Several Little Elm residents will have a new representative. For now.
The Little Elm Town Council on Tuesday approved a new redistricting plan and revised the Town Council member electoral district boundaries.
The purpose was to rebalance the population between electoral districts based on estimated population increases in the town since the 2010 Census.
The council approved Option 3, which took into account several of the council’s priorities discussed previously, including using major roads as boundary lines, not creating inequity with socioeconomic groups, cleaning up some lines in District 4 and keeping the northern part of the town in District 5.
Option 3 is a combination of several components proposed last month in options 1 and 2.
In the plan, District 2 will pick up the east part of District 3, the north part of District 4 and the southeast part of District 5.
District 3 will take on the northwest part of District 5.
District 4 will pick up the south part of District 2 and the south part of District 5. District 5 won’t pick up any new areas.
Currently the council is made up of Tony Singh, who represents District 2, Neil Blais (District 3), Lisa Norman (District 4) and Nick Musteen (District 5). Curtis Cornelious and Stephanie Shoemaker are at-large council members, as is Mayor David Hillock.
“We tried to leave a little bit of room in Districts 3 and 5 because that’s where it’s going to grow,” Mueller said. “Looking at Option 3, there’s a little bit more opportunity for (District) 3 to grow without over burdening (District) 5 because we know that Prairie Oaks is going to start to fill out. We know there’s going to be tremendous growth the Union Park and Valencia. So that’s why right now it’s a little over-represented, but by the time they build out it will be about even.”
Mueller said the staff tried to keep every neighborhood together but in some cases was unable to do that.
“We did have to split Eldorado West in two,” Mueller said, “and we had to split Villages of Woodlake in two because of the census tracks that existed we weren’t able to bring all that in without doing a lot of intricate markings on the addresses that would have been really confusing.”
“Both of these options give them a little bit of room to fill in,” said Gunnar Seaquist with Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta, LLP, the firm hired to explore boundary solutions. “And as we discussed last time, once the 2020 census data comes out the town is going to have to look at those numbers to see if there are any other redistricting or rebalancing needs to be done.”
Officials said updated census numbers and new developments could always change things.
“I think what we know today this makes a lot of sense,” Hillock said. “What happens in the next two years could dramatically change it.”
Mueller said the redistricting and the change of council members’ constituents will go into effect immediately. But he said there won’t be an election involving the new single-member districts until 2021.