Cedar Creek Lake

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State Rep Gooden Stands Up For Citizens

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My name is Nicole Sprabary and I am a wife and mom, first and foremost. My husband and I raise our children in the small community of Peeltown, Tx, about ten miles West of the closest point of the beautiful Cedar Creek lake. My aspirations are to contribute my writing abilities to a great cause in the future, in hopes that somewhere along the way, I will make a difference in this world.




State Representative Lance Gooden, proved his willingness to stand up for his fellow Texas citizens on Oct 2, at the city of mesquite’s regular city meeting. Many citizens that are currently being considered for annexation by Mesquite in the near future, showed up wanting to speak.


Lance Gooden, this past year, helped to create an amendment to the Municipal Annexation Right to Vote Act. One of the things this does is to ensure that citizens vote on any annexation of properties in their district.  This bill will take effect on December 1 of this year. Mesquite will have just under 2 months to work the details out and pass this before voters will be required to, by law, have the say so in what is annexed or not by a city.


Gooden set up a last minute meeting in the Crandall independent school districts administration building. Over 350 residents who this vote would be affected by showed up. Resident’s expressed their concern for how well mesquite would handle their services they would be taking over services include all city provided services.


September 30 proved the community’s ability to come together very quickly to show their support. An upwards of 350 citizens showed up and supported the cause in the Crandall Independent School District’s administration building early Saturday am. The state representative for district 4, held a meeting to explain what information they had gathered. Tracy Gray, who is representing the citizens in this situation probono, is from Guest and Gray located in Forney, Texas.  One of the attorneys in the office will be directly affected by this vote and Gray made it clear she sees this as a family and community issue not just about property.


Many citizens expressed concern towards the details of what will happen.  Gray explained as much as was possible due to the situation and explained there are no guarantees of any specific outcome, but assured everyone her office will be working diligently to dig into the details and with as early on as this situation is, have some time to try and help stop this “land grab.”


Previously annexed residents also showed up to express their concern for the fact that a new fire station promised to the community at a prior time, has still not been built. They also have seen response times from the city of mesquite in the upwards of 30 min or more income instances.


One citizen, Kristina Bomer, who has 5 acres in Forney of the approximate 5000 acres that are being proposed, will be left if passed with 2 broken pieces of property, one in a separate county and city then the other half still in the ETJ. Bomer’s property in particular has a part that is in the flood plain.  The City of Mesquite will not be voting to annex the part of her property that is in the flood plain, only the part that has her residence located on. Bomer saw the importance of this situation and the implications that seemed to be following a pattern. She felt the need to get the word out so she created the Facebook page Kaufman County residents against annexation.


Bomer said she feels that “citizens that choose to move to the country, take a risk, knowing when they move the country it involves a few downsides that come with all the benefits of having a small town feel. “Such risks are higher takes, longer response times from law enforcement and emergency, mostly for driving distance, Bomer believes that with them being almost 20 miles from the city of mesquite, the quality of care and response time they will receive, wont compare to the already normal wait times and care since Mesquite struggles to maintain what they already have or have promised to do for others before their election.


Bomer spoke of not only the families this will affect but also the business and property owners who farm as well that will be disqualified. After doing a bit of research, it can be found in the Comprehensive Plan Elements for the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction that can be easily located on the city of Mesquite’s website printed August, 4, 2008. (link below)


During the city of Mesquite’s regular meeting, Stan Pickett, Mayor of Mesquite, explained the procedures using the legal terminology.  He stated the laws and how they protected them from having to speak to the citizens during that particular meeting since it was not on the agenda. Pickett let them know he would be going by “the book, by the law.” He furthered saying he would be “be coming up with few ground rules”


First resident of Kaufman County to speak was Ken Hill, a Wiser Road resident. Hill spoke straightforward when he said, “I will be respectful at the same time Mr. Mayor, I will be blunt.” Hill got to the point telling them, “I know I speak for a lot of people in this room,” “We don’t want you mesquite, we don’t need you,” and went on to explain to Mayor Prickett why.


