The Cleveland City Council discussed annexing APD 40 during a meeting Monday.
While the annexation of the road and right of way does not require a land owner to make the request, there is also no opportunity for increased tax revenue tied to the land.
Janice Casteel, city manager, said the benefit to the city would be in the ability to maintain the area and “make it look better” as people drive into the city.
Cutting the grass, adding landscaping and providing city streetlights were listed as improvements the city wanted to make.
The section of land on either side of the road designated as right of way for APD 40 is state right of way.
The annexation was proposed at a previous meeting by At-Large councilman George Poe as a way to improve the gateway into the city. Poe said it is not being properly maintained and would benefit from the addition of streetlights. This would also allow city sewer services to be brought to the site.
“We would just be annexing a road way to maintain it. That’s unusual,” development and engineering director Jonathan Jobe said.
Two options for annexing APD 40 were presented during Monday's meeting. The first one would annex Inman Street and the APD cloverleaf at Waterlevel Highway with a project cost estimated at $1,221,879. The energy cost for the proposed streetlights would be $215 per month.
The second option would include the entire eastern and southern sections of APD 40, including the cloverleaf, south Lee Highway intersection north and south roads. The total project cost was estimated at $2,831,248. Energy costs for lights were estimated to be $2,379 per month.
Cleveland Utilities president Ken Webb said part of the cost for the project was getting power to the areas to install the streetlights. He said there was some unknown information about the land that could affect the cost of installing the lights.
“When you are doing the interchange it is high-mass lighting, some of the most expensive lighting that you can do,” Webb said.
Any annexation of the right of way will also require an increase in the city parks and recreation budget to cover mowing. Initial equipment and employee costs were estimated to be $110,000. Recurring costs would be $38,000 for salary and benefits.
“The only property around the bypass that we would take in would be (city) Firehouse 3,” Jobe said.
Annexing essentially the entire bypass would create large areas of the county that could only be accessed by crossing into the city. Estes asked if creating these “doughnut holes” was permissible under new annexation laws.
“At this point, we think they can’t be avoided,” Jobe said.
He cited the way the new annexation law is written to eliminate cities from annexing by ordinance.
No action was taken on the issue.
Also during the meeting, the Council discussed paying for the removal of a utility pole that is in front of a building off Inman Street.
Tim Arthur said he is planning to house apartments and a business in the Five Points building. He has requested the pole be relocated to accommodate furniture moving and expected foot traffic.
Arthur had approached the Council previously and was told to come back when he had received the needed permit to move forward with planned renovations.
The Council voted 6-1 to approve $8,434 to cover the cost of removing the pole. Councilman Charlie McKenzie was the lone dissenting vote.
“It is part of the historic district, it is a part of downtown, a very famous building,” Estes said.
He said he thought the pole was installed at a bad location and saw this as an opportunity to improve the look of downtown.
The Council also voted to make efforts to preserve Taylor Spring, where Cleveland began. The spring now runs under some buildings on