City, county discuss cooperation on Traffic Master Plan

J. MICHAEL ROSS JRoss@EmpireTribune.com
Stephenville's Director of Planning and Building Services Noah Cullis addressed Erath County commissioners Monday morning regarding the city's Traffic Master Plan and future cooperation between the county and city on roads and streets.

Noah Cullis, director of Planning and Building Services for Stephenville, addressed the Erath County Commissioner’s Court on Monday regarding cooperation with the city’s Traffic Master Plan.

The Plan is a long-term projection of city expansion that will necessitate construction of new streets and roads that will be part of the inevitable annexation process over many years as the city grows. Inevitably, city roads intersect with county roads, so Cullis was at the meeting to hear county concerns and ideas, as well as answer some of the county’s questions regarding the plan.

Cullis presented a document to the commissioners and Judge Tab Thompson in a Q&A format:

County: Considering the apparent differences between the City of Stephenville’s and Erath County’s road construction standards, what is your solution to bring the two standards together when an existing county road is met with a new city standard road during new development?

Reply: For an interim period, the two roadways would have a traditional section, not unlike other growing county areas adjacent to cities. At some point, the road currently at county standards would be raised to a higher standard, either through development of the adjacent segments, or through the City or County choosing to improve the section to meet growing demands.

County: New roadways developed in the extraterritorial jurisdiction [ETJ] − which is the unincorporated land within a half-mile of Stephenville’s city limits that is not within the city limits or ETJ of another city − who is responsible for the cost to maintain them, Erath County or the city of Stephenville?

Reply: As development of significant size occurs within the ETJ, roads will be built by developers to city standard. When connected to county roads that may not be [to that standard] the county would, over time, be anticipated to maintain the adjacent roads, and meet resident needs as decided by the commissioner’s court.

County: If the city requires new right-of-way, who is responsible for payment?

Reply: The city will be principally responsible for the cost incurred of acquiring new right-of-way, but may partner with the county or TxDOT on certain higher-classification roadways if the partner jurisdictions share the need for implementation.