Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Parker County became the first county in Texas to order a vote allowing residents a voice on whether or not county residents can be involuntarily annexed into a municipality.
County Judge Mark Riley and the Commissioners Court accepted the petition, which was deemed in order by Elections Administrator Don Markum, at their Monday April 9 session of Commissioners Court sending the historic petition to opt Parker County to a Tier 2 status to the November, 2018 ballot.
“Our group is excited this proposition will be on the ballot in November and that we have led the way for other counties all across the state,” Stop Zion Hill Annexation Board member Laura Hester said.
In late 2017, concerned citizens of the Zion Hill community started the process of gathering signatures for a municipal annexation reform “opt in” petition under a new state law that was enacted in 2017. The group of county residents did not want to be involuntarily annexed into the City of Weatherford. The new state law limited involuntary annexation but only to the largest counties in the state, those with populations of 500,000 or more.
However, Rep Phil King of Weatherford, substituted an amendment to the law which allowed residents of those counties not included in the legislation to file an “opt in” petition, which if approved by voters would give residents of counties like Parker a vote to ban forced annexation.
They needed to come up with 10 percent of registered voters, which was 8,926 signatures, the group came up with over 15,000, surpassing the amount of signatures needed.
“Thank you citizens of Parker County,” said Dedra Vick, a leader of Stop Zion Hill Annexation group. “Now we have to make sure we get out and vote in November.”
Members of the Texas Association of Realtors were on hand at the meeting showing their support, including Lisa Elkins a Parker County Resident and member of the Greater Metro West Association of Realtors.
“Being a realtor myself, it is very important our group maintains and supports the residents of Parker County in this endeavor and that we stand up for private property rights,” Elkins said.
Hester said it is about our basic rights as Americans.
“Parker County residents deserve the right to make decisions about their property,” Hester said. “Cities should not have full power to forcibly annex your property. We understand cities will grow, but they should partner with county residents and plan together for future growth, not just take your land into the city limits for your tax revenue.”