Southlake candidates run for Places 1,6

03/31/2014 2:58 PM

03/31/2014 2:59 PM

Southlake City Council election signs have been placed around the city, but a sign can only say so much.

In the Place 1 race, incumbent Martin Schelling and challenger Dr. Shahid Shafi go for round two, as the two men ran against each other in 2011.

At the other end of the Council, veteran council members Gary Fawks and Virginia Muzyka vie for Place 6.

Here’s a look at the candidates in the upcoming election.

Place 1

Martin Schelling said he is not done serving the city.

“I think you need to give back to your community,” he said. “With my experience and history and knowing how the city operates, I’m qualified to make informed decisions for the citizens and for the city.”

In almost 22 years as a Southlake resident, Schelling has served the city in some way for 20 years, including time with SPIN and Southlake Crime Control and Prevention District. It’s that experience in city government and a career in real estate that he feels establish him as a top candidate.

“The master plan is a broad brush. It’s mean to cover geographic areas and not necessarily property lines,” he said. “As we get down to the last pieces of developable land in town it becomes a lot harder to put a broad brush on them until you actually see what the application and use is.”

Schelling said his experience as a real estate agent for more than 30 years aides his understanding of proposed projects.

“When those plans come through, for me to look at them, that’s what I do every day,” he said.

The issues he would like to address are mobility, water and fiscal responsibility.

Shahid Shafi’s reasons for running are the same as they were when he ran against Schelling in 2011.

Shafi wants to give back to the community that has given him so much, but his motivation has found a new source.

“What really has motivated me to run is the issue of high-density development that is coming into Southlake Town Square,” he said. “I really don't think that's in the best interest of the city or the citizens.”

Shafi and his family have lived in Southlake for almost 10 years. He served on the Planning and Zoning Commission in 2011.

He said he wants to focus on single-family homes and prevent more high-density housing from entering the city. He said more housing flows into other issues like traffic.

Shafi said he would like to increase partnerships between the city and Carroll Independent School District.

“The single most important reason why people, families, move to Southlake is the school district,” he said. “I think the city can do a lot more to help the school district.”

Shafi said while his career as a surgeon may not directly influence his role on council, the two jobs share a similar cause.

“I think the role of the council is to protect the interest of the citizens. That’s what I’ve done my entire life,” he said. “ I weigh the risk and benefits and do what is in the best interest of my patients and that is the kind of approach I would bring to the Council.”

Place 6

Two former deputy mayor pro tems go head to head for Place 6.

Gary Fawks sat on the Council from 1996-2001 and recent decisions in the city have drawn him back to seek a council seat.

“I have a growing concern about some of the new development direction that I see the city taking, in particular some of the higher-density residential,” he said. “When I was on Council, high density would be a half acre. I never thought I’d see the day when we were looking at quarter-acre lots in Southlake.”

Fawks said he wants to continue working with residents and developers to make sure both groups get what they want to make a better Southlake.

He said the city’s other large issues tie back into the increased higher-density housing, including mobility.

Fawks, who has lived in Southlake since 1993, also wants to find ways to help home owners in terms of tax rates and fees.

Since living in the city, the general manager has been involved with community groups such as SPIN.

“I bring a unique perspective and experience to the position. Having participated in putting together so many of the plans that made Southlake the type of community that they wanted to move to, live in, bring their families to.

“I want to continue that vision. I want to make sure we don't sway too far from it,” he said.

Virginia Muzyka served on City Council from 2004-2010. but decided she was not done serving the city.

“Once you get involved in your community, you keep getting involved in your community,” she said.

Muzyka’s top goals include sticking to the master plan, maintaining the city’s budget and addressing mobility and infrastructure.

“Those were the same things that I ran on before,” she said. “I don’t think those things have changed.”

She said she wants to see the master plan through and bring more commercial developments to the city. She said in terms of the city’s infrastructure, it’s time to move on from building and begin maintenance.

She said as a city council member she will make decisions based on the master plan and the city’s goals.

“My role is to make sure that we've got the best we can get,” she said.

Muzyka, who has lived in Southlake since 1986, calls herself a professional volunteer, participating with organizations such as GRACE and Metroport Meals on Wheels.

“I think I’ve proven that I care about what happens in this town,” she said. “I want to continue to do that.”

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