Resident Wesley Tryon moved outside of the city limits several years ago to enjoy the nothingness. He, along with several other residents, could soon have a new way to get to the city and back home thanks to an updated thoroughfare — whether they want it or not.
The City of Waxahachie’s last thoroughfare update was conducted in 2007. Since then, several new neighborhoods and developments have come into the area, necessitating a new update to the city’s thoroughfare plan.
The Waxahachie City Council and Planning and Zoning commission met for a joint workshop last month to discuss some of the changes to their thoroughfare. According to the proposal, updates include straightening Farm-to-Market 664 from a curved to a straight road and smoothing out and aligning the curves during a proposed Butcher Road renovation alongside the northwest corridor.
City engineer James Gaertner said the update focuses mainly on the four corridors surrounding Interstate 35 East and U.S. 287, which is where the most preliminary plats for future developments have been approved.
“It truly is a domino,” planning director Shon Brooks said. “If we make this change, then another change, where do you stop? This was a high-level attempt at trying to fix some problem areas.”
Planning and zoning chairman Rick Keeler said several traffic counts in the area have found there to be over 14,000 vehicles on the roads. The current thoroughfare is not designed to handle that heavy of traffic, and the city needs to make changes that will best serve the people of Waxahachie.
“That’s what staff is trying to do – prepare all of us in the community to make sure we have the connectivity necessary in the long-term plan for the city,” Keeler expressed. “Not just today, but 10,15,20 years down the road.”
Four residents spoke during a public hearing held during the Planning and Zoning commission meeting Tuesday evening. One of those residents was Tryon. He went to the hearing to address the new connection between Black Champ Road and Longbranch Road – which would cut directly into his property nearby.
“I’ve got horses,” he expressed. “I’ve got cows. I’ve got dogs. They’ll be down on the four-lane road if that’s what you’re proposing. We all left the big city and moved out into the country. Now, this is getting crammed down our throats. It’s very upsetting to get this forced upon us.”
Keeler expressed sympathy for Tryon and thanked him for speaking. He stated that this is not an easy process and they’re just trying to find the right solutions that work for all parties and entities involved.
“The thoroughfare plan can be adjusted,” Gaertner stated. “It’s just a general guideline of where we need to put down roads.”
Brooks said the amended thoroughfare would go before the city council in April.