Opponents of a proposed annexation plan won what they consider a David vs. Goliath-style victory Tuesday as the Weatherford City Council decided against annexing 1,300 acres north of the city.
“A group of country folk took on the biggest city in their county and ran them back to their city limits,” said Nathan Vick, an outspoken opponent of the annexation plan.
Weatherford officials had wanted to annex 1,300 acres of unincorporated Parker Country, including land north of the city and the Zion Hill community. The annexation was sought as a way of controlling growth, city officials said previously.
But the proposal was met with heated opposition.
“Weatherford underestimated the people of Zion Hill,” Vick said. “They thought we were merely a group of bumpkins who would just fall over with no push back and they were wrong; we are organized, driven and have a commitment to ours and our neighbors’ rights.”
Shortly after the meeting convened the council went into executive session for a little more than an hour. After returning, Mayor Craig Swancy read a statement to an overflow crowd, explaining that the annexation plans had been nixed, including public hearings scheduled for later Tuesday and Thursday.
“Many of us have our own opinions, some of us have organized opinions, but all of us have concerns,” Swancy said.
Swancy also emphasized the importance of planning for any city, and cited transportation issues as an example.
“The city of Weatherford knows more people will move here and more businesses will relocate here,” he said. “More vehicles will traverse our county ... it’s inevitable. We must prepare for the influx of growth; it’s not going to go away. So how do we prepare? Cities plan.”
Swancy said, however, there are times cities have to listen.
“It’s what makes our country so great and our community so strong,” he said. “We call this democracy.”
Swancy said concern about the controversy surrounding the annexation prompted the city’s decision.
“Taxpayers deserve the facts, and the facts have been distorted. We will not let our side interests divide our community for political gain. We hope political leaders come together in the future for the benefit of all of Parker County. For these reasons, we wish to consider staff recommendations to cancel tonight’s public hearing as well as on Sept. 14th, which will discontinue the north annexation and Zion Hill Loop annexation,” Swancy said.
Vick said the fight isn’t not over.
“Current state law will continue to allow Weatherford to involuntary annex property, and due to newly passed laws, we have been able to start a petition that will ultimately be brought to an election next November 2018,” Vick said. “I am very happy with the vote tonight, but ... they will try and annex again. We are celebrating in Zion Hill tonight.”
Lance Winter: 817-390-7274