Justin challenged with keeping small-town feel as it adds more houses 

dfwnewsa | January 1, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Justin challenged with keeping small-town feel as it adds more houses 

Mitch Waters, owner of Master Made Feeds, stands outside his business in Justin. Waters moved his business from Grapevine after seeing a shift in demand for animal feed. He said he still sees demand in Justin, but knows growth is coming. (Seth Bodine | Fort Worth Report)
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Mitch Waters, owner of Master Made Feeds, knows growth is coming to Justin. 

The 71-year-old feed store owner used to have a location in Grapevine, but closed after the demand for animal feed dwindled. He still sees demand from farmers and ranchers at his store in Justin, but knows the city once filled with acres of land will become more occupied with houses.“I don’t see how it’s going to be totally country five years from now,” Waters said. “I don’t know if it’ll be like a Grapevine or Southlake, but it’s going to be more crowded than it is now.”

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In 2010, Justin’s population was 3,246 according to the U.S. Census. Since then, the population nearly doubled to 6,456, according to the North Central Texas Council of Governments, growing 11% between 2022-2023, according to the data. Justin Mayor James Clark estimates 8,000 homes are either platted, pre-platted or in development, and 24,000 people will come in the next 10 years. Clark said the small-town feel attracts people, and Justin’s proximity to nearby cities, such as Fort Worth, and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport make it a place someone can commute to work or travel. 

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“We’re really in a great geographic location that people are able to kind of get outside of your kind of hustle and bustle of the cities, but still be within driving distance for employment,” Clark said. 

To keep up with growth, the city developed a comprehensive plan in 2022 based on resident feedback on what they want for the future of the city, Clark said. For instance, he said, the city set aside land where a new grocery store could be built. The city also is preserving “old town” Justin and new areas. The city also built water towers and above-ground water storage tanks to accommodate the new demand for water in the area. 

One challenge is bringing in more businesses to carry the tax burden as the city expands its services and the population continues to grow. 

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“We’re working diligently to entice additional investment and commercial properties here, to bring in services for our citizens, but also to help spread the burden of funding day-to-day operations of the city to business owners,” the mayor said. 

Clark said he recognizes not everyone is happy with the growth. He sees the changes in his own neighborhood.“I live here, and I, for one, absolutely loved having land immediately next to my home, as a large farm, with crops in the ground,” Clark wrote in a Facebook message. “There (are) now 750 homes coming, the first 12 are built, the first three have been sold and more are coming online fast. It is not what any of my neighbors or I wanted, but none of us could afford to purchase the land and let it sit there empty while we paid taxes on it.” 

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Lisa Cate has lived in Justin her entire life and served on Justin City Council for 14 years. She has seen the city change. She said the changes started when farmers started selling their land as property passed on to the next generation, but ultimately doesn’t think growth is a bad thing.“People are what keep small towns alive,” Cate said. “And so that’s important to me.”

Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at seth.bodine@fortworthreport.org and follow on Twitter @sbodine120.At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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