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Posted on: July 10, 2019

County to regulate development in ETJ

By Brian Knox | Wise County Messenger

Home-Building

HOME BUILDING – Homes and other developments being built in Decatur’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, such as these homes just east of the city, will no longer submit their plans to the city but rather the county following the approval of an interlocal agreement by both government entities. Messenger photo by Brian Knox 

The county has new authority over development in Decatur’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

At Monday’s meeting, the Decatur City Council approved an interlocal cooperation agreement with Wise County that grants the county exclusive jurisdiction to regulate all subdivision plats and approve all related permits in the city’s ETJ.

Previously, the city had the authority over plats within its ETJ.

“Currently the city has the platting authority in the ETJ. However, as a result of the Tier II legislation, we started to question whether or not it makes sense for Decatur to have platting authority,” said City Planning Director Dedra Ragland. “Our authority is very limited. There’s not a lot of leverage that goes with that. If someone decides they don’t want to plat, and they want to go ahead and build they can do that because we do not have permitting authority in the ETJ.”

The Tier II legislation Ragland referenced is the legislation passed this past spring that effectively ends involuntary annexation by cities.

For the past few months, Mayor Martin Woodruff and two other council members, Mike McQuiston and former council member Randy Parker, met with staff and with county officials to discuss how to resolve the issue.

At a council meeting in February, City Engineer Earl Smith explained that while the city had been responsible for reviewing plans for development, the former agreement stated that between the city’s requirements and the county’s requirements, the more stringent criteria would be applied for those applications in the ETJ.

For instance, the county maintains roads in the city’s ETJ. But the city requires sidewalks and curbs with concrete streets, which the county does not have the ability to maintain.

On the other hand, the county often has more stringent requirements for rules dealing with drainage.

The new agreement gives the county full authority to regulate those types of issues.

“I’m sure ready to get this done,” Mayor Woodruff said to the council. “Commissioners court already approved this agreement, so with your approval of this tonight, I’m signing on behalf of the city so effective immediately we will no longer be in the (ETJ) platting business except for the ones already in the process.”

The council voted unanimously to enter into the agreement.

View the original Wise County Messenger Article.

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