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Farmers Branch is a city in Dallas County, Texas, United States. It is an inner-ring suburb of Dallas and is part of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The population was 28,616 at the 2010 census.
Known as a "City in a Park" for its 28 parks in only 12 square miles, Farmers Branch is a small community that benefits from its close proximity to Dallas and a large and diverse business community that accounts for 80% of the City's tax base, allowing residents to enjoy one of the lower city tax rates in Dallas County while still benefiting from high quality services and public safety.
The city received media attention due to 2006 anti-illegal immigration measures and a law making English the city's official language. These measures were struck down by courts and/or repealed. In 2017 the community elected the City's first millennial mayor, Robert C. Dye. Under the Mayor and Council's leadership, the City has prioritized creating a more diverse, community focused on leadership in education, sustainability, innovative commercial development, and smart-city design.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.1 km2 (12 sq mi). 31.1 km2 (12 sq mi) of it is land and 0.08% is water.
The community was first settled in the early 1850s. In 1842, Thomas Keenan, Isaac B. Webb, and William Cochran received original land grants in the area. By 1843, a community called Mustang Branch had been established. Mr. Cochran later changed the name to Farmers Branch to reflect the area's rich soil and farmland. Farmers Branch was the first location of the Texan Land and Emigration Company (or Peters Colony) in 1845. This made the community one of the best-known places in Dallas County during the 1840s because of its advertising throughout Europe and the United States. Baptist minister William Bowles opened a blacksmith shop and gristmill in 1845. On May 5, 1845, Isaac B. Webb donated land for Webb's Chapel Methodist Church, the first formal place of worship in Dallas County. A school was established in the church one year later. Webb became the first postmaster at the Farmers Branch post office, which opened on January 5, 1848. It continued to function until its closure in 1866. The post office reopened in 1875. To assure that railroads would eventually pass through Farmers Branch, prominent early settler Samuel Gilbert and others sold right-of-way through their land in 1874. Around three to four years later, the Dallas and Wichita Railway completed a track from Dallas – through Farmers Branch – to Lewisville. It was absorbed by the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad in 1881. The community had a population of approximately 100 by 1890 with several businesses. The population had grown to 300 during the early 1900s. A brick school building was constructed in 1916. The number of people living in the community remained stable until after World War II.
Farmers Branch was incorporated as a city after an election was held on February 23, 1946. William F. (Bill) Dodson was elected as the city's first mayor. The implementation of city services began immediately after incorporation. In the 1950 census, Farmers Branch had a population of 915. In 1956, a home rule charter was approved that adopted a council-manager form of government. The rapid growth of the city during the 1950s was made apparent in the 1960 census, which recorded a total of 13,441 residents, a 1,369 percent increase over the 1950 figure. Most of the new residents commuted to nearby Dallas for employment. The population topped 27,000 by 1970. A variety of manufacturers producing items such as steel products, concrete, asphalt, cosmetics, and food products were operating in the city. The number of residents declined to 24,863 in 1980 and 24,250 in 1990. The falling population was offset, however, by the wide variety of businesses located in the city. Farmers Branch is home to a large number of corporations that have attained frontage along Interstate 635, the Dallas North Tollway, and Interstate 35E. Its Dallas North Tollway segment is part of the Platinum Corridor, and its land along Interstate 635 is an extension of the lengthy Irving Prairie office park. By 2000, the city's population had grown to 27,508.
As of the census of 2000, there were 27,508 people, 9,766 households, and 6,933 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,291.9 people per square mile (885.1/km²). There were 10,115 housing units at an average density of 842.8 per square mile (325.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.38% White, 2.40% African American, 0.55% Native American, 2.92% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 13.01% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 37.23% of the population.
There were 9,766 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.5% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.31.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $54,734, and the median income for a family was $57,531. Males had a median income of $34,791 versus $27,372 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,921. About 4.0% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.
According to the City's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report: the top employers in the city are:
As of 2012 Farmers Branch has 3,500 companies. Celanese Corporation, Eyemart Express, I2 Technologies, and Occidental Chemical have their headquarters in Farmers Branch. Maxim Integrated Products has an office in Farmers Branch. All Smiles Dental Centers formerly had its headquarters in Farmers Branch. Excellence Health Inc. has an office in Farmers Branch that covers the Dallas life sciences cluster.
Farmers Branch is considered to be part of the humid subtropical region.
For many years, TV evangelist preacher Robert Tilton maintained his church on the northeast corner of the I-35E and I-635 interchange. The scandal that ABC News uncovered in the 1990s regarding thousands of prayer requests found in the dumpster, plus the divorce of Tilton and his then second wife and fellow preacher, Leigh Valentine, caused Tilton to leave the Dallas area and his land was given to the city for re-use. During the time that Tilton's Word of Faith congregation used the church building on this site, a K-12 school named Lexington Academy provided education on the church campus.
In November 2007, the Farmers Branch Police Department conducted a series of police raids on Unique Performance properties. Unique Performance was a company in Farmers Branch that built Carroll Shelby licensed "Eleanor" Mustangs and Chip Foose 1969 Camaros. However, several customers complained that they had paid for cars and not received them. The Farmers Branch Police Department seized 61 vehicles that had tampered Vehicle Identification Numbers. Unique Performance declared bankruptcy a week later.
