By Chelsea Wade

MESQUITE (1080 KRLD) – A judge has squashed any plans the City of Mesquite had to annex about a dozen properties in Kaufman County before a Friday deadline.

“The judge extended the temporary restraining order that was originally granted on Nov. 14,” Attorney Tracy Gray said to a crowd that had gathered outside of the courtroom.  “That’s been extended to December 11th, which means the City of Mesquite cannot vote on an ordinance to annex any property until we have a hearing.”

Mesquite was trying to snatch up the land before a new law takes effect on Dec. 1. It keeps cities from forcing annexations, and instead requires them to get approval from landowners.

Temporary restraining orders were filed in both Dallas and Kaufman counties because of where the property lines are drawn. The extension covers both counties, according to Gray. However, she cautioned that the fight isn’t over. “[The city] is going to try to file motions with the court, questioning our standing to file suit. They are going to question also whether they can go back to before the law takes effect. I don’t see any case law that says they can do that. In fact, the statute says if an ordinance has not been enacted by December 1, it must follow the new law. Today is a very good day.”

Several other cities in North Texas, including Celina, Melissa and McKinney have also been trying to grab land before the deadline. Earlier this month, the City of McKinney announced it was backing off it’s plans to annex thousands of acres just outside of the city limits. Celina’s city council voted this past Tuesday to annex more than 200 properties despite protests from landowners. It was an unanimous decision. In Melissa, council approved annexation plans, also by a unanimous vote.

Below is a video posted to Facebook by Texas State Rep. Lance Gooden of Attorney Tracy Gray addressing the issue with supporters and opponents outside the courtroom following the judge’s decision.

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