Dike residents opposed to a solar facility being constructed in their rural country community have continued to take action over the last month. They are exploring different options to potentially block Hopkins Energy, LLC, from completing the project. While the Save Dike from Solar group have been the most vocal – a few community members regularly address Hopkins County Commissioners Court to express their discontent with the court’s actions and projects. A few Dike residents have also spoken in favor of property owners rights and against the Dike group’s latest efforts to make Dike an incorporated area.
Save Dike From Solar
When Dike residents’ appeals to Hopkins County Commissioners Court regarding concerns for potential environmental and health problems related to construction of a solar facility in Dike, Cynthia Martin hired attorneys and filed a suit against Hopkins County and Hopkins Energy LLC. When her petition for a temporary injunction and restraining order to halt the project for over a week was denied by 62nd Judicial District Judge Will Biard in July, Martin and the Save Dike from Solar group were not deterred.
Martin’s suit against the county and solar group is ongoing, with a request for a summary judgement hearing to be postponed granted on Aug. 26. The judge granted a 21-day continuance.
The Save Dike From Solar group also continues to fundraise, meet regularly and mail out letters to community members to keep them abreast of their discussions and plans. The latest letter reportedly asks community members to help raise $15,000 to officially begin the process to try to make Dike an incorporated area. This would allow the elected community leaders the ability to set standards for the community, including banning solar farms and facilities. A website is also in progress for the group’s efforts and to help other communities who might also try to block a solar farm from being built.
Opposition to Incorporation
While Save Dike from Solar supporters have been the most vocal, not all Dike residents are in favor of making Dike an incorporated area. A few property owners have, over the last 6 moths, spoken in favor of property owners’ rights for their own properties. Two spoke Thursday during the public comments portion of a special Commissioners Court meeting regarding their understanding and opinions regarding incorporation.
Pat Potts said he’d hoped that other Dike residents were present at Thursday’s Commissioners Court meeting to hear what they have to say in relation to the solar project. Potts said he would likely have more to say at a later time. He did, however, speak up for property owner’s rights.
“What I say is that, the people that’s putting the solar panels on their property, their land belongs to them. It don’t belong to me. I have nothing to say about it and nobody else should anything to say about it. If they want to put it on there, I think they should be able to and I think Bo feels the same way,” Pat Potts said of Bo Potts who accompanied him to the meeting, but declined to speak Thursday.
As for the Dike residents desire to make Dike an incorporated area, Pat Potts said “we’re not in favor of that either.”
Dike resident Wayne Ray said he moved to Dike to live not in the city, but in the country.
“I like Dike, Texas. I want it to stay the same as it is, and I don’t want no more government. I don’t want anymore new taxes. They are raising money, $15,000 to turn Dike into a city. I’ve got questions. Can we even do that without an election or anything? Is that even an ethical way to do that, collecting money to turn Dike into a city. I don’t think I’m alone in the fact that I don’t want Dike to be a city. I don’t want nobody telling me I can cut a tree or can’t cut a tree, or what my neighbors can do on their property. These are things I don’t want,” Ray said Thursday, in response to his understanding of mail and information he’s received regarding plans to make Dike an incorporated area.
Ray noted that in his experience, when this type of thing happens, the organizers start out promising now new taxes, but keep expanding and taking in more area.
“You cannot run a city on nothing. There’s a cost to run a city. There’s going to have to be a tax if they turn it into a city. Can we do anything about that?” Ray asked the Commissioners Court. “Can we do something? Are we just going to be forced to take a city because a few people, that’s what they want?”
County Judge Robert Newsom said Hopkins County Attorney would be consulted and “become involved in this.” They planned to contact County Attorney Dusty Rabe later Thursday afternoon to ask her to research the matter of incorporation, and would have to get back to him on that.
Newsom said he’s not been through an incorporation process before. He said a few years back Brashear organized a community meeting to consider becoming an incorporated area, but decided not to go forward with it. He said he is not sure of all of the steps in the process.
“It’s a concern they’re trying to raise $15,000 to make Dike a city. I believe we’re getting the cart before the horse. There’s something wrong about it to me. They are collecting money to make a city when it hasn’t even been decided whether we even want to be a city,” Ray said.
Precinct 4 Commissioner asked if the Save Dike From Solar group seeking the incorporation has drawn a proposed boundary line for the area to be incorporated. Ray said it’s his understanding that’s part of what the $15,000 would be used for.
“They are saying they need $15,000 to have a survey. I don’t know if they mean everybody that’s got a Dike Post Office Box,” Ray said.
Price said if his memory is correct, it cost more along the lines of $40,000-$50,000 for that process.
“They put it in print and sent it out, ‘We need $15,000 to make Dike a city.’ That was what it said,” Ray told the Court. “It didn’t say, ‘We need $15,000 to have an election to see if Dike wants to be a city.’ It said we need $15,000 to make Dike a city. Now they’ve got some type of fundraiser going on on the computer.
“I think it’s time for people to wake up. These people are trying to govern what we do in Dike. I do what I want to do in Dike and I want to continue to do what I want to do in Dike on my property, and my neighbors. I don’t think it’s right for me to be telling anyone or anybody to be telling my neighbors what he can do on his property,” Ray said.
The Dike resident said the Save Dike from Solar report having 200 names for the petition for incorporation. He said many signed documents “way back when and I think they just took names whether they agree to it or not.”