In November 2006, the city of Farmers Branch entered the national spotlight when its council became the first in Texas to pass anti-illegal immigration measures, proposed by Councilman Tim O'Hare, which include fining landlords that rent to illegal aliens, and allowing local authorities to screen illegal aliens in police custody. The measures also included a provision making English the official language of the city. The original discussions in August 2006 additionally considered punishing employers who hire illegal immigrants and eliminating subsidies for illegal immigrants in the city's youth programs. After initially being set aside in favor of a resolution calling for the federal government to increase immigration-law enforcement, the rental, police, and official-language measures were adopted by the council on November 13, 2006 Following disputes over whether closed-door discussions of the measures violated the state's open-meetings law, a petition was circulated by opponents in order to force the council either to repeal the measures or to hold a special election to allow voters to decide the issue directly; the petition was certified in late December 2006, leading to the scheduling of a vote in May, until which time the measures would not be enforced.
On May 12, 2007, the referendum passed by a margin of 68% to 32%, despite last-minute opposition from mayor Bob Phelps and many city employees. O'Hare spoke from the headquarters of the proponents of the bill, challenging anyone who might be thinking of filing a lawsuit to prevent the implementation of the ordinance with countersuits. He also said that Farmers Branch would be willing to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. On the same day, voters elected to the City Council two candidates who had supported the measures. In response to two acts of vandalism against Phelps' house, one after he announced his opposition to the measures, federal agents advised him to abandon his 20-year tradition of spending election night at City Hall and leave town instead until after elections were over.
On May 21, 2007, Judge Sam A. Lindsay of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted a temporary restraining order enjoining the city from enforcing the ordinance—one day before it was due to go into effect—until the court ruled on several plaintiffs' motions for a permanent restraining order. Just prior to a June 5 hearing over the preliminary injunction, the same judge dismissed from one of the lawsuits a group of business plaintiffs who had said they suffered business losses and simultaneously denied the request of the national organization Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to participate in the lawsuit on behalf of the defendants.
In 2008 Mayor Phelps retired after 23 years of service. Farmers Branch residents then elected Mayor Tim O'Hare, who led the campaign for the measures against illegal immigration.
On March 3, 2014, the Supreme Court declined to review the lower-court ruling that declared the ordinance unconstitutional ending the seven year legal battle.
On November 28, 2017, the City Council voted unanimously to repeal Resolution No. 2006-130 Declaring English as the Official Language of the City of Farmers Branch.
According to the city’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Fund Financial Statements, the city’s various funds had $50.0 million in Revenues, $64.5 million in expenditures, $33.8 million in total assets, $6.5 million in total liabilities, and $38.2 million in investments.
The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:
The city of Farmers Branch is a voluntary member of the North Central Texas Council of Governments association, the purpose of which is to coordinate individual and collective local governments and facilitate regional solutions, eliminate unnecessary duplication, and enable joint decisions.
Residential areas in Farmers Branch are within two school districts.
Most of Farmers Branch is a part of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District. Dave Blair Elementary School, Farmers Branch Elementary School, Janie Stark Elementary School, and Nancy H. Strickland Intermediate School (3-5) are in Farmers Branch. Sections zoned to Strickland for grades 3-5 are zoned to Neil Ray McLaughlin Elementary School (K-2) in Carrollton Vivian C. Field Middle School is in Farmers Branch and serves almost all of the CFBISD portion. R. L. Turner High School in Carrollton also serves almost all of CFBISD Farmers Branch. Residential areas south of Interstate 635 and west of Interstate 35E are zoned to La Villita Elementary School, Barbara Bush Middle School and Ranchview High School in Irving.
Dallas Independent School District also serves a small portion of Farmers Branch. One DISD elementary school, William L. Cabell Elementary (to be renamed Chapel Hill Preparatory School in 2018), is in Farmers Branch. Its future name is a reference to the Chapel Hill community; it was renamed since the former namesake, Mayor of Dallas William Lewis Cabell, served in the Confederate States of America. Other residential portions of DISD Farmers Branch are served by Gooch Elementary. Residential areas in DISD are zoned to Marsh Middle School and W.T. White High School.
Mayor of Farmers Branch Tim O'Hare proposed making a new municipal Farmers Branch school district with the portions currently in CFBISD and DISD. In 2011 about 66% of voters decided against the referendum. At the time the city did not have the 8,000 children required under Texas law as a requirement for forming a new district, so KTVT (CBS Dallas) stated "Even if the proposal had passed there would have been little, if anything, the city could have done to move forward".
Honors Academy, a charter school operator, has its administrative offices in Farmers Branch. The city hosted Branch Park Academy, a 6-8 charter school operated by Honors Academy.
Branch Park Academy was closed after the 2014-2015 school year and the building has been leveled.
Mary Immaculate Catholic School, a part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, is in Farmers Branch.
Farmers Branch is home to Dallas Christian College, a four-year Bible college, and Brookhaven College, a community college of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD).
The Japanese School of Dallas, a supplementary Japanese school, has its main office in Farmers Branch. The school conducts its classes at Ted Polk Middle School in Carrollton. On Monday July 25, 2016 the Japanese Association and the Japanese School offices will move to a new location in Dallas. The classroom location will remain the same.
Farmers Branch was one of fifteen cities to approve services of Dallas Area Rapid Transit in 1983 by levying a 1 cent sales tax. The city currently receives DART bus service, with service to downtown Dallas (by both regular route and express bus), the adjacent suburb of Carrollton and crosstown routes as well. On December 6, 2010, the city received light rail transit service with a station near the northeast corner of Interstates 635 and 35E on the Green Line, which runs from Pleasant Grove in southeast Dallas through downtown Dallas following I-35E up to Carrollton at Frankford Road.
The city is between Interstate 35E to the west, the Dallas North Tollway on the east and Interstate 635 to the south.
Farmers Branch maintains a sister city relationship with Bassetlaw, United Kingdom and Garbsen, Germany.
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