The City of Corpus Christi has its eyes on about 1,500 acres of land in San Patricio County.
The La Quinta Corridor runs from the northern side of Corpus Christi Bay, through Portland and Gregory, to the site of the proposed Exxon-Sabic plastics plant.
Even thought the corridor is in San Patricio County, the city has the right to annex that land, because the land in question is part of what’s considered Corpus Christi’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ.
Texas is one of four states which allow cities to use extraterritorial jurisdiction in annexation matters, making this essentially a done deal.
In Texas, cities like Corpus Christi, with a population of more than 100,000 have an ETJ of five miles past city limits. Gregory and Portland fall well within Corpus Christi’s ETJ, so why is city considering this move now?
“We’re not doing anything out of the ordinary, the timing just happens to be now,” said Mayor Joe McComb.
It has to do with the proposed Exxon-Sabic plastics plant. McComb says the city has been negotiating an Industrial District Agreement with Exxon-Sabic.
“They pay, in lieu of taxes, a fee to the City of Corpus Christi,” said McComb. “They provide their own fire, police, and public services; so the cost to annex them is not nearly as much as if you annexed a new residential area.”
However, those aren’t the only negotiations the city is involved in, when it comes to annexation.
“There’s also some negotiations with the City of Portland, giving up some areas that they would like to have,” said McComb.
Portland officials didn’t respond to requests for comment from KRIS 6 News.
While Portland may get land back, City of Gregory Mayor Celestine Zambrano told KRIS 6 News he was “shocked” to learn of the city’s annexation plans. He also conceded there was little he could do because of ETJ.
The entire annexation process should take about two months. The La Quinta corridor is also one of the areas the city is considering for a desalination plant.