Warren Bachman, standing, voices his concerns to city council members at their June 5 meeting at city hall.
Warren Bachman, standing, voices his concerns to city council members at their June 5 meeting at city hall. (Casey Holder)

The City of Graham recently received a $235,500 grant to build an ATV park on the west side of Salt Creek, and the idea has nearby property owners considering a lawsuit.

 At the June 5 Graham City Council meeting, property owner Warren Bachman voiced concerns to the city’s aldermen about property bordering the proposed park. He fears those property’s values will decrease, and worries about the loss of any potential for future development. 

“Just guessing, it’s going to reduce the value of my property by $50,000,” Bachman said. 

According to Bachman, the park will affect approximately 12 property owners who own a collective total of 500 acres. He calculates that each acre will lose $1,000 of value costing the group $500,000 or more.  

“When you are going to affect half-a-million dollars or more of other people’s property for essentially an unnecessary need, it’s not like a lake or school or something, then we will have no choice then to sue in district court and try to get injunctive relief,” said Bachman at the meeting.  

The city council won’t make a decision on the park until one or more public meetings are held in which citizens can ask questions, raise concerns and show support for or against its construction. 

A formal timeline has not yet been established, but City Manager David Casteel anticipates those meetings to be scheduled for early fall. 

The grant uses money collected through the federal gas tax to build off-road riding areas, and is paid by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The TPWD announced the outcome of grant applications after its board of directors met in Austin May 22.

Bachman is the fourth person to come forward during a Graham City Council meeting with concerns about the ATV park. Like his predecessors, Bachman said he was also concerned about dust and noise from the park causing a nuisance for businesses in the Downtown Square, as well as patrons of the planned Salt Creek park to be built just east of where the ATV park is planned.  

Bachman estimates land is currently valued at approximately $2,500 an acre in his area just south of Graham outside of city limits. Young County Tax Assessor Luke Robbins agrees with Bachman’s estimated land value, but said predicting value fluctuation is impossible until someone tries to sell their land after the park is built. 

“I would suspect that it would limit potential buyers to the surrounding properties,” said Robbins. “As far as giving you a hard number on how much it would devalue, I don’t know if at this stage any appraiser could tell you that. Nobody has a crystal ball.”

Read the entire story in this weekend's Graham Leader.