Mckinney Courier-gazette > News
Developer may sue city of Weston, council
By Brandi Hart, McKinney Courier-Gazette
WESTON — Tomlin Investments, developer of the Parks of Honey Creek subdivision that will include about 5,232 lots, may file a lawsuit against the city of Weston.
Scott Norris, a partner with Tomlin Investments in Addison, said the company may sue the city and some individual city council members because the council approved a resolution Tuesday to ask the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to postpone taking action on the city’s application for a certificate of convenience and necessity. The city had applied for a CCN for a wastewater discharge permit. Tomlin Investments needs the wastewater treatment plant to provide sewer service to the subdivision that has not yet been built.
“Legal action is something we must consider. The land has cost tens of millions of dollars. The paperwork has cost more than half of a million dollars, just on the city side. A lot of time has been wasted on dealing with small-town politics. We’ve got a lot of money at risk, and a lot of money out there,” Norris said.
He said Tomlin Investments is not out to bankrupt the city and wants to work with city leaders to build the subdivision and wastewater treatment plant, but feels the council is opposed to growth.
The permit would allow the city to construct a wastewater treatment plant to provide sewer service to the subdivision and current Weston residents who wish to connect to the plant. It would be the first wastewater treatment plant for Weston as its current residents use septic systems.
The city’s application has been met with some protests from Weston residents and those who live just outside the city limits.
Administrative law Judge Sarah Ramos issued a proposal for decision March 19 suggesting the TCEQ commissioners deny the city’s application for the permit due to concerns of possible flooding on the wastewater treatment plant site.
City Council member Trek Wallace made the motion on the CCN resolution Tuesday night. Council member Jerry Randall seconded Wallace’s motion and Mayor Pro Tem Scott Morrissey also voted for the resolution.
“We need to see if we can work things out with the protesters on this. There are lots of documents that we need that are not at city hall. We had mover 102,000 files that were deleted from the city computer and 12,000 of those files were communication files that could have been e-mails about the subdivision and the sewer plant,” Morrissey said.
He believes a former city employee downloaded some files from the computer at city hall, Morrissey said.
The two men are new to the council as they were elected in May and were not part of the negotiations with the council and Norris about the subdivision and the wastewater treatment plant, Wallace said. The resolution was still waiting to be signed by Morrissey on Thursday afternoon before it could be sent to the office of Bryn Meredith, an attorney who is representing the city who works for the Fort Worth law firm Taylor, Olson, Adkins, Sralla and Elam. Meredith did not return a call Thursday about the resolution.
Council member Bruce Morrell voted against the resolution. Council member Debbie Reyno and Mayor Ed Town did not vote because they were not at the meeting.
Wallace said he wanted the TCEQ commissioners to take action on the item because he has not had time to review the information about the application for the CCN.
“We did what we had to do for the interest of the city itself. There are still some questions we have. What we’re concerned about is what the protesters said about why they are protesting the wastewater treatment plant and we want to take into account what they were saying,” Wallace said.
Some people who live on property adjacent to where the wastewater treatment plant could be built, in the southern section of the city, and Town are party members in a State Office of Administrative Hearings case about the CCN application for the treatment plant. Town also filed a request with the SOAH to have him removed as a party member in the case. Ramos submitted a letter dated Aug. 1 to Town that states his request to have himself withdrawn as a party member in the case was received after she had already submitted her proposal for decision to the TCEQ and she forwarded Town’s request to the TCEQ, said Cathleen Parsley, a SOAH spokesperson. Town could not be reached at his home by deadline Thursday.
Randall could not be reached at his home Thursday afternoon for comment.
The council is planning to discuss the issue at its regular monthly meeting on Aug. 14 at the Weston City Hall and is planning on holding workshops to further discuss the development and wastewater treatment plant.
“Yes, we’ll discuss it in future council meetings, but we have to post the agenda 72 hours in advance, and the public can be there and it becomes a logistics nightmare to make sure everybody can be here,” Wallace said.
He added that he’s not sure the city asking for a CCN to get a wastewater treatment plant was the “proper way to do it,” regarding getting a wastewater treatment plant to support the subdivision. A municipality must file an application with the state agency, such as the TCEQ to request to build a wastewater treatment plant in a city.
If the TCEQ does not grant the city’s application, Tomlin Investments plans to apply for a wastewater discharge permit to build a wastewater treatment plant to support the subdivision, which eventually should become a fresh water supply district, Norris said. The Parks of Honey Creek will have its own police service, a large park, an amenity center, tennis courts, and three school sites, two of which will be in the Celina ISD and the other school will be in the McKinney ISD. The subdivision will also have 566 lots on 147 acres in phase one, which is located immediately south of downtown Weston.
The total subdivision has more than 1,600 acres. The Weston Water Supply Corp. could supply water to 350 homes in phase one of the subdivision, Norris said. The city and the developer would have to look for an additional water supply to support the rest of the homes in phase one and for the rest of the subdivision, Norris said. The city could possibly work with the Collin Grayson Municipal Alliance, which is comprised of the cities of Melissa, Anna, Van Alstyne and Howe, which have secured a North Texas Municipal Water District line for their cities, Norris said.
For now, Norris is focusing on ensuring city officials try to adhere to the agreement between Tomlin Investments and the city.
“If they abide by this, I don’t have the right to sue them,” Norris said.
Contact staff writer Brandi Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org. To post comments online, access this story at www.scntx.com.
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