this position?
I bring a fresh perspective to Southlake utilizing my experiences living in other communities. It is this perspective that allows me to have a new take on both current and old issues that Southlake is enduring. I believe that my experience as an entrepreneur and in building companies is beneficial to helping to build and better a city like Southlake.
4. What is your stance on apartments in Southlake?
I think that we should keep Southlake free of apartments if at all possible. Apartment communities tend to be be very transient, and what makes Southlake so amazing is our community. It does not benefit our community or our schools to have people moving in and out on a regular basis.
5. What would you do to help alleviate traffic concerns in highly congested areas?
I think that we have multiple opportunities to improve the traffic situation here in Southlake. I feel that we could improve the ability to navigate Southlake by other means than cars. A start would be to have proper bike lanes along Southlake Boulevard/[FM] 1709 as well as sidewalks and crosswalks on the streets off of 1709. In initiating these changes we would alleviate quite a bit of congestion with parents transporting kids to and from all the time. I would also like to bring some sort of public transportation to Southlake, which I feel would help with this as well.
6. How do you feel about public transportation in Southlake?
I think the opportunities to offer some public transportation throughout Southlake to the highly congested areas would be a bonus for all. It could alleviate traffic as well parking issues in Town Square and Park Village. I would work to toward initiating a trolley system that would help transport patrons in these areas and around town during specific times and days to help with our traffic.
7. Where do you see Southlake in 10 years? And how will you help the city get there if elected?
I see a Southlake 10 years from now very similar to what we have today. We hopefully will have some public transportation, the Marq will be built out, and additional homes will be added around town but the heart and soul of Southlake will remain. It is my goal as a City Council member to ensure that we keep Southlake recognizable to those that have lived here before and for our children.
8. How are you involved in the community?
In being relatively new to Southlake, we are still finding our way. [My wife], Stacy, and I have both been involved in Carroll Leadership Academy for Supporting Success within Carroll ISD; we volunteer where we can with our children’s schools. It takes some time to find your place in a new city, and I feel that City Council might just be the place for me.
9. What do you see as Southlake's biggest challenge?
Growth! Southlake is such a desirable place to live and so many families want to relocate here that the need for new housing is amazing. We need to be sure that we hold our standard to what makes Southlake great and do not succumb to developers to change our standards for minimum expectations for homesites or development. Slow and steady will win the race, and we need to be sure that our growth in the future is manageable.
10. How will you work with Carroll ISD to further develop a partnership between council and trustees?
In being a member of the 10th anniversary class of CLASS, I have come to understand how important the district and the city are to each others' future as well as how intertwined they have become. I feel it is imperative that we have top-rated schools as this leads to being a more highly desirable city. Our City Council needs to do everything within their capabilities to work with CISD to make sure our schools are fully funded and able to continue to excel. It is a partnership for sure, and if we are able to work together it will only make both entities stronger in the long run.
Christopher Archer and Shauna Newman have also filed for Place 6.
Election day is Sept. 9 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., and early voting will begin Aug. 23 and end Sept. 5.