In some parts of Collin County, private property apparently isn’t private property anymore.

As WFAA's Jobin Panicker reported this week: for three decades Harlan and Sue Stauffer have owned 48 acres along 1461. Their plan: build their country dream home. Watch ducks land on the pond.

It was all on track, got all the county permits, dug the beams, brought in the steel were about to pour concrete when the City of McKinney told them, stop! You need our permission to build on your own property.

Now, the Stauffer’s don’t live in McKinney. If they did, you could understand it.

But they do live in McKinney’s ETJ, extra territorial jurisdiction. That’s the land bubble around McKinney the City could annex someday. McKinney officials say they can regulate planned subdivisions in the ETJ.

That’s true, but the Stauffers aren’t building a subdivision. One house, a barn, pond...that’s it.

The Stauffers claim McKinney offered to settle if they gave the city three acres for any future plans, including new infrastructure should McKinney annex the property.

Some value those three acres at $200,000.

The Stauffer’s said no thank you. Collin County Judge Kevin Self agrees he calls that: simple extortion.

…sure is what it sounds like to me…

Private property outside city limits should be just that private property.

For three decades, nobody helped the Stauffer’s pay for it, start to develop it. Now it sounds like McKinney wants to steal it or some of it.

If McKinney really wants the land, buy it. Certainly one of America’s fastest growing cities can come up with the cash.