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Sale of sliver of Granite Shoals parkland remains in limbo

Timberhill Park

An abandoned structure (left) on 0.14 acres of land behind the home of Yvett and Corby Daughtrey is technically within the boundaries of Timberhill Park, which is across the water from the property. The Daughtreys have been attempting to acquire the piece of land, which is in their backyard, since March 2022, but legal hurdles regarding the sale of city parkland have made the process difficult. Courtesy photo

The Granite Shoals City Council continued to deliberate on the sale of a small portion of Timberhill Park that lies within the backyard of a Granite Shoals homeowner but is not attached to the main body of the park. The discussion, which has been on the council agenda since March, was still unresolved after the council’s regular meeting Tuesday, July 12.

In March, the council met with public resistance when it moved to sell 0.14 acres of Lot 51 that is split from the park by an inlet of water. Lot 51 was deeded to the city of Granite Shoals in 1970 as a city park. Under Texas state law, city parkland cannot be sold without a public vote by city residents

The land in question is in the backyard of Granite Shoals homeowners Yvett and Corby Daughtrey on Cedarhill Drive. The Daughtreys’ property butts up to the 0.14 acres, which is inaccessible to the public except by boat or crossing private property.

A large abandoned structure sits on the property and a concrete bulkhead borders the shoreline. 

The sale of parkland is a sensitive topic in Granite Shoals, known as “The City of Parks” because of its 19 city parks. 

Councilor Phil Ort sought to distinguish between selling a whole park and a sliver of land that the public cannot easily access.

“I believe that if we are actually going to come down to the point that we are thinking about actually selling a park, it would need to go to the voters,” Ort said.

Councilor Munos voiced support for a vote in November if it turned out to be the cleanest possible method for determining the sale but showed understanding toward the Daughtreys’ position.

“I am certainly sympathetic to the Daughtreys,” Munos said. “They’ve been trying to do this for months.” 

In 2007, the city of Granite Shoals used a precedent set by Texas House Bill 680 to sell portions of land that belonged to the city to adjacent property owners without putting it to a vote. 

HB 680 sets the following requirements for the sale of city parkland:

  • The city has a population of less than 100,000.
  • The land in question is less than one-third of an acre.
  • The park in question is less than 5 acres.

According to City Attorney Joshua Katz, the current situation meets all of the requirements set by HB 680 and the 2007 city ordinances 477 and 477a, which were used to sell similar portions of land in the past.

Katz broke down the language of the ordinances.

“We don’t consider the fill areas to be parkland, and we authorize the city to pursue sale for fair market value of these fill areas along the water to residents that might want to buy it,” he said.

The Daughtreys told DailyTrib.com that they would at least like to see the abandoned structure removed.

“If we can buy it, we will remove the structure at our own cost,” Yvett Daughtrey said. “We just want to be good citizens.”

The council moved to table the item until the Parks Advisory Committee could deliberate on the matter at a public meeting, which will take place on July 21 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

The council also deferred a decision on hiring a new city manager until after the 2022-23 budget is approved. The deadline for having a city budget is Sept. 30.

dakota@thepicayune.com