Plum Grove City Council votes to close ‘illegal roads’ in Colony Ridge subdivisions

Plum Grove Road resident Donald Enloe addresses concerns over road repairs at a council meeting on Monday, Aug. 17. Enloe has taken it upon himself to make repairs to city streets to the best of his ability and with limited resources. (File photo)

Plum Grove City Council unanimously voted Monday night to close three intersections leading into the Colony Ridge subdivisions south of Plum Grove, contending that the roads, which intersect city streets, were never authorized by Council prior to being built by the developer, Colony Ridge.

The roads being debated are the intersection of CR 3479 and CR 347 South (also known as Paul Campbell Loop; a portion of the intersection of CR 5017 (also known as Santa Rosa) and CR 347 North (Paul Campbell Loop); and a portion of the intersection of Plum Grove Road and CR 5000 (also known as San Marcos). Council’s vote was to close these intersections immediately and to force the thousands of residents in the Colony Ridge communities to use five other intersections, most of which are south of the city.

Council also authorized the purchase of barricades to stop traffic at these intersections and briefly discussed surveillance cameras that may be erected in critical areas to monitor traffic along the city streets in the future. They also voted in favor of forbidding left turns onto FM 2090 at the northern section of Plum Grove Road, to pay for signage in English and Spanish advising of the road closures and for 10 loads of gravel and dirt to be used for road repairs within the city limits.

The Plum Grove fire station was packed with local residents for the meeting, some in support of Council’s actions and others who brought up concerns for the safety of school buses that will be forced to travel down city streets that the City has struggled for years to maintain due to a lack of funding.

Calvin Nelson told the council their decision puts the city at risk should a Cleveland ISD bus tip over in a ditch or pot hole and students be injured or killed.

“You are closing a good road to send them down a road that is barely passable,” he said.

Mayor Lee Ann Penton-Walker responded by saying she had advised representatives with the school district that the roads were likely to be closed prior to Monday night’s vote, so they could plan accordingly. She contends that the backed up traffic along Plum Grove Road near some of the “illegal roads” presents its own hazard and that repairs will be made to make the city streets safer.

“We are aware that there are two spots where there are run-offs. Those are going to be the first spots that Mr. [Donald] Enloe hits, fixing it so two vehicles can go together. That road is no more dangerous than Paul Campbell Loop,” the mayor said.

The mayor alleges that the condition of the city streets is also a failing of Liberty County because commissioners have been unwilling to live up to an interlocal agreement that was signed back in 2017. The agreement, according to Penton-Walker, is a 50-50 split with the County and City sharing the burden for road repairs. In previous discussions with Plum Grove representatives, County leaders have said they are willing to help with the repairs but the City is unable to provide its half of the costs.

By phone Tuesday, Colony Ridge developer Trey Harris said that Penton-Walker is not presenting the full truth of how he and others have offered to fix Plum Grove Road and other streets at no cost to the City, but the mayor has denied their requests.

“[Pct. 3] Commissioner Boo Reaves and I have made multiple offers. I was willing to pay for the road repairs but she wasn’t willing to let Boo fix the roads,” Harris said. “I told her I would have my engineers design a remedy to fix that road and we would follow that, but she wasn’t interested in that either.”

Harris claims that two of the intersections proposed for closure aren’t even in the city limits, so the City has no authority to close them.

“In the not-so-distant past, I had an agreement with the City of Plum Grove to pull all of my property out of the city limits. The City has no jurisdiction there. My attorney has already forwarded the legal descriptions of the properties to the City of Plum Grove’s attorney, so they are aware that they have no right to block two of those intersections,” he said. “The third is a private road and is my only deeded access to a property that I purchased. The City does not have the right to block me out of my own property.”

Harris said that he will seek a temporary restraining order should the City move forward with its plans to close the three intersections. He believes the action was racially-motivated as a majority of the residents in his communities are Hispanic.

“It’s very disheartening to me that there is so much hatefulness and animosity to hurt children to further their agenda. You would like to think that humanity is better than that,” he said.

The legal fight over the road closures is expected to continue.

“Right now, the roads are still open. I am hoping that they will heed the advice of the attorneys and not close them,” Harris said.

15 COMMENTS

  1. There is no funding for any road repairs in Liberty County and has not been any in the past 15 years. The roads all over North East Liberty County are bad, the worst I have ever seen, not just Plum Grove. The Commissioners do what they can do with the money they give them and that of course is none to very little. Boo Reeves is blamed for this and his hands are and were tied. Our ditches do not get cleaned out or mowed. I have not seen a county crew in our area in forever! Our roads have pot holes.East side is a big mess! Of course they had the money to buy land for a new county barn that is not needed and the cost to clean up the mess Eddie Lowery made burying barrels of bad materials on that property, WHO PAID FOR THAT? Raises were given even though it was voted down. So, I and everyone else who is a voting, law abiding, tax paying citizen in EAST Liberty County want to know where OUR tax paying dollars are going. Not just Plum Grove the whole north eats end of Liberty County needs attended to!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Brace yourself Miss Laura, the county just bought 30 ac. of land north of Liberty, on Hwy.146 for a new multi-millon dollar PCT. 3 office complex.The goverment never runs out of money, only the people do.