Gooden spoke along with Rick Wilson, Mayor of Forney. Wilson reminded Pickett of a prior conversation, in which Wilson, “recognized a need for communication and a plan,” in regards to the extra territorial jurisdiction that multiple cities are affected by. Wilson stated he already has effective plans in place with the mayor of Terrell, Crandall and Kaufman. Wilson stated he is still pursuing a plan with Mesquite and offered that when areas “cross boundaries” are in question, the situation presents itself of “how to beneficially and collectively make the counties work well together. “


When communication broke down in the past according to Wilson, they tried to, “get through it.” Wilson wants to ask Pickett to, “reconsider plans for working together and understanding one another.”  He also made it very clear to the council that, “the fragmentation of the community that would actually happen, will not only effect the properties but the lives and cultures that your affecting by this vote.”


Gooden spoke on the behalf of the citizens. Gooden thanked councilman Robert Archer very quickly for his thoughtfulness upstairs and his concern with “Mesquite going into an area where they cannot provide services.” Gooden went on to say “Politically speaking I would almost guarantee, if you continue with this plan, you will have some new candidates for council.” Gooden encouraged the council saying, “you will all get to know the folks from Kaufman county, I feel like your recruiting candidates tonight”


Gooden said, “I respectfully say that they are really prepared to raise hell in the next two months and I would really ask that you take that into consideration.”


Breaking his own rule, he emphasized at the beginning, Prickett responded to Gooden with a question, saying “I know I am not supposed too, but, I’m going to ask you one thing, “do you have some citizens you represent here in Kaufman county? I was looking at this little piece that you were a part of and I was just wondering.” Referring to a situation that was not gone into specifics on.


If the council meets their December 1 deadline, they will vote to decide the fate of just at 500 homes, many properties involved and the business that will take the hit for the choices that a few members of a council will be voting on soon. The land the Gentle Zoo, who, if this passes will be split which will lead to them not being able to continue having a business where their residence is as well, according to Bomer.


 Bomer’s goal is to reach as many people needed to gain awareness to a specific situation that has become all too familiar with these “land grabs.”  Essentially, Annexation, is a forced takeover (by vote of city council) of land that hasn’t been “claimed” by a specific city but in their adjoining ETJ.


It is not encouraging, to see things being so frequently stated in the Economic Developments Plan of action for the ETJ that imply the care of the city, stems from how it looks vs. what it will actually be. Things printed in this “plan” as it is called in the plan itself, states things like, “Locate major access points, areas of community visibility and areas of potential drive-by appeal,” “The identification of different view sheds and focal points for incorporation into the overall Plan helps to give the area an identity that enhances its overall aesthetic appeal.” “While the prior item was primarily associated with aesthetic appeal, this item demonstrates both aesthetic appeal and functionality.” “To be successful, these areas need to be integrated in such a way as to function with the proposed plan.” “These areas must also provide an appeal that makes them attractive to the citizens, serving as a central area that can "owned" by its citizens.” “There is no more appropriate response to the challenge of “Project Renewal” than for the City of Mesquite to make future development decisions with the objective of creating special places.” “The greenfield expanse of the newly annexed area and the ETJ give the City a clean slate to work from.”


The plans summary states that, “This project to create a Comprehensive Plan Element for the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ)1, began in Spring 2007 out of a concern that the necessary growth policies and procedures were not in place to promote sound development patterns that were fiscally supportable in the long-term. The resulting ETJ Plan is a collaboration between the City of Mesquite Community Development Department, Engineering Department, citizens within the ETJ, adjacent municipal leaders/stakeholders and the City’s consultant, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.”


Bomer had stated before that she found it odd the way her property is being proposed to split. She has a few neighbors that their property will as well.


What is odd to find after hearing that statement is what can be found on the city of Mesquite’s website. They have specifically stated they that flood plaines are not in the future plans for land prepared to be annexed over the course of the next couple of decades. The year 2030 is specifically mentioned as well. (link below)


To see our state representative standing up for what is right for the people, encourages me for our future generations.


 “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ― Robert F. Kennedy


“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” – Albert Einstein


“Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.” -- Nikola Tesla


 


http://lancegooden.com/


https://www.cityofmesquite.com/1820/Annexation


https://www.cityofmesquite.com/DocumentCenter/View/723


https://www.tml.org/legal_pdf/ANNEXATION.pdf


North Central Texas Council of Governments. NCTCOG 2030 Demographic Forecast. April 2003.


http://www.nctcog.org/ris/demographics/forecast/publication.pdf


 


 


 


 




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