Land grab: Council approves 1st phase of annexation
LANCASTER - A 5-2 vote was all it took to fill a room of angry constituents during the Monday, Nov. 14 council meeting. The council approved to begin the first phase of the long, fought against annexation of what is referred to as “no town” outside of Lancaster city limits.
District 1 Councilman Walter Weaver and District 3 Councilman Marco Mejia voted against.
In fact, Mejia’s comments were embraced by most in attendance. “Mayor, I have a problem here, I don’t have a hell no button [ to vote against],” said Mejia.
Originally, the extra territorial jurisdiction was wanted for the- currently unfunded- Loop 9 toll road and the expansion of the Dallas Inland Port, a business project a speaker noted as “not currently viable.”
District 6 Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Nina Morris wanted to know if not for these business deals, what was the benefit of the city taking in more land.
“Economic development,” said Director of Development Services Rona Stringfellow-Govan.
Mejia vowed his commitment to “keep government responsible” for the community with all his heart.
“We don’t have streets we have connections of potholes,” said Mejia.
“Fifty-five percent of our city is undeveloped and I think it’s wrong to force our government down the peoples throat – we have no way to provide any extra services.”
The agreement, only signed by Mayor Marcus Knight, would provide sewage, water and new roads to the newly annexed community.
“The legislature dictates what we are required to do- property owners can ask to be removed if they so choose if we don’t follow up by a certain amount of years,” said Attorney Joseph J. Gorfida Jr. on behalf of the city.
City did confirm there are currently residents in their city-limits now who don’t have water or sewer.
There was a board created to discuss annexation options and the members present during the meeting all agreed they didn’t ever see a finalized agreement and wanted to know why the only signature was Mayor Marcus Knight’s.
“I feel they[ board members] had ample opportunity even if they may not want to be annexed, they agreed to what we could do if they were annexed,” said Knight.
Gorfida, legal counsel for the city, said there was no legal requirement to have the additional signatures.
Knight expressed the vote was only for the first part of annexation around the “Sunrise Division” where Lancaster Airport is located.
Gorfida did say this was a “forced” annexation from the city and they are legally taking only what they are allowed , 2.9 acres or 10 percent at this time until the next phase is approved.