Transportation

Grimes County Residents Want Answers On Eminent Domain

Residents northwest of Houston say some major projects are raising questions about the rights of property owners. A Grimes County group is holding a public meeting this week to discuss how to move forward.

a still photo of the Japanese Shinkansen
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

One of the big projects in Grimes County is the proposed high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas. Another is the planned extension of the SH 249 toll road. Efforts are also underway to build a new electrical transmission line.

All of those projects require the acquisition of private property.

Supporters say the work is needed because of the area’s growing population. But David Tullos with the Grimes Citizen Advisory Group says a lot of residents feel their lifestyle is being threatened by outside entities.  

“The citizens of Grimes County moved to Grimes County or live in Grimes County because of the fantastic, close-knit, cultural benefits that come with living in this rural environment,” says Tullos.

For the 249 toll road project, TxDOT says it won’t have to displace any homes or businesses, but it will have to acquire about 600 acres of right of way.

As for the high-speed rail project, it still remains to be seen if Texas Central Railway will have eminent domain authority.

Tullos says many people are concerned about the letters they’re received asking for land surveys.

“At this particular point I’ve been receiving a lot of specific questions about what are their rights with regard to refusing these different entities access onto their property,” adds Tullos.

Residents are invited to bring their concerns to a public meeting Thursday night at Plantersville Town Hall. It starts at 6:30. Tullos says they’ll have eminent domain experts on hand to answer residents’ questions.

Editor’s Note: Texas Central Railway issued the following statement on Oct. 11:

“The Texas Constitution and the Texas Legislature determine and authorize eminent domain authority in this state. Texas statutes have long granted eminent domain authority to railroads such as Texas Central, pipeline companies, electric power companies and other industries that provide the infrastructure necessary to serve the public efficiently and enjoy a healthy economy. Under that authority, Texas Central is building positive relationships directly with property owners, and any use of its condemnation authority will be a last resort.”

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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