Commissioners decided to table a decision approving an alignment for the future US 380 bypass and authorizing the purchase of land along County Road 164 and Bloomdale Road along the approved route. It will be revisited Jan. 25, after the Texas Department of Transportation hosts a virtual meeting Jan. 21 to outline possibilities for the highway from Coit Road to FM 1827.
TxDOT has already expressed favor for the idea that the land be used for a future freeway, according to county staff, but the department is in the process of conducting an environmental impact statement for US 380. County officials stated this study could take several years before any official recommendation is reached, and immediate action is needed.
Commissioners were urged by county staff to acquire the land as soon as possible before developers proceed with plans to build houses along the land. Additionally, the North Texas Municipal Water District needs to install a large water supply line to the city of McKinney as soon as possible. The easement required for this project falls within the US 380 alignment.
“There is a level of urgency along this—it's twofold," Collin County Engineering Director Clarence Daugherty said. “ One is that there are developers that could close this corridor, and the other is that we need to coordinate to provide a way for them to provide this water supply line.”
McKinney Mayor George Fuller attended Monday’s court meeting and echoed the notion that Collin County ought to act as soon as possible to ensure that McKinney and the county are able to appropriately accommodate their growing populations.
“[TxDOT has] made that as clear as I think they can, and delaying purchasing of the land in that area is going to ... end up costing us a great deal more money as it gets developed,” Fuller said. “We have an opportunity to preempt that, and I believe it’s very important.”
The county would have sought to buy land from willing private sellers, but several officials in attendance at the Jan. 4 meeting expressed doubt that many would be willing to sell.
Collin County Judge Chris Hill brought up this possibility. In that case, Daugherty said, the county would have to design an alternative road plan, then condemn and seize the land by eminent domain.
“I think it's likely ... there will be at least one parcel ... that needs to be taken by condemnation,” Hill said. “I just think that's realistic. So, again, ... if we were to start by saying, ‘I won't support eminent domain ever,’ I think that's equivalent to saying, 'We're not going to have a highway.'”
TxDOT’s virtual meeting can be viewed at www.keepitmovingdallas.com/us380eisscopingmeeting starting Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. It will remain available through Feb. 5.