The Anna City Council had a hot-button issue on the agenda at the bi-monthly meeting on Feb. 13. One agenda item that was up for a vote was the possibility to amend the zoning of the property on the Northwest corner of US Highway 75 and FM 455 from agricultural to planned development.
Many residents are concerned with this type of development. Anna resident Jodi Foster voiced her consternation to the council.
“Dear Anna City Council,” Foster said while addressing the council, “the concerned residents of Creekside are in opposition to the construction of a four-story Holiday Inn Express or any intrusive building on the corner that is directly across from Creekside.”
Foster said she feels as though the citizens’ voices are not being heard and considered. “We were even more concerned when the Planning & Zoning Commission approved this building, ignoring and demeaning our attempts to oppose this construction,” Foster said.
Foster created an online petition to help voice her and her family’s opposition and give other residents the opportunity to do the same. Currently, the petition has 146 signatures.
The petition begins by laying out the concerns of the Creekside residents — the neighborhood behind the proposed hotel site. “We are residents of Creekside subdivision here in Anna, TX,” the petition states. “When the development started on the Northeast corner of the 75 and White, the residents’ concerns were ignored and development has continued unabated.
“We attended the Planning commission’s meeting last night and again were very frustrated and dismayed by the commission’s disregard for our concerns,” the petition continues. “They voted to approve the building of a four-story Holiday Inn Express in the area that will be very visible and will cause creek bed erosion and loss of privacy for the homes in Creekside. It is inconceivable that a proposed three-story hospital was denied building in this same area several years ago but a four-story hotel, which will be much more invasive and polluting, was approved.”
Some of the concerns were traffic congestion in an already crowded area, excessive noise and pollution, and loss of privacy. The residents are also concerned with an increase in crime, Foster said.
“Hotels in this price range will only bring crime to our city. There are no attractions for someone to stop in Anna for, and people traveling will seek hotels in larger cities and by-pass Anna, leaving the hotel to be occupied by less desirable persons,” Foster said. “The hotel developer himself admitted that crime and drugs are an issue for them.”
Creek concerns and wildlife displacement are two more concerns from the residents, along with a lack of adequate Anna Fire Department equipment. Jim Henderson of Henderson Home Inspection said he is a former fire fighter. “Anna Fire Department does not have a ladder truck and is not equipped to fight a fire in a four-story building,” Henderson said.
Some residents used the petition website to voice their worries and fears about the hotel. One poster said the hotel will only bring deplorable and unwanted types of people to Anna. “This hotel by two truck stops is going to bring prostitution,” he commented.
A resident who said she is from Melissa wrote, “I think this would be worst mistake for this area. We have lost many precious lives in this area; the crime will go up like crazy and so much more. This is a community where families are raising their kids. Let’s keep it that way!!”
Another poster wrote she is concerned that the hotel will turn into a drug house. “Nope, nope, nope! Come stay in our city with nothing to do for children or adults absolutely no entertainment, so stay locked up in the hotel and get high instead. You know what? Maybe you can snatch our children and hide them there temporarily until you can ship them off for Lord knows what. Who is it that you are trying to get to spend the night in Anna Texas? Seriously? NOPE.”
The agenda to amend the zoning from agricultural to planned development passed 6 to 1, with council member place #5 Nathan Bryan voting against it.