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Motion challenges utility district petition

by | Jun 17, 2024 | Area News, Latest

A group of Collin County residents has filed a motion with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to declare the petition for the creation of Collin County Municipal Utility District (MUD) No. 7 null and void.
The petition was published Tuesday, June 11, in the Collin County Commercial Record by Restore the Grasslands (RTG), which has sought to develop a community of 666 single-family homes on 102 acres between Parker and Murphy.
Members of the protest group Communities and Creeks United then filed a June 14 motion asking the TCEQ to throw out the RTG petition.
RTG Managing Partner John Cox said today he had no immediate comment on the motion since he had not seen it and was awaiting a review by counsel.
Last year, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) granted RTG a permit to build and operate a wastewater treatment plant allowed to discharge up to 200,000 gallons of treated sewage per day into Maxwell Creek.
RTG, linked to the family trusts of developers Donald and Phillip Huffines, also sought to create a MUD to govern up to 666 single-family homes in the development and have authority to levy taxes and sell bonds.
In February, a state administrative law judge ordered RTG to repost its MUD application because it was filed in the name of Harrington Turner Enterprises (HTE) the landowner that sold the property to RTG and would not be involved in future development.
Reposting of the MUD petition allows more protestants to join the 12 already on record as opposing creation of the district.
RTG had been negotiating with the Parker City Council and had proposed a development agreement abandoning plans for the wastewater treatment plant and reducing the density to 255 homes on one-quarter-acre lots.
The proposal would have paid the city $2.5 million in return for providing water and sewer service as well as dropping opposition to the MUD.
The city attorney presented the proposal at an April 23 council meeting, but councilmembers did not vote on it.
RTG withdrew the proposal the next day and filed to withdraw from Parker’s ETJ.
The Parker City Council voted June 4 to deny RTG’s request to withdraw from the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and agreed to join 20 other cities in a suit challenging the constitutionality of a new state law allowing developers to opt out of city restrictions.
RTG’s second petition to create the MUD was posted May 23 by TCEQ and published June 11.
The protestants’ motion calls the revised notice “fatally defective,” citing multiple inaccuracies.
“Notice does not satisfy due process principles because it does not contain the accurate, complete, and true information required by law,” the motion reads.
The protestants’ motion said the commission had never ruled on the administrative law judge’s return of the original MUD petition that included Harrington Turner Enterprises as a party.
The motion also notes a $6.75 million lien on 12 acres inside the Parker city limits by First United Bank & Trust Company of Oklahoma, which protestants said was not disclosed in the TCEQ notice.
They argue that the bank could potentially become the landowner through foreclosure, further complicating the situation.
Protestants said the lien, dated Dec. 14, 2023, also included an unspecified environmental indemnification for the bank from RTG.
“Protestants vigorously object to the defective May 23, 2024, Notice and vigorously object to the TCEQ permitting or allowing RTG to circumvent the law in pursuing Proposed MUD No. 7 and any other MUD or relief,” the motion said.

For more on this story see the June 20, 2024, print or digital edition of the Murphy Monitor. Subscribe today and support local journalism in your community.

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