Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

February 25, 2013

Court delays P&Z action

Nominations for board members moved to March

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — After public comment from a county citizen and a question about an ordinance, the Navarro County Commissioners Court tabled action Monday on appointing members to the Navarro County Lake Planning and Zoning Commission.

The agenda for Monday’s meeting called for the re-appointment of Board Chairman Terry Jacobson and Vice-chairman Barbara Moe.

Lake area resident Phil Krejci voiced his concerns about the re-appointment of Jacobson, citing a difference of opinion over Jacobson’s interpretation of a court ruling that resulted in the county changing its procedures in considering the drilling of “sour gas” wells and wells within 600 feet of a sub-division.

Speaking during the public comments section of the meeting, Krejci said his research indicated the case that Jacobson cited did not apply to the well applications in question in Navarro County. He provided a copy of a letter he sent to commissioners in 2012 in which he repeated the claim. He said Jacobson either didn’t do the research on the case, or didn’t understand it. He also said that the city of Houston had not paid the judgment awaiting appeals. Krejci then voiced his disapproval of the appointment of Jacobson to another term.

During discussion of the agenda action item on the re-appointments, Krejci read from the ordinance regulating the Lake Planning and Zoning Commission, saying commissioners were to each appoint a member to the commission, and the County Judge is to appoint three members. The appointments are to be made in February during odd-numbered years. Mayors of the lake-area cities are also on the board by statute.

Commissioner Dick Martin said it appeared that the wrong item may be on the agenda, and suggested it be tabled until the next commissioners meeting, since no other appointments had been made. Commissioner James Olsen agreed with Martin that the item should be tabled.

Following the meeting, Jacobson disagreed with the research cited by Krejci, saying there were two rulings on record upholding the rights of the mineral holders, a $2 million judgment in the case Krejci cited, and another $17 million judgment that is on appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. He said the $2 million judgment against Houston had been paid in Fall 2011 — $4.2 million with judgment and interest over the years the appeals took place.

“When you’re talking about those kind of numbers as a potential judgment against the county, you’re going to tread very carefully,” Jacobson said. He said the Planning and Zoning Commission took action to develop changes in procedures on the advice of a law firm it sought out.

“All of the recommendations I make are in the best interest of all citizens of Navarro County,” Jacobson added. He said the ultimate authority rests with the Commissioners Court.

The Lake Planning and Zoning Commission subsequently moved its next meeting to March 21 to allow time for commissioners to act on the appointments.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com