Petitions would force vote on annexations in Parker County

Some people who moved to rural Parker County are fighting efforts to annex them into the city of Weatherford.

The group, stop involuntary annexation in Parker County, has raised more than 10,000 petition signatures to put annexations in the county up for a vote. The county is mostly rural and people who live there don't want to be dragged into the city -- at least not without a vote.

"We love to hunt we love to fish we love to be out in nature all the time so we chose to be out of the city life,” said resident Laura Hester.

Hester and her family own about 60 acres in the Zion Hill community next to Weatherford. Residents there fought and won when the city tried but failed to annex 1,100 acres of farm land.

"Texas is only one of a handful of states that allow cities to forcibly annex property,” said State Rep. Phil King, (R) Weatherford.

A new state law requires cities in counties with a population of 500,000 or more to put annexation to a vote. Those counties, designated as Tier 2, only account for about a dozen of the state's 254 counties.

King added an amendment that allows smaller and mid-size counties to petition and vote to be elevated to a Tier 2 status. Parker County expects to lead the way.

The petition signatures are being verified by the county elections office. After that, it's up to county commissioners to call for a vote in November. If successful, it would let Parker County residents vote on future annexation attempts.