Just days ahead of a final vote, a North Texas city’s land grab has been stopped by a district court until it can determine whether the proposed annexation violates state law.

The City of Mesquite was ordered to temporarily stop all actions on its forced annexation plans by Judge Casey Blair of Texas’ 86th District Court in Kaufman County. Blair signed the temporary restraining order after a hearing this morning on petitions filed by Kaufman County District Attorney Erleigh Wiley on behalf of the state, and by attorney Tracy Gray on behalf of landowners targeted for annexation.

The petitions, backed by a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, allege that city officials may have violated state law while rushing to beat the clock on new municipal annexation reform that takes effect December 1.

The state questions whether the city provided improper notice of the proposed annexation, improperly used an emergency meeting, and/or is attempting to annex an area greater than 10 percent of its incorporated area. Each act would be a violation of the state’s Local Government Code.

Mesquite’s city council was set to vote on a final annexation plan on November 20. Now the city must be back in court that day for an evidentiary hearing.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.