I have recently learned a city is demanding an elderly couple get a city building permit before they build a house on property in an unincorporated area of Collin County.
They have owned the land for decades. This is not a development the couple is building—it is their own house to live in.
Let me be very clear: the city has no legal authority to demand this action. This is another egregious example of government overreach in an Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). And a county court filing on Friday in a different case on this exact issue concurs: the city has no legal authority for its illegal action.
What the city does have is the weight of government behind their demands and deep pockets for any legal proceedings. The couple has neither.
The fact that the city demand has no legal basis doesn’t matter to the couple’s contractors. Of course, they won’t continue their work once the government weighs in.
To add insult to injury, the city is also demanding they give the city part of their land for a road.
The fact is, an individual city’s ETJ is unincorporated land. While a city intends to annex this land at some point, it remains unincorporated until the city annexes. Until then, the county has primary responsibility for that land.
I intend to ask my colleagues on the Commissioners Court to get engaged in this and other examples of overreach by cities into their ETJs. The Court has been ordered by judges to enter two other similar ongoing cases, and I believe we should remain consistent.
The first duty of government is to preserve individual liberty. So it follows the Commissioners Court’s role is to protect the property rights of its citizens. I will continue to make that case on their behalf.