  3. 10 years in a Federal prison for all illegals, their employers, and those profiting off them, would solve all the problems. The illegals would be gone before the law went into effect.

    • Well, let me see what you or your leaders can do with this thing of getting millions of immigrants out or into jail. Something that neither Hitler managed to do with the jews. Please be reasonable

      • Do you know an illegal stupid enough to stay around for 10 years in Federal prison to only be deported at the end? Is there even one? The employers won’t hire illegals knowing they would go to prison and lose everything.
        The illegals would leave because they aren’t that stupid. Did you even think through your comment?

  4. Harris is blaming this on race…. trashy people do not have to be assigned a “color” because they are in every race

    • Harris created a colonia to make millions. Just as the colonia developers did in South Texas, Harris will walk away when he has bled the illegals dry.

  5. That is exactly right, they will bleed them dry and walk away and Liberty County will be left holding the bill, again. No taxes collected!

  6. New property tax revenue on developed tracts is paying for those new pct buildings, but I will say Harris made some amazing roads in the colonies, unlike the county roads or city roads. What would be right is folks would not see cultures and just see right and wrong for what it is, since Americans come in all shades and sizes.

  7. The roads are RRC. No rebar on dirt. No sub base dirt. RT Eliis (Ernest Bailes cousin) came in with a salesman and Trey Harris. County commissioners switch from Asphalt to concrete. The roads are falling apart like ash. Does any other areas in Liberty County use the RRC (Rolled Concrete)

  8. I’m a citizen stop calling me illegal, those kids on those buses including my kids are not illegal. There’s 4000+ registered to vote including myself in the colonias, stop calling us illegal. We might look like one but we are not. If you want to hurt an illegal in the colonias you are taking us citizen down with it. Have a wonderful day.

    • I highly doubt 4000 of you are legal. We also sick and tired of hearing your parties all night long and shooting your guns. I see more drunk drivers down street than I have ever seen anywhere in my life. So please do not play the victim sir!

      • I agree with that!!! We have problems in southern Liberty county. Absolutely no respect or consideration for surrounding neighbors!! Going on right in the middle of the city limits. Parties, loud music, barking dogs, vehicles racing their engines, loud talking, the sound of beer bottles being thrown in a garbage can, vehicles parked up and down the street, people gathered in the middle of the streets, people running across your property! Everyone needs to read our city ordinances! Go back to Mexico if you don’t want to abide by these rules or move to the country into a wooded area! NO RESPECT OR CONSIDERATION FOR OTHERS AND TIRED OF IT!

  9. So here’s something interesting for you to chew on. It’s long but bare with me. When an individual purchases property, they are responsible for paying the taxes on the current market value of said property. Then when they “improve” the property by preparing it for residential living, taxes go up because the market value of that property goes up again. Once the construction begins on the house, the tax appraiser comes to take measurements, pictures and details of the house construction for tax value purposes. After completion of the house, usually by the following year the tax value of the home and property are now appraised at full market value and you are required by law to pay that tax amount. Anyone who’s ever bought land and built a house on it knows this process. Here’s the kicker that really throws a wrench into the whole tax value thing. Drive through those neighborhoods down Plum Grove road and count how many homes you see that are not finished being constructed, however they are being lived in as if they were. In the beginning stages of those sub division developments, it looked like a third world country in there. Shacks, tents, FEMA trailers, unfinished homes all being lived in. It was a sad sight to see. As long as those homes appear to be under construction, ie, no siding on one side of the house, boarded up window, a sheet of plywood or OSB mounted on hinges with a hasp and master lock for the front door, tarps or felt paper for a roof, just to name a few, the tax appraiser cannot value the home at full fair market value. This in turn drastically reduces the amount Liberty County and Cleveland ISD can receive in taxes from all of those “under construction” homes. It’s a shame that this huge tax deficit is not being addressed by the developer. CISD is missing out on alot of needed tax revenue due to the massive number of children living in these sub divisions and needing to be educated by the public school system. The county could use the money to improve upon it’s infrastructure as well. These problems all fall on the shoulders of one individual. Shame on you Trey Harris for allowing this type of burden to be placed on our county and Cleveland’s school district. Your not as great of a developer as you think you are. Maybe you should be the one whose responsible for making up the loss in tax revenue by your “customers.” Then, you should take what’s left of your money and grand development ideas back to Huntsville where you call home and start development on Los Terrenos II. It’s sad to see what one money hungry, greedy individual can do to a simple country town. Mr. harris, you are no longer welcome here, you may leave now before you cause any further burdens on our communities with your horrible development nightmares.

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