Kaufman County Judge Bobby Rich has granted Spradley Farms a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the city of Mesquite and has ordered the city to cease all activities that would stop the proposed luxury residential project.
According to the TRO, the plaintiffs have pleaded two causes of action in this matter – a breach of contract and fraud in connection with a real estate document.
The court also ordered Mesquite city leaders to send a letter to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that retracts previous opposition to the project.
The TRO was granted with the understanding that the facts likely would force the city to honor the contract with Spradley Farms. With the TRO granted, Spradley Farms will be asking for a permanent injunction against the city with the likelihood that a final trial on the merits of the case would find the city is in breach of contract and could be required to pay millions of dollars in damages paid for by tax dollars.
In November 2019 the Mesquite City Council approved an incentives package, including a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, and a development agreement for the proposed Spradley Farms luxury residential development, a 622-acre project on Interstate 20 near FM740. With council approval last fall, the city then entered into a contract with the Spradley Farms developers.
In January, the newly elected council voted to break the November 2019 agreement with Spradley Farms. Only Council Member Tandy Boroughs voted to honor the agreement.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, Mayor Bruce Archer said the City Council’s action was "to protect the city from a funding mechanism that will cost Mesquite citizens millions of dollars including dozens of older neighborhoods that are struggling to revitalize to unfairly bear such costs.
"The developer knew of these concerns, had the opportunity to modify the funding mechanism, but refused,” the statement said. “The City Council supports the Spradley Farms development concept and has offered to compromise and seek a better funding mechanism that won’t hurt our citizens for the next 40 years. The City Council acted within its legislative authority and looks forward to presenting the facts to the court to resolve this matter."
The court has ordered both parties to appear in court on Feb. 21 for a hearing on Spradley Farms' motion for a temporary injunction.
(Updated Feb. 12 at 11:10 p.m.)
Originally, the City Council had planned an on emergency council meeting for Friday, Feb. 14. City staff stated that this was no longer necessary.