By AUTUMN HUGHES
Bradley County and City of Cleveland officials seem to have reached a tentative agreement on the city’s proposed annexation of two properties in the county. However, whether the agreement is acceptable for both parties remains to be finalized.
Bradley County and Cleveland officials seem to have reached a tentative agreement on the city’s proposed annexation of two properties in the county. However, whether the agreement is acceptable for both parties remains to be finalized.
The Bradley County Commission discussed the proposed annexations during its work session Monday, following up on last week’s commission voting session, when the issue was first brought up.
Commission Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber said he and Lorri Moultrie, executive administrative assistant to the commission, met with Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and City Manager Joe Fivas to discuss the proposed annexations. Yarber said he recommended the city officials meet with Road Superintendent Sandra Knight Collins, too.
“They will maintain everything within the right of way, including traffic signals and signage,” Yarber said of the city.
Yarber said he wants to place the annexation proposals back on the agenda for next Tuesday's meeting voting session.
Commissioner Thom Crye said he has nothing against annexation, but asked for the minutes to be re-read for the substitute motion made last week by Commissioner Mark Hall.
Moultrie read the minutes regarding Hall’s substitute motion to table the annexation requests and ask commission Chairman Louie Alford and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis to meet with city officials and come up with a proposal that works for both sides.
Commissioner Howard Thompson asked Davis whether he met with city officials, to which Davis said he has not done so yet.
Yarber reiterated a formal agreement is coming from the city.
“The issue we have is there are … some time constraints” for the developers, he said.
Yarber said he met with city officials rather than the chairman and county mayor. He added that if commissioners are uncomfortable with that they can vote against the proposed annexations next week.
Crye said he wants to make sure any agreement is “nailed down solid” with the city.
Thompson said he wants to make sure the roads involved are the city’s “whole responsibility.”
“We don’t need to do anything until we have a letter in hand,” Alford said, adding that he would also like the Bradley County Commission’s Road Committee and Building & Land Committee to review it too.
Thompson asked to review the matter and any letters at another work session.
Commissioner Charlotte Peak said she believes if the city’s initial proposal had stated the city would take in the roads, then the commissioners would have voted in favor of it.
“But I would like to see it in writing,” Peak said.
The properties proposed for annexation are a parcel referred to as the Hawkins Property on Old Chattanooga Pike that is proposed for a single family residential subdivision that would accommodate approximately 50 homes, and a parcel referred to as the Williams Property on APD 40 that is proposed for a gasoline sales facility “with the future use of the remainder of the property being determined.”
Yarber said the commission will have the city’s new proposal in writing. He added there is a difference between “taking potshots at the city and doing what’s right for the constituency.”
Hall said last week there were concerns over who was going to maintain the road. Since then he has done some homework and learned the road in question for the subdivision was built to handle heavy traffic, so there is no problem moving forward.
Peak asked if the city said it would only maintain the road to the rights-of-way or if the road would be annexed. She said if annexation is requested for property contiguous to the city’s boundary, then the city doesn’t have to come to the commission.
Thompson said he thought any time the city annexes it has to be approved by the Bradley County Commission.
“The laws changed a few years ago,” Peak said.
She said forced annexation goes to a vote, but if it is a requested annexation and the property is contiguous to the city, then it doesn’t have to come before the county commission.
The two properties proposed for annexation are not contiguous to Cleveland’s existing municipal boundary.
Commissioner Milan Blake said he hopes to see in the city’s letter no expiration date or exit clause from the city taking over road maintenance.
“We’ll get that answer by Monday,” Alford said.
“We're supposed to have something to look at at a work session before we vote on it,” Thompson said.
Yarber noted that Monday’s meeting was a work session and the issue was being discussed. Thompson said he wanted another work session after receiving any letter from the city.
Alford said if the commissioners are not satisfied with the letter from the city, they can table the issue.
Other items discussed during the work session and placed on next Tuesday’s voting session agenda are:
• A resolution to rezone a parcel of R-1 Rural Residential property to C-2 General Commercial. The property is located at 4670 Georgetown Road.
• Allowing the retirement of Bradley County Sheriff's Office K-9 officer “Max.” The dog will be given to handler Mario Santos.
“There has been an anonymous donor who has offered to purchase a K-9 in place of Max,” Yarber said, noting it is a $9,500 cost.
The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for noon on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Bradley County Schools’ central office. The meeting was pushed back from its normal Monday date because of Presidents Day.
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