Annexation order extended
A temporary restraining order between the City of Fredericksburg and the “E. 290 Owners’ Coalition,” an unincorporated nonprofit association, has been extended by the 216th District Court.
The group is opposing the city’s efforts to annex 213.64 acres of land along U.S. 290 East.
The original order, filed on Monday, April 15, was set to last 14 days, but a judge granted an indefinite extension on Tuesday, April 23, City Attorney Daniel Jones said.
“We have to cease and desist from taking any further action on the matter,” Jones said. “There is no expiration date as of right now.”
Currently, a trial is set for Feb. 3 or 4, 2020 but Jones and District Clerk Jan Davis said the date could be moved up based on court availability.
Jones said this should not prevent the city from taking action on other land annexations.
“The order should not have an effect on any other annexations. It is specific to the 213.64 acres along U.S. 290 East,” Jones said.
The biggest concern is coming to an agreement with the citizens, Jones said.
“We want to reach an agreement with terms the homeowners and landowners are comfortable with,” Jones said. “The agreement could provide alterations from the regular annexation agreements like certain land uses.”
As with most annexations, the same zoning, building codes and rights and responsibilities would have to be followed, unless otherwise laid out in the agreements.
“Some land uses may be allowed and some zoning and building codes could have the potential to be grandfathered in,” Jones said.
For property owner Mickey Poole, the issue is about trust. Poole said his developments on the southern side of U.S. 290 East could raise substantially in price if he had to follow all city building restrictions.
“What they are proposing is like a watered-down C-2 zoning designation,” Poole said. “It’s similar, except the city retains full architectural control. So for we property owners, it would be like trying to build something in the historic district, but on steroids.”
Poole said one example was a building on which the owner wanted to use steel trusses, at a cost of about $16,000. He said the entity’s insistence on timber trusses to match building restrictions would have driven the cost of that part of the project to $139,000.
“I don’t need somebody looking over my shoulder,” Poole told the Standard-Radio Post.
Poole said he had close to 100% of landowner signatures on the original restraining order petition.
The Fredericksburg City Council will meet in executive session on Thursday, May 2 at 8:30 a.m. to discuss the matter further.