Homeowners in Colleyville facing the threat of alleged eminent domain abuse are fighting back against politicians they say aren’t listening. In an attempt to stop a divided council from moving forward with controversial roadway redevelopment along Glade Road, a local petition drive has placed the decision before voters on a May 9th ballot referendum.
The city originally proposed using eminent domain to take the private property of homeowners along Glade, planning to add sidewalks, hiking trails, and a new drainage system along the corridor. Both the scale and mechanics of the proposal have drawn concerns from homeowners who support alternative solutions.
Proponents of the ‘Protect Glade’ referendum say that road improvements can be made in a fashion that’s better for affected residents and relieves traffic congestion. They support a plan that can be accomplished over a shorter period of time and for less than half the cost, all without taking private land or removing mature trees. If passed, improvements at key intersections and the addition of turn lanes would still be allowed.
City officials have so far refused to properly address their concerns, instead offering unsubstantiated safety claims and dubious legal arguments to counter residents opposing the use of eminent domain.
A video interviewing citizens was recently released by sitting councilman and vocal taxpayer advocate, Chris Putnam. It aims to explain why the “Protect Glade” ballot referendum is so important both to Glade homeowners and Colleyville residents at large.
“Property rights and fiscal responsibility matter,” Putnam stated. “But even more importantly, the way government works with and treats residents affected by its policies also matters. ‘Protect Glade’ is about more than just one road project…it gives residents an opportunity to send a message to city politicians who’ve been unwilling to even listen to their own citizens, let alone compromise.”
Opposition to the ‘Protect Glade’ ballot referendum has come primarily from city officials, including incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Mike Taylor, who’s been at odds with Putnam (and taxpayers) on TexRail and a number of other issues. On February 3rd, 2009, a unanimous Colleyville City Council (including Mr. Taylor) passed a resolution to support a legislative effort to create new county vehicle registration fees, fuel excise taxes, mileage fees, driver’s license and roadway impact fees…all to fund government-run light rail.
Taylor faces an opponent on May 9th, Bobby Lindamood, who Texans for Fiscal Responsibility has endorsed. TFR has also endorsed Elizabeth Zetlin who’s running for an open seat on council. Both Lindamood and Zetlin have articulated their support for the ‘Protect Glade’ ballot referendum and alternative redevelopment proposals.
Colleyville citizens will have an opportunity to weigh in on the Glade referendum on May 9th. Regardless of its outcome, had city officials made a concerted attempt to address local concerns regarding the use of eminent domain, it’s likely the “Protect Glade” petition and resulting ballot referendum would not have been necessary in the first place.