Several items regarding the Islamic Association of Collin County (IACC) Cemetery are listed on the agenda for a special city council meeting slated for 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Farmersville City Hall.
In closed session, council will consult with City Attorney Alan Lathrom regarding laws and potential litigation issues applicable to cemeteries and plats and a possible settlement agreement with the IACC.
After coming back into open session, the agenda lists three items:
1) consider, discuss and act on a proposed settlement agreement with the IACC regarding the plat of the cemetery proposed by the IACC.
2) consider, discuss and act upon a motion to reconsider the city council’s prior decision to disapprove a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission regarding a preliminary plat of the cemetery proposed by the IACC in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).
3) consider, discuss and act up a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission regarding a preliminary plat of the cemetery proposed by the IACC in the city’s ETJ.
In August, the city was approached by the U.S. Department of Justice and entered into negotiations regarding the cemetery.
“The city of Farmersville has been cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice in its investigation to whether the city violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act by its disapproval of the preliminary plats submitted for the cemetery by the Islamic Association of Collin County on property located generally south of U.S. Hwy. 380 and east and north of County Road 557,” Mayor Randy Rice said in a statement at the Aug. 20 city council meeting.
The Department of Justice recently notified the city that the U.S. Attorney General’s Office has approved the filing of a lawsuit against the city based on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
The IACC cemetery has been a topic of discussion since originally brought to the table in 2015. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the preliminary plat May 28, 2015.
After no action for more than a year, this plat expired.
The IACC returned to Farmersville Feb. 27, 2017, for approval, once again for a concept plan which was approved by Planning and Zoning. The preliminary plat was also approved June 19, 2017 by Planning and Zoning.
Council then denied the preliminary plat July 11, 2017, based on drainage concerns.
IACC requested that the city council put the cemetery back on the agenda and enter into discussions to resolve drainage issues July 25, 2017.
Since that time period the IACC Cemetery plat has been discussed in closed session more than 20 times.
Several other items of interest are also listed on the Sept. 20 city council agenda including adopting the budget, adopting the tax roll, adopting the tax rate, discussing and acting upon the final plat for Camden Park, the Main Street Manager’s contract with the Farmersville Community Development Board (4B) and specific use permits and specific requirements for industrial zoning districts.
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By Wyndi Veigel • News Editor • [email protected]