Town of Annetta North

A Brief History of Annetta North, Texas

By Ken Hensley, former mayor

A March 1976 map of the Fort Worth Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) shows the information that prompted the formation of the Annettas. At that time, the Fort Worth ETJ had completely surrounded the Town of Aledo and was either at or near the eastern edge of the Town of Willow Park. Charlie McLain, a resident on Old Annetta Road saw this information and became determined to take action before the Fort Worth ETJ enveloped his own neighborhood. Charlie began investigating the process of incorporating a Town of Annetta that would enable the citizens to have some control of their own destiny. He enlisted the help of Rip Key, a resident of Chapman Court and contacted an attorney and surveyor.

In order to incorporate, a proposed town needs to contain at least 200 people and can have a maximum area of two square miles. This led to the concept of three Annettas, namely Annetta North, Annetta and Annetta South. A newsletter of the incorporation proceedings issued by Rip Key on March 19, 1979 sheds some light on the original thinking. It noted that the objective was to incorporate the Annetta area into three towns and possibly, at a later date, combine the three into one Annetta. Among the reasons cited for the incorporation were to determine whether or not to become a part of Fort Worth, to maintain a country/rural standard of living and to control development of the area. The newsletter listed the activities of the previous year, including a meeting at the Annetta Methodist Church on April 1, 1978.

The requirements dictated that the proposed incorporated areas would follow along the main roads of the area and led to rather long and narrow stretches of land. Charlie and Rip canvassed the areas and developed lists of the names of the people in the areas of interest. Conner Stevens was living in Aledo at that time and he is the surveyor who was enlisted to help with the metes and bounds for the towns. Conner described a trial and error process with Charlie as they tried to meet the area and population requirements for the towns. Dates on some of the maps that were developed indicate that this work was started in 1978.

After the target incorporation areas were defined, it was necessary to collect signatures on petitions for elections to vote on whether or not to incorporate. These petitions were then presented to the Parker County Commissioners Court. This was done in the spring of 1979 and the County Judge Gerald Birdwell issued an order for an election on August 11, 1979. I was acquainted with both Charlie and Rip and they asked me to help with the election. I was appointed election judge for the Annetta North election. The election was held at the Frank Neve residence at 500 Quail Ridge Road. Jack Garner was enlisted to help with the Annetta South election. Both Charlie and Rip were residents of Annetta and handled the election arrangements there.

The proposed incorporations were all approved and the results presented to Commissioners Court. An Order was filed on October 2, 1979 to call for the election of the town officials for Annetta North. That order noted that the incorporation had been approved on August 11, 1979 and declared the town duly incorporated. I was again appointed election judge for Annetta North. The election for town officials was set for November 6, 1979 at 150 Quail Ridge Road.

Election procedures called for slate of candidates for the office of alderman with the stipulation that the candidate receiving the most votes would be mayor. A marshal was also to be elected. Seven candidates were enlisted to run for the office of alderman and one candidate for marshal. Thirty-six people cast ballots. Phyllis M. Studer received thirty-three votes and was declared mayor. Tim Casey received 32 votes, Carl Womble 31 votes, Olin Weiss 30 votes, and Larry Richmond and Hank Gemminger each received 21 votes. Mel Prince received 20 votes and was not elected. John Thompson received 32 votes and was elected marshal. These officials were to serve until the next municipal election date, which was April 5, 1980. William F. Studer, brother-in-law of Phyllis, was appointed city secretary and served in that capacity for many years until he moved to New Mexico.

Except for the mayor, most of the initial aldermen ran for election again in 1980. I and some others also filed for aldermen positions. John Thompson filed for the office of marshal again. The procedure was the same as it was for the first election of officials. The person receiving the most votes would be mayor and the next five people receiving the most votes would be aldermen. I received the most votes and was elected mayor. John Thompson was unopposed and elected marshal again. The five aldermen elected were Tim Casey, Olin Weiss, Carl Womble, J.D. Duncan and Mel Prince. Without the adoption of ordinances to govern the election of officials, it is necessary to repeat this procedure each year. This was done in 1981 but after that election, the town adopted an ordinance providing for two year terms of office. After the 1983 election, an ordinance was adopted to name the places and provide for two year staggered terms. This resulted in 1985 being the last year in which all six officials were elected at the same time. The year 1985 also marked the end of the office of marshal for the Town of Annetta North. It had become a requirement that certain certifications must be met before a person could be elected marshal and it became impractical to fill this position on a volunteer basis.

As one might expect, the initial body of knowledge among the elected officials about operating a town was greatly exceeded by the things that were unknown. One item that had received little consideration before incorporation was road maintenance. At first the county continued to maintain the roads as it had done prior to incorporation. FM5 and Annetta-Centerpoint Road were the only paved roads in Annetta North at the time of incorporation. The other roads were gravel and the only maintenance being done was occasional use of a road-grader to smooth the potholes. It is being generous to call some of the roads gravel roads and material needed to be added from time to time. Each time a new commissioner was elected, it became necessary to explore and redefine the relationship with the county. Eventually, inter-local agreements and contracts came into play. Franchise fees were the primary source of income for Annetta North at first but a sales tax was later adopted to raise more money for operation. The town had no paid staff for many years and spent the great majority of income on road maintenance. It has been able to pave the gravel roads over the years and will finally pave the last one in 2005. The new paving projects have generally been a cooperative effort by the Town, Parker County Precinct 4 and the town residents who made monetary contributions.

Annexation for a town such as Annetta North can only be accomplished when adjoining property owners petition the town for annexation. A couple of residents on Quail Ridge who had only portions of their property in Annetta North at the time of incorporation asked for annexation of about six acres of their property in 1982. Ten other annexations occurred from 1995 to 2001 involving almost 800 acres of land. These annexation requests were from owners who had the same motivation as the founders of the town. As the town has become more involved in regulating the life of the residents, the interest in annexation has decreased. Some additional land owners had sought annexation in 2000 but changed their mind during the process.

A set of metes and bounds was filed for each of the towns at the time of incorporation. In 1980, Charlie McLain approached the Town of Annetta North about a joint effort to plot the metes and bounds for the towns on an aerial photograph of the area to produce maps for the towns. The towns agreed to do this and Annetta and Annetta North were plotted on the same map. This map was considered to be the official map for the town and was used to determine who lived within the boundaries of the town. It was also used in determining the descriptions of property to be annexed. In 1998 it was discovered that the metes and bounds filed at the time of the incorporation were different than the ones that Conner Stevens plotted in 1980 to produce the map. After consultation with an attorney, Henry Kerry, it was determined that the town could adopt a resolution that changed the metes and bounds from those filed to the ones shown on the map that had been used for eighteen years. Annetta North was the only town that did this. The Town of Annetta had some residents who were long considered to be in the town boundary but ultimately were ruled to be outside the town limits as a result of this discrepancy.

It was apparent that either the wrong set of metes and bounds were filed originally or the wrong set was used to plot the maps. Neither Charlie McLain nor Conner Stevens could produce the information that would allow a determination of the cause of the discrepancy. The Town of Annetta eventually had Conner Stevens produce an official map that was based on the filed metes and bounds. The Town of Annetta North also engaged Conner to produce an official map but it was based on plotted data from the 1980 map. The aerial photo map data had previously been digitized and used to generate a computer drawn map of the town with all of the annexations. Conner used that information in producing the town map in 2004.

After many years of very lean operation, the town added a paid secretary and now has an attorney. It is considering establishment of a court to provide a means of enforcing ordinances that it has adopted over the years. It also has engaged the services of a city engineer. It is still dedicated to the notion of making its income work for the residents.

Copyright © 2005 Ken Hensley.