Home access to county roads discussed

Commissioners table plan that would allow some homes to face thoroughfares

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
The Ellis County Historic Courthouse in Waxahachie.

Discussion of a variance for a new subdivision west of Waxahachie took up more than half of the time of the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court regular bi-weekly meeting on Tuesday.

Commissioners tabled until Oct. 19 the variance request for the proposed Cunningham Estates, which is located south of FM 66 and southwest of the intersection of Old Maypearl Road and Cunningham Meadows Road. A request for the 338.434-acre, 221-lot development to allow 23 lots without interior access was discussed.

County development director Alberto Mares told commissioners the current regulation states that if a proposed subdivision has internal roads, all lots must face the interior. Mares said the purpose of this regulation is to reduce the amount of traffic on county roads.

The proposed subdivision has 14 lots that would face Old Maypearl and nine facing Cunningham Meadows, with driveway access directly to each road. Mares said while the two roads are not on the county’s thoroughfare plan, they are on Waxahachie’s plan and direct driveway access can reduce a road’s capacity. Additionally, the narrowness and limited visibility of the two roads presently create a traffic hazard.

Citizens spoke to the court in opposition to the variance, and Precinct 3 Commissioner Paul Perry read a letter of opposition signed by eight residents of Cunningham Meadows.

Developer Lance Rust and engineer Todd Winters told the court that a retention system will be put in place to control runoff, and the project will take between five to 10 years to complete. Winters said the lots facing the two roads are large lots that will act as a buffer for the interior lots. Rust said the houses on the lots facing Cunningham Meadows will be deed-restricted to 3,000 square feet minimum.

Perry recommended tabling the request so the parties can meet with residents to resolve any issues.

A diagram of a proposed traffic shift at the intersection of Cunningham Meadows Road and Old Maypearl Road in Ellis County. The existing turn lane at that location will be converted into one-way traffic.

A traffic change was recently approved at the intersection of Old Maypearl and Cunningham Meadows that changed a curve into a one-way right turn.

All four county commissioners and County Judge Todd Little were present.

Other items

• Little recognized County Treasurer Cheryl Chambers for her Texas Outstanding Treasurer Award for 2021-2022, and Emergency Services District No. 2 treasurer Tom Manning for his 20 years of service as a volunteer. Manning will be resigning at the end of the year.

• The approved consent agenda consisted of previous meeting minutes, property tax refunds in the amount of $5,333.54, interlocal cooperation contracts with the cities of Garrett, Ennis, Bardwell and Alma as well as with the Avalon and Ennis ISDs, and three budgetary line-item transfers.

• A plat of a 13.981-acre property on the east side of Ensign Road near Ennis was OK’d. Also approved was a one-time variance to allow two lots not to meet the minimum size requirement on the north side of Kaspar Lane near Ennis. Because of incomplete paperwork, no action was taken on a plat for a 3.452-acre property on the north side of Alsdorf Road, also near Ennis.

• An $88,690 performance bond was accepted for the proposed 16.984-acre Thunder Ridge development at the southwest corner of Old Maypearl Road and Falling Leaves Drive.

• A five-year cooperative agreement was reached with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

• The results of the Sept. 28 special runoff election were canvassed and approved by the court.

• Five members of a county redistricting committee were appointed by the court. They include Ashley Collins of Midlothian, retired county Commissioner Dennis Robinson, retired Congressman Joe Barton, Midlothian City Council member Hud Hartson and retired teacher Ron Appleton, with three alternates named. Two public speakers objected to adding Barton to the committee because of a lurid 2017 scandal that resulted in his retirement from Congress. The vote was 3-1 for approval, with Perry casting the “no” vote.

• Commissioners approved a cooperative agreement with Ennis Garden Club for the placement of signs for the annual Bluebonnet Trail event next spring. A work order under the cooperative agreement for the sign placements was approved in a separate motion.

• Following an executive session, the court took no public action.