The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

October 16, 2012

City of Quinlan laying groundwork for road to city official’s property

potential quinlan road sparks controversy between city, landowner, transportation department

By Joseph Hamrick and Caleb Slinkard
Herald-Banner Staff

— QUINLAN — Confusion surrounds proposed groundwork for a Quinlan access road being built with city dollars to a city official’s property.

City Consultant Billy Green, City Councilmember Carolyn Strickland, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Engineering Technician David Escobedo, and landowner Billy Ladd have all told conflicting stories about what is being built.

Green confirmed that the city is laying groundwork for an access road from State Highway 34 through Ladd’s property to approximately 250 acres that Green owns. He denied that the groundwork had anything to do with providing access to his land, which sits outside the city limits.

“I had it surveyed on behalf of the city,” he said. “TxDOT has told us that they are going to be making more restrictions on building roads in the future, so we are laying the groundwork now.”

According to Green, the date of the actual road construction is unknown. However, even preliminary work requires a permit to be filed and approved by TxDOT, Escobedo said, something the city had not done as of Monday morning.

Escobedo was contacted by Ladd, who told him the city was trying to build an access road through Ladd’s property. Escobedo said he contacted the council and met with Green on the issue.

“We’re still trying to figure out if the city or Mr. Ladd owns that part [of the property],” he said. “We are still looking at criteria they don’t meet. [The road] does not meet the spacing criteria that comes out of our driveway manual. The minimum distance is 400 feet between the three streets, and [the current distance is] 360 feet.”

Escobedo said that if the city does build an access road, it would have to remove Ladd’s driveway and connect it to the access road.

According to Ladd, because the proposed location of the road is near a blind spot on State Highway 34, which has no shoulder, it would pose a serious hazard for drivers turning onto the highway.

“You put a road there and it will be dangerous,” he said. “I’m going to have to start selling a lot of white crosses for people who die in my front yard. We got rid of all these other dictators in other countries, and we have one right here in Quinlan, Texas in Billy Green.”

Escobedo also questions the safety of the road.

“I had safety concerns because of the close proximity to existing driveways,” he said.

Strickland disagreed.

“I don’t see a street there as a safety risk,” she said.

Ladd first began to notice the city preparing for the access road when he returned to his Quinlan property and found a large pile of dirt in his front yard. Ladd had the dirt spread, and later discovered it had been placed by Green, he said. After returning later from a hunting trip, he found flags from the highway to the edge of his property, which is bordered by Green’s land.

“I came back from dove season and found all sorts of flags in my yard,” he said. “I called the city and was told it was because of a broken water main.”

But later Ladd said he found out there was another reason for the flags.

“Then I was told by the city that somebody was going to build a culvert and access road through my property to the one behind mine,” he said.

A plat filed with the city of Quinlan on Feb. 21, 1949 indicates that a road or utility lines were intended to be built on Ladd’s property. However, Ladd said Strickland promised him a road would not be built in his lifetime. Strickland confirmed that a road was not planned for the near future. She said that TxDOT was planning to put a culvert there, probably at the request of the city.

“We’re not planning on building a road there,” she said. “I told [Ladd] that it might not happen in his lifetime at all. We don’t know if a road will ever go through there, but it is a plated street. If that land (Green’s property) ever develops, that road will be needed.”

Green contacted Ladd on Oct. 12 and told him to remove dog pens that were in the path of the proposed groundwork by Oct. 15. Green plans on delivering dirt to the property today.

“I contacted Ladd to tell him to move his dog pens to make way for the groundwork,” he said. “I have dirt that costs the city nothing that we need to put there.”

Green said he does not know when a road will be built there, but that he is doing it for the city’s benefit.

“This is how a city grows,” he said. “This is not the first time we’ve done this.”

There is an access road to Green’s property approximately 250 feet south of Ladd’s property that was donated to the city by Ladd’s grandmother.

“This property has been in my family for 75 years,” he said. “My grandmother gave the city another road that would be better than the one they’re proposing.”