GreenAlleyProblem

The burning issue of whether the city should auction off Green Alley (currently being maintained as a fire lane) has been quashed, at least for the moment.

After March events, the McKinney Tax Collector was asking for bids on the two parcels of land that form the single-lane, one-block alley running from Elm to Park between 10th and Anna streets.

You see, technically speaking, the alley is a private roadway, the upper half of which was owned by Barnaby Robbins, who defaulted on his property taxes in 1959 (total tax due as of December 3, 2016 was $870.60). The bottom half was owned by Mervin Farmer, which defaulted even earlier, in 1948.

That’s why City Hall is within its rights to unload it. But in March, reports Tax Collector investigator Charles Quinn, “the city thought it was best to remove Green from sale, because of the wild response and enormous unpopularity” of the auction idea.

The “wild response” Quinn was referring to look the form of a series of loud yelps from the property owners contiguous with Green orchestrated by 16th Street resident Harry Byrd. The neighbors wrote letters, made phone calls, and even enlisted the aid of Supervisor Madison Franklin.

Tax Collector William Harvey warns, however, that this problem is still not solved.

The only way that the property will not again come up for sale is if the Board of Supervisors formally declares Green a public street or if all the surrounding property owners form an association and purchase it for their common use.

Right now there are no plans—either in Franklin’s office or any other supervisor’s — to introduce the necessary legislation. So watch for this story to find its end every few years or so.