Salado aldermen unanimously approved a resolution rejecting a Petition for Disannexation of Land at their July 21 meeting. John Newman threatened litigation through a letter distributed to the board on July 21.
“Taking up the Disannexation Petition after a delay of 140 days with no prior notice to the Circulator, and therein the Petitioners, is continuation of a bias against your constituents residing in the southern neighborhoods, who are mentally and physically bearing the brunt of the contrary development within Sanctuary. It is governance by ambush and an invitation for disaster,”Newman stated in the letter. “If you adopt the proposed resolution, litigation will soon follow.”
Newman further asserts in the letter: “The courts have ruled that “the metes and bounds description necessary to meet the requirements of a deed is not necessary” for a boundary description. The disannexation statutes do not mention, much less call for, a Licensed Land Surveyor to prepare or certify petition metes and bounds.”
Local Government Code stated in Sec. 43.143. “DISANNEXATION BY PETITION AND ELECTION IN GENERAL-LAW MUNICIPALITY. (a) When at least 50 qualified voters of an area located in a general-law municipality sign and present a petition to the mayor of the municipality that describes the area by metes and bounds and requests that the area be declared no longer part of the municipality, the mayor shall order an election on the question in the municipality.”
Village administrator Don Ferguson told aldermen that after receiving the petition, the village contracted with a licensed surveyor to plot the area based upon the metes and bounds described in the Petition for Disannexation. “The petitioner provided a map and a metes and bounds description,” Ferguson said. “The image, once plotted by a licensed surveyor, the metes and bounds did not meet. The petition is not able to be validated because it is not accurate.”
Newman addressed a 2017 Petition for Disannexation that aldermen called for despite possible issues with the metes and bounds description of the area to be disannexed.
“Then City Attorneys Alan Bojorquez and Linda Sjogren advised the City of the same, and out of justifiable fear of losing in court, that Board voted 4-1 to place the 2017 Disannexation Measure to a vote,” Newman stated.” If this resolution is adopted, the petitioner’s Attorney, who has been prepared to litigate this exact issue since 2017, will immediately seek relief in the courts, will easily get this resolution overruled, and you will be under a court order to call for this vote.”
Attorney Linda Sjogren advised the board in 2017 that “The downside of approving the election would be getting challenged,” Sjogren said. She added that the downside of not calling the election is “you will be challenged.”
“There is case law for annexation, not for disannexation, that says if the metes and bounds don’t close, you don’t have a described area,” Sjogren said.
The 2017 Disannexation Petition described an area that was principally Mill Creek and the northern portion of Salado. It failed by a vote of 707 against to 116 for with 44% of registered voters within the Village casting ballots.
Prior to taking action July 21 to reject the Petition for Disannexation, aldermen took public comment.
“I am deeply concerned about zoning and what can happen around us and police protection,” said Douglas Nelson, who lives in the area proposed for disannexation. “The idea that 57 votes can bring forward something like this is repugnant to me as a homeowner. I appreciate that you take this as seriously as you have.”
Newman, who led the effort to bring the Petition for Annexation and delivered it to Mayor Michael Coggin in February this year, does not live in the area proposed for disannexation.