The Orange City Council is set to begin disannexing 1.7 miles of West Bluff Road and give it to the county.
A mutual agreement between the city and the county will include the city giving $100,000 to the county to repair the road. The money is a payment from an oil company that operated heavy equipment on the road, causing damage.
City Planning Director Kelvin Knauf said the first vote on the disannexation is set for the October 27 meeting. The Orange Planning and Zoning Commission approved the measure earlier this week.
Knauf said the city’s portion of the road runs from Elmira Road to the where it ends at the Sabine River.
West Bluff Road is a little more than three miles. It runs off Little Cypress Drive, crosses Highway 87 North, and then winds around the river area, intersects with Elmira and Lawn Oak, and then runs into Echo Road, or FM 3247 east of Highway 87.
Knauf said the city’s section is from Elmira Road to the river.
City Public Works Director Jim Wolf said the city annexed the roadway 60 to 70 years ago. The land along the road is not in the city limits and none of the people who live on the road are city residents. They also do not pay city taxes.
West Bluff is wooded and the roadway runs through swamps where river water rises and stays. Most of the houses are built on tall piers like beach houses.
Wolf said recent floods like have damaged the road. The city repaired the storm damages on its section and qualified for FEMA reimbursement for the work.
The city has retained the oil company damage payment for more fixes.
City Council and Orange County Commissioners Court spent months working on an agreement for the county to take over all maintenance of the road. The agreement includes the city paying the county.
Once the city disannexes the road, it will officially be in the county’s jurisdiction.
-Margaret Toal, KOGT-