Cleveland Municipal Planning commissioners approved annexation Thursday of two areas during the continuation of the meeting adjourned from March 26.
The areas included all three phases of the Silver Springs subdivision developed by Dennis Epperson and 11.39 acres located off Silver Maple Drive. The planning commission will send the recommendations to the Cleveland City Council for final approval.
The three Silver Springs subdivisions cover 49 acres near Old Freewill Road. Epperson agreed to annexation of phases two and three after the city staff assured him they would honor all standards approved by Bradley County. The standards included lot size, lot setbacks, impervious surface, green space, right-of-way widths, pavement widths and road construction standards. The only exception was a 6-inch stone base rather than the 5-inch base required by the county.
Homeowners’ association president Bill Brown said he contacted 24 of 28 homeowners in the first phase. Of those 24, only two favored annexation. The other 22 opposed annexation because of the higher tax burden. One of the two who favored annexation was a city firefighter, and the other believed home values would increase.
Commissioner Larry Presswood said he has not seen an analysis and doesn’t know how everything balances out, but homeowners’ insurance, trash pickup, and water and sewer rates should be cheaper inside the city.
Councilman George Poe, who serves as the mayor’s appointee on the commission said, “You know as of July 1, your homeowners’ insurance is probably going to double. Are you aware of that? … Your homeowners’ is going to double. That’s just one thing.”
Poe asked if the subdivision residents discussed garbage pickup, streetlights or police protection.
“What I’m trying to say is, the amount your taxes would increase, I’m guessing, would be a wash by the time you figure the services you have, the amount of homeowners’ insurance — which hasn’t gone up yet. But that’s what is going to get their attention after July 1, when the fire contract expires, which the county commission voted out.”
“That, as well as the city water would come down, if you’re enjoying that now,” he said. “Do you have sewer? … That would come down too. As long as you know all the things involved, that’s all I’m saying.”
Brown said the people mainly objected to the $700 to $900 additional property taxes.
Presswood asked senior planner Corey Divel to prepare a comparison of what the average homeowner would pay in taxes for city services.
The Ocoee Region Builders Association has been asking why the city could not wait for the state Senate to act on Senate Bill 279. The bill would require a referendum before annexation could take place.
An amendment to the bill caused it to go to the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations for review, evaluation and recommendation. The amended bill would create a two-year moratorium on any annexations not completed by April 1. However, residents could request annexation during the moratorium.
The Silver Maple Drive property originally planned for annexation at the March 26 meeting encompassed 88 acres owned by the children of Dr. John and Lisa Stanbery. After that meeting, the area was reduced to 11.39 acres. That area was further reduced to about five acres on the northwest corner along Country Club Drive.
Lisa Stanbery requested commissioners to remove five undeveloped lots on the southeast corner from the annexation plan. She said her original intention was to build a second phase. However, topography presented difficulties in accessing gravity-fed sewer. Also, for ease of development, she wants to build out those five lots as a county development, then bring it into the city.
Commissioners Larry Presswood, Clarke Taylor, Tricia Haws, Dee Burris, Maryl Elliott, Andrew Johnson and George Poe voted in favor of annexation. Commissioners Yvonne Cannon and Tim Henderson were absent.
Stanbery said some homeowners on Silver Maple Drive do not want annexation. Also, that area is within five-miles of a fully-manned county fire station so the only savings would be for trash pickup, water and sewer because utility rates are higher outside the city.
Poe said after the city and county fire contract ends June 30, “somebody will call the ISO to come in and set a new class rating.”
Stanbery said as far as she knows, an ISO review will not take place until after all of the county fire stations are in place. Also, the subdivision has fire hydrants; therefore, homeowners insurance should not change in the Silver Maple subdivision, according to what she has been told.
The planning commission approved annexations in the following areas at the March 26 meeting.
- 15.5 acres of Anatole subdivision;
- 974.9 acres including Hardwick Farms and a portion of the surrounding property to the east to the existing city limits along the Norfolk Southern Railroad;
- 27.8 acres off Westland Drive, the site of the proposed veterans home;
- 327 acres along Mason Road, Johnston School Road and Brymer Creek Road, north to the existing city limits;
- 14.1 acres on Autumn Drive and Summer Breeze Circle North to 31st Street N.E.
- 48.8 acres along Old Chattanooga Pike, including Ridgefield Court and Chestnut Oak Drive.