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Farmersville Council Votes to Fight 380 Bypass, Residents say TxDOT Got it Right

In the Collin County community of Farmersville, the debate over planned expansion along U.S. 380 still lingers as the city council voted on a resolution Monday to oppose TxDOT's proposed bypass. That's in spite of many in the community insisting TxDOT got it right.

"I don't know why the city council wants to do it," said Farmersville resident Dorothy Stephenson.

Stephenson has lived in her home on Sid Nelson Street, near U.S. 380, since 1981. For months, she and neighbors feared their homes would be demolished if TxDOT decided to expand the current lanes on U.S. 380.

"Pretty much on this street it's just all black people. This is a historical street. This street was named after a black man," said Stephenson.

In early May, TxDOT announced its preferred alignment of U.S 380 – picking a bypass route south of Farmersville that would spare Stephenson's neighborhood.

"I said thank you, Lord! Yes, I did. I felt good, the first time I've felt good in a lot of months," said neighbor Marguerite Ellis.

Ellis, who is legally blind, feared being displaced from a home she's learned to navigate.

But the relief the neighbors felt was tempered when the city council announced it would consider a resolution to oppose TxDOT's decision.

Monday night, five people spoke during the public comment portion of the council meeting. All five urged the council to abandon the resolution and accept TxDOT's bypass option.

TxDOT says the bypass option would displace three homes and one business versus 39 homes and 27 businesses in Stephenson's neighborhood. The bypass option is estimated to cost $404 million. Expanding current lanes on U.S. 380 in Farmersville is expected to cost $435 million.

Most of the council insisted the bypass, which would be located south of Farmersville city limits, would hurt the city's tax base.

"Nobody is going to be coming straight through town any longer," Councilman Jim Hemby said during the meeting. "They're going to be going south and if they go south, that means the city of Farmersville suffers from a tax base perspective."

"We're not doing anything to try to hurt the City of Farmersville, take out any communities," said Councilman Mike Hurst. "I think the people in this audience know me better than that."

The council voted four to one to pass a resolution asking TxDOT to reconsider the bypass option in favor of expanding U.S. 380 in its current location. Council members said the resolution would be amended to ask TxDOT to expand the interstate to only four lanes to limit the impact on homes, churches and businesses. One council member argued that wouldn't be realistic.

TxDOT has previously said it may make minor adjustments, but would build along the announced preferred alignments – pending environmental study.

It's not clear if the council's resolution would have any impact on TxDOT's plan moving forward.

Still, Stephenson worries her council isn't representing her neighborhood's best interests.

"If this street is gone, it breaks a community up," she said.

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