DART file

Coppell officials said things are about to get rolling on the DART Silver Line project in the coming weeks.

During last week’s meeting the City Council unanimously approved a resolution to support DART’s resolutions as it relates to the Silver Line alignment, including the ability to use eminent domain.

Traci Leach, deputy city manager, said the Silver Line alignment will impact 15 properties in Coppell. Those locations are west of S. Denton Tap Road.

Leach said the acquisition activities will be done by DART. She said the city has no actual role regarding the acquisition of the properties noted in the resolution.

However, DART’s legislation requires that it has its eminent domain resolution approved by the governmental entity where the property is located before it can begin acquiring those properties.

“This action does not guarantee that those properties that are listed in those resolutions are automatically set for eminent domain,” Leach said. “Essentially what this does is clears the path for DART to start the process to send the formal offer letters and begin those formal negotiations regarding the acquisitions. Eminent domain is of course one of the options available but is not the go-to in terms of a certainty as they work through that process with each of those individual property owners.”

Leach said there will likely be another resolution brought to the council early in 2021 for two final properties.

Councilman Wes Mays explained his thoughts on eminent domain before voting for the resolution.

“As much as I would hate to see eminent domain exercised for the acquisition of any property there is a reason for the enablement of an eminent domain taking,” Mays said. “And I think the access to the citizens of the area to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit overrides that taking of the properties.”

While the land acquisition is not part of Coppell’s purview, Leach updated the council on how the city is helping the project get started.

“Our goal as we’ve been working with DART and AWH [Archer Western Herzog] is really to be flexible enough to allow them to stay on their preferred construction schedule knowing that we have yet to finalize the conveyance of the property that we own that’s located in the city of Dallas that will ultimately become the Cypress Waters Rail Station,” Leach said.

Leach said the city has been working with the city attorney and DART to finalize the documents for the conveyance.

“We do anticipate that that will be brought to the council likely in February,” Leach said.

She said before that happens various site prep and pre-construction activities are expected to occur. She said some of those will be low maintenance work, such as geotechnical staking and fencing.

Higher intensity work includes grading, grubbing and clearing of the property for the station and the rail right-of-way.

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