published Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Cleveland proposes annexing eight areas

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Cleveland is looking to add 2.41 square miles and at least 500 Bradley County residents in the near future.

This week, city planners discussed plans targeting eight areas that would increase growth of all of Cleveland's districts except the 2nd District and bring in another $152,755 a year in property taxes. If annexation goes according to plans, the incorporation process will be complete by June 13.

Three of the proposed annexations have met with some resistance, primarily from real estate developers concerned they could incur extra costs if they have to redo roads and other construction to meet city standards. Some complained that Cleveland officials are trying to expedite annexations to beat possible changes in state law that would require referendum votes for annexation plans.

"This is definitely not something we have just started," said Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel. "We worked with Cleveland Utilities to make sure they would be able to serve an area; those discussions have been going on for some time."

On Tuesday, the Cleveland Planning Commission approved six annexation plans for Hardwick Farms, a portion of Anatole, the proposed veterans home and areas located on Old Chattanooga Pike, Autumn Drive and Mason Road.

An Urbane Road townhome development encompassed within the Hardwick Farms proposal was removed before the planning board's approval. Annexation plans involving the Freewill Road area have not been approved yet in consideration of the Silver Springs subdivision development.

The townhome development on Urbane Road and the Silver Springs subdivision are expected to significantly affect city growth, said Jonathan Jobe, director of Cleveland's Development and Engineering Department.

The Freewill Road incorporation plan includes 58 current residents, but it is projected that the Silver Springs subdivision will add 127 residents. Hardwick Farms, which now has 183 residents -- the largest contribution to city population growth out of the eight targeted areas -- could bring in nearly 600 more residents once the Urbane Road townhomes are completed.

"This is a crucial area for us to annex," said Jobe of the Urbane Road development.

Another proposed annexation area, located on Silver Maple Drive, was not approved by the planning board in consideration of property owners' concerns that most of its 88 acres are undeveloped.

The planning board meeting will continue at noon April 4 at the Cleveland Municipal Building. In the meantime, city planning staff will meet with developers at the facility Monday at noon to address their concerns.

"We are going to meet with the builders and try to come up with a workable solution," said Corey Divel, senior planner for Cleveland's Development and Engineering Department.

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