McKinney eminent domain vote

The McKinney City Council approved in a 6-1 vote to direct the city manager to acquire property, using eminent domain if necessary, for a public parking project.

The vote approved a resolution that authorizes and directs City Manager Paul Grimes to negotiate for and acquire multiple lots for the city’s East Louisiana Public Parking Project.

The project is generally located east of Highway 5 between East Louisiana and Anthony streets, the resolution states. According to the resolution, the city council has declared a “public need and necessity” for the project.

Through the resolution, the council has allowed and directed Grimes to do “each and every act necessary” to acquire the property. That includes authorizing him to conduct negotiations, give notices and use eminent domain to condemn the property where necessary, the resolution states.

Before the council voted, Mayor George Fuller said the approval of the resolution does not mean eminent domain will automatically be put in place.

“Right now we’re still in the process of negotiating with the owner,” Fuller said. “This motion is not to begin an eminent domain process, it’s to grant in the event that that becomes necessary. But we are negotiating in good faith and attempting to purchase this property in the market way.”

The resolution designates the city manager, or anyone he designates, as the appointed negotiator for the property acquisition. If Grimes or the person he designates for the job determines that an agreement cannot be reached, city staff are authorized to file proceedings in eminent domain to acquire the property.

The property is currently owned by McKinney Mobile Park, LLC, according to city documentation.

The council also discussed the resolution during its earlier work session on the same day. Fuller said the relocation of mobile homes on the property was a concern.

“Anytime we do a purchase of property, we always provide the property owners the Texas property owners bill of rights, which includes the clauses of relocation,” Engineering Director Gary Graham said. “So we’re in negotiations with the property owners right now, and that is all factored into those discussions that we have with them.”

During the work session, Councilman La’Shadion Shemwell expressed concern, saying he didn’t see language regarding eminent domain that addressed a relocation plan.

“I would not be in favor at all, as we had in prior discussions, of eminent domain without a relocation plan for the many low-income residents that are housed here,” he said.

City Attorney Mark Houser said it was part of the process, and that it was required to address the relocation of any residents on the property if the council moved forward with the eminent domain.

“It would be part of negotiations, hopefully, that we could reach an agreement with the owner, and how those residents would be relocated,” he said, “and we’re working internally on places that those residents could be relocated to.”

Fuller and Rogers voted in favor of the resolution, as did council members Scott Elliot, Rick Franklin, Charlie Philips and Frederick Frazier. Shemwell voted against the resolution.

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