One by one, neighborhoods that once stood up to Chattanooga annexation are beginning to kowtow to the city.
Four areas that once fought annexation are now coming into the city through agreements. But the annexation fighters say that does not mean the battle is over because there are still other areas pushing back.
“The others we’ve got a good fight on,” said Bill Reesor, a board member for Hamilton County Residents Against Annexation. “We’re picking our battles.”
The City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday night to accept an area off Apison Pike and Old Lee Highway, which had fought to stay out of the city. Councilman Russell Gilbert and Councilwoman Deborah Scott voted against taking the area in.
City Attorney Mike McMahan said there could be more areas from the annexation fight ready to come into the city.
“We’re hoping for a couple more,” he said.
The stipulation for the Apison Pike area is that they will not formally come into the city until Dec. 31, 2012, and begin paying property tax on Jan. 1, 2013.
The city cut the same deal earlier this year on three commercial properties along Highway 58. Those properties will also come into the city on Dec. 31, 2012.
Chattanooga and the Hamilton County Residents Against Annexation began their fight two years ago when Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield began annexing swaths east, west and north of the city.
Hamilton County Residents Against Annexation filed lawsuits on behalf of several property owners to stop the annexations.
Reesor said the four areas coming into the city over the last few months are because property owners grew tired of fighting, so they wanted to reach a settlement.
“The plaintiffs decided,” he said. “We didn’t.”
He said it’s possible residents in another area around Apison Pike and an area around Morris Hill Road could strike a deal to come into the city in the next few months.
But the annexation fighters plan on drawing a line in the sand after the next couple of settlements, Reesor said.
McMahan said this week he does not expect the anti-annexation group to roll over and there are several areas in Hixson scheduled for trial in the spring.
“I have no reason to believe the Hixson cases will settle,” he said. “The residents there are very adamant.”
Cliff has worked for the Times Free Press for five years and covers Chattanooga city government. He previously covered Rhea County, as well as transportation and growth and development in Southeast Tennessee. A native of Maryville, Tenn., Cliff graduated in 2003 from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis on journalism. Before coming to Chattanooga, he was a crime reporter with Hernando Today, a supplement of The Tampa (Fla.) ...