Snider Lane Residents Oppose Lakeview Downs Annexation
Among the most difficult tasks facing small town city councils in Texas these days is trying to balance the often-conflicting interests of land developers and existing residents, many of whom, like Mary Black who has lived in Lucas 48 years, have enjoyed the peaceful benefits of rural life for a long, long time. This was the case on the evening of July 5, 2018 at the Lucas City Council meeting.
It was no surprise that only six citizens attended the council meeting on the night following Fourth of July celebrations, but it is also revealing that of the six, four, all living along Snider Lane, attended to object to a proposed annexation application for a replat of Lakeview Downs that, if granted, would result in the construction of 116 homes on lots of approximately one acre along Snider Lane.
Snider Lane is located adjacent to Lake Lavon and runs east and west for only about a mile and a half in the northeast corner of Lucas between North Winningkoff Road and East Lucas Road. Among the common issues concerning residents who spoke are concerns about traffic, school buses, and the potential for mobile home development.
East Lucas Road crosses Lake Lavon and recently, because so many new residents have moved into the town, traffic during morning and evening commutes often nears gridlock at the traffic light at the intersection of East Lucas Road and North Winningkoff Road. Tom Kaplan, a 24-year long Snider Lane resident, spoke angrily to the Lucas City Council accusing the council of “Doing anything that you can to serve developers.” He shared his fears that because of heavy traffic on East Lucas Road, commuters would be increasingly tempted to use Snider Lane as an alternative route to avoid traffic lights. He is also concerned about the development of mobile home communities in his neighborhood.
Both Mayor Jim Olk and Mayor Pro-Tem Kathleen Poole responded sympathetically and calmly by explaining that by annexing the Lakeview Downs plat the city would have enhanced authority to prohibit mobile home development and would then control much of the infrastructure development that would benefit current residents. Olk said, “This city council, and all of its predecessors, is determined to preserve the quality of life that we all enjoy in Lucas but we must also recognize that Collin County is among the fastest growing counties in all of the nation.” Olk went on to explain that by requiring minimum building lots of one acre together with the absence of city sewer lines (homes in Lucas must have septic tanks) high density home and apartment construction is intentionally thwarted. Currently there are less than 50 homes along or adjacent to Snider Lane.
Because of its location, children in the Snider Lane neighborhood may be assigned to one of three different school districts; Lovejoy, Princeton or McKinney, depending upon the location of each home. “This means that on any given school day, many busses already crisscross our neighborhood”, said Mary Black, “With 116 more new homes looming the problem is likely to grow worse. Also, those who purchase homes in Lakeview Downs assuming their kids will go to Lovejoy Schools may move out when they discover their kids have been assigned to McKinney or Princeton. If they do, this will damage the value of our homes”.
Another Snider Lane resident, Barry Brook, testified about his fear that something must be done to mitigate traffic and speeding along Snider Lane. “While I oppose the installation of speed bumps, something must be done to discourage excessive speed”. Mayor Olk responded by supporting the idea of traffic calming measures.
The proposed annexation will be taken up again at the next Lucas City Council meeting.
In another matter, the city council discussed its interest to enhance Wi-Fi service in the city because, explained Mayor Olk, “We don’t know which providers are delivering Wi-Fi service to Lucas residents in different neighborhoods. I asked AT&T, for example, and they wouldn’t share this information. Many residents are complaining that they either have inadequate Wi-Fi connectivity or have none at all.” The council is preparing a survey that will go to all residents in hopes of gathering sufficient data in order to develop plans for enhanced service.
Finally, City Engineer Stanton Foerster briefed the council on a paving failure along West Lucas Road. The problem, the peeling away of newly installed asphalt, Foerster explained results from a lack of adhesion between the new asphalt and the underlying base likely due to the misapplication of new asphalt when the air temperature was below 60 degrees and some layers of the new asphalt consist of less than the standard 1.5” layer of new asphalt. Foerster presented the council with his analysis of 89 core samples that he took recently in which it was discovered that 26 of the samples contained only ¾” of asphalt, half of the standard application.
Reynolds Asphalt, the contractor responsible for the project has suggested that the city file a claim with Reynold’s insurance company but Foerster recommended that the city withhold final payment to Reynolds and negotiate directly with the company to resolve the issue. The anticipated cost of repairs is estimated to be $60,000. This matter will be taken up at the next Lucas City Council meeting on July 19, 2018 if the city and Reynolds have had an opportunity to achieve a proposed fix.