Ellis County Officials, Residents Debate East-West Expansion Plan

Growing pains are plaguing Ellis County where officials were set to make a decision Tuesday on the best way to move an influx of people from east to west.

But after getting flooded with concerned residents at Tuesday’s County Commissioner’s Court meeting, leaders opted to temporarily table a vote.

There were few vacant seats as one property owner after another stood before the Commissioners, begging them not to destroy their way of life.

“Us as Texans, we love our land. Our land is so important to our homes, our families,” said

Dressed in blue shirts that spoke of solidarity, nearly two dozen people asked their elected officials not to move the expansion of FM 1387 south of its current location.

“All they care about is mobility,” said Vickie Dillow.

Dillow is one of the dozens of people who live adjacent to a proposed southern alignment that would replace a tree line with a road, which she fears would not only change the ecosystem but also create an unsafe environment for families who live along it.

“It affords us privacy and quiet and peaceful living that so many of us moved here for,” said Dillow.

Others pointed to the cost of the project and the potential for drainage issues.

But according to county leaders, the extension of FM 1387 has been in the works and studied since the early 2000s.

The proposed project would turn the existing two-lane roadway into a four-lane urban roadway with the potential to expand to six lanes.

In addition to the southern alignment option opposed by Dillow and her neighbors, the county has considered one to the north that would follow the existing alignment.

It’s also been opposed by homeowners whose properties would suddenly butt up to a busy thoroughfare.

“People are going to get impacted one way or another. Our job as urban planners, we have to think into the future,” said Director of Planning and Development Alberto Mares.

While commissioners told Tuesday’s crowd that the southern route, with easy access to I-35, has been favored as the path of least resistance for several years now, they made a last-minute decision to hold off on a planned vote.

“I want you to understand, we are in pain right now for you,” Ellis County Judge Todd Little told the audience.

The county said they’ll revisit the discussion on December 13th, giving all whose lives could be impacted more opportunity to weigh in on what comes next for the community.

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