“A bad deal,” “anti-Texan,” and “ a pile of…” are among the descriptions of an effort by the north Texas city of McKinney to annex land just outside the city limits.

This isn’t just happening in McKinney, but in towns and cities across Texas. In fact, there’s a rush to annex land as soon as possible because cities are responding to a new state law that takes effect December 1. The law allows citizens who live in the extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, of a city to vote on whether they want to become part of the nearby community. That’s why communities are annexing land now as a means of planning for future growth – without having to face voters.

McKinney wants to annex 3,800 acres of land in its ETJ, and the city is currently conducting public hearings.

Nanette Light, who covers Collin County for the Dallas Morning News, says the McKinney mayor has received at least one threat of physical harm, should the city proceed with its plans. ETJ residents who haven’t resorted to threats have expressed strong opposition at council hearings. They fear tax increases and controls over how they can use their land.

“In Texas, property rights are a big deal,” Light says, “and people who live in the ETJ do not vote for city council.”

 

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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