Another wave of annexation set for next month

Another wave of annexation set for next month

August 6th, 2009 by Cliff Hightower in News

PDF: Annexations letter to City Council


The city of Chattanooga is studying additional areas to consider more annexations in a second phase. Those areas include:

* Hixson

* Highway 58

* East Brainerd

* The side of Lookout Mountain

Source: City of Chattanooga

A second wave of annexation could come as early as next month, city documents show.

In a letter to the Chattanooga City Council, City Attorney Mike McMahan said this month's annexation plans represent "approximately one-half of the annexation areas being proposed for this year."

"It is anticipated that additional annexation plans of services will be submitted to the planning commission for consideration at its September meeting," Mr. McMahan wrote.

The city recently released a plan of services that shows potential annexation of areas including Cummings Cove, Ramsgate in north Hixson, areas east of Morris Hill Road and huge swaths of land between Collegedale and Chattanooga.

The city is taking those plans of service to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency on Monday to be considered for approval. The area being considered would add about $1.4 million in property taxes to the city and bring in about 4,000 people.

No details could be given on a September round of potential annexation, said Richard Beeland, spokesman for Mayor Ron Littlefield.

"It's too early," he said. "We're still working on it."

In his letter, Mr. McMahan said the areas for study include Hixson, Highway 58, East Brainerd and the side of Lookout Mountain. He said Wednesday that he did not have anything more to add to what was written in the letter.

Kyle Holden, leading the group Hamilton County Residents Against Annexation, said Wednesday he is not surprised to hear more annexations were on the way.

"It's not unexpected," he said.

Mr. Holden said he has talked with the group Citizens for Home Rule that has fought annexations in Knoxville. He said he was told that if the annexation fight went to litigation it would take two to three years.

He also said he is not surprised by the speed at which the annexation is occurring.

"Littlefield has said time and time again he wants this done as soon as possible," Mr. Holden said.

Mr. Littlefield could not be reached for comment because he was out of town Wednesday.

Council Chairman Jack Benson said Wednesday he did not have any ideas on what could be included in annexation. Areas that could be excluded, though, include parts of Middle Valley, Mountain Shadows and Holly Hills because it would cost the city too much to go in and put in infrastructure, he said.

He said Hurricane Creek is similar to Morris Hill Road -- one of the targeted annexation areas -- in that half of the street is in the city and the other side of the street is in the county.

"You would think that would be suspicious of being appropriate, but I don't know the specifics," he said.

Mr. Holden, who lives in Hurricane Creek, said the area, however, does not have sewer service.

Scott Bishop, a resident of Stonewall Farms, said he is bracing himself to be part of the city's next phase of annexation. Stonewall Farms was not part of the first round, but the community of Ramsgate was and it is only a "stone's throw away," he said.

He said he thinks the annexations could come back to haunt city residents who might see tax hikes to pay for all the new services for new residents.

"The burden will come back to the city residents," he said.