The city got a big legal victory this week when the Dallas Court of Appeals issued a favorable ruling regarding City Hall’s bid to annex land at key transportation gateways to Terrell.
“We are pleased that the Dallas Court of Appeals issued an opinion that dismisses the lawsuit brought against the city last year to stop certain proposed annexations; however, until the opinion becomes final, and the appellate mandate is issued to the trial court, we will reserve any further comments on this matter,” City Manager Mike Sims said in a prepared statement.
The annexation issue has smoldered in Terrell for more than a year. The city seeks annexation to “protect the major entryway corridors from long-term negative commercial development” such as at Spur 557 and U.S. 80, where city zoning is non-existent, according to previous city statements.
The city wants to annex strips along its main entryways and apply zoning to prevent “new unsavory commercial businesses from locating and creating a negative impact” on Terrell and the main roads leading to it.
Opponents have numerous arguments for opposing annexation, among them is that it leads to the loss of agricultural land and promotes urban sprawl. Many opponents believe annexation should go to a vote.
The city proposes to annex 1,000-foot strips – the minimum width allowed by the state – along Interstate 20, U.S. 80, State Hwy. 34 and State Hwy. 205, which would impact 153 parcels. Close to 40 parties joined a lawsuit to block the annexation plan. In September 2019, Kaufman County Court-at-Law No. 2 Judge Bobby Rich Jr. granted a temporary injunction against the city, preventing it from moving forward with annexation proceedings.
After several days of testimony, Rich decided to keep his injunction in place, and he set a trial to settle the matter. The city immediately appealed Rich’s decision to the Dallas Court of Appeals.