Legal Update

Arch Resorts Lawsuit


A state district judge requested McKinney seek an interpretation of its 2002 Interlocal Agreement with Collin County regarding platting and permitting procedures within the city’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). Consequently, Collin County was added as a party to an existing lawsuit filed by an RV Park development, Arch Resorts, against the city in 2015. The contract interpretation is important to all affected parties as the city and county work collectively to ensure quality growth, adequate public infrastructure and safe structures in the ETJ, and particularly in McKinney’s future regional and entertainment district. While the proposed RV Park is now within the McKinney city limits, the initial development permits were issued by Collin County, rather than the city, during a period prior to its annexation. The court’s decision will provide clarity to the city, county and landowners who seek to develop in McKinney’s ETJ in the future.

Questions and Answers regarding the pending Arch Resorts v. City of McKinney / Collin County litigation



  1. Why is the City of McKinney suing the county?


    The city was sued by Arch Resorts in the original lawsuit. As part of defending the original lawsuit brought by Arch Resorts, the city is seeking clarification from the district court of the terms of the agreement between the City of McKinney and Collin County from 2002 that gave the city approval authority over platting and related permits within the ETJ. Arch Resorts’ attorney filed a motion with the court requesting that Collin County be brought into the litigation. In response to Arch’s motion, the district judge has now requested the city to name Collin County as an additional party to the lawsuit filed by Arch Resorts against the city.
  2. What was the agreement made in 2002?


    It is an agreement required by Chapter 242 of the Texas Local Government Code. The agreement stipulates the city has exclusive authority to approve plats and related construction and building permits in the city’s ETJ, areas that will one day be part of the city limits.
  3. What documentation exists of that agreement?


    City-County Plat Approval Agreement 3-19-02
  4. What happened in this case that spurred a lawsuit by Arch Resorts against the City of McKinney?


    The landowners began construction on the RV Park based on permits issued by the county. The City of McKinney maintains that the property required city permits (and potentially plat approval) under the 2002 City-County Agreement. The landowners were issued a Stop Work order, leading the landowners to sue the city for wrongful issuance of the Stop Work order, constitutional takings damages, etc. and for an injunction from McKinney stopping them from proceeding. The city filed a counterclaim seeking an injunction from the work proceeding and an interpretation of state law and of the City-County Agreement clarifying the city’s authority to regulate permits and plats in the ETJ.
  5. Why do the courts need to be involved in interpreting the 2002 agreement?


    Only a court can interpret legal agreements between contracting parties, including cities and counties. 
  6. Can the City of McKinney and Collin County work together without legal intervention?


    The city and county have made good faith efforts to resolve this issue in the recent past but have not come to an agreement. Both parties work closely together on many issues on behalf of the residents. This matter, however, involves a clarification of important legal jurisdiction with differing interpretations that only the court can resolve.
  7. What is the specific geographic location of the property subject of the litigation?


    The property is approximately 42 acres located on the future Trinity Falls Parkway, approximately ¼ mile north of the intersection of Laud Howell Parkway and Trinity Falls Parkway.
  8. W

    hat is being proposed to be built on that site?


    An RV (recreational vehicle) Park and amenity center.
  9. Had the City of McKinney been approached first for permitting (rather than the county), would Arch Resorts have received the permits?


    Arch Resorts did approach the city (it is unclear whether the city or county was approached first). If McKinney had complete information about the type of development, Arch Resorts would likely have been required to receive city permits and/or plat the property (and extend utilities and roadway). Permits construction and building permits. City permits would have been issued had Arch complied with McKinney’s subdivision ordinance and building codes.
  10. Why not just annex ETJ areas the City of McKinney wants to one day develop, thereby gaining permitting rights automatically, rather than argue for what rights might or might not exist within an ETJ that may become part of the City of McKinney somewhere in the future?


    The city has the legal authority to annex property without a landowner’s consent; however, it is limited in the size of area and requires the implementation of an Annexation Plan.
  11. What role do fundamental property rights play?


    A landowner in a city’s ETJ is not bound by zoning ordinances; however the construction of vertical and horizontal structures requires building code compliance to ensure safety, public infrastructure and orderly growth. For example, as cities grow, and subdivisions become part of the city, it is in the public’s interest to ensure that utilities and roads are consistent and planned to ensure that the public services or infrastructure is provided efficiently, safely and coherently. 
  12. Shouldn’t landowners be able to choose what is/isn’t built on their property without government involvement in the ETJ?


    McKinney, and all of Collin County, is experiencing tremendous growth, and rapid growth will continue for the foreseeable future. In order to accommodate such growth while maintaining the quality and charm that make McKinney such a great place to live, the city has to plan for the future. Annexation is just one of the tools, along with comprehensive planning, economic development and capital improvement programs that helps a city maintain quality, plan for its future infrastructure needs, and provide city services to its citizens.
  13. H

    ave other high-growth cities in Collin County indicated they have a problem with this approach or asked for clarification?


    Several Collin County cities are concerned and have asked for clarification. See attached letter signed by ten area mayors.
    ETJ – Mayor’s Letter to Collin County Commissioners 6-1-15
  14. Has this issue come up before in McKinney?


    It has sporadically, but extensive recent growth has increased the frequency. 
  15. What makes this case worth spending taxpayer dollars to fight the permits issued by the county?


    Having a definitive answer to this important legal question eliminates the current confusion that exists in the orderly development of property in the remainder of the ETJ of every home rule city in Texas. 
  16. What happens if the City of McKinney wins its argument?


    The city would continue to approve plats, enforce building codes, issue building permits and inspect construction in the ETJ.
  17. What happens if Arch Resorts wins its case, both in this particular parcel of land, and down the road for all future ETJ development?


    If successful and if the city does not appeal the district court’s ruling, Arch Resorts would be allowed to construct the RV Park without city oversight of the construction, i.e. without obtaining permits or adhering to platting requirements or building codes. It is unclear whether this would include all phases of its project. Furthermore if the court rules in favor of the county and the city does not appeal the ruling, home rule cities in Collin County would not be allowed to enforce building codes, issue building permits or inspections during construction in the ETJ. 
  18. How many square miles of ETJ does the City of McKinney have/how much land could this affect?


    In addition to the city’s more than 60 square miles, there are an additional 48 square miles within the city’s ETJ.
  19. What does the Custer Storage litigation concern and why was the county brought into that case?


    Some of the facts and many of the legal issues in the Arch Resorts case are in the Custer Storage case, including a property owner who obtained permits from the county when its property was situated within McKinney’s ETJ. The property owner was notified to seek city permits, and it chose to build a self-storage facility irrespective of the city’s building codes and ordinances. As in the Arch Resorts case, Custer Storage’s attorney (who also represents Arch Resorts) filed a motion with the court requesting that Collin County be brought into the Custer Storage case. The district judge made a similar ruling requesting that the city add the county to this related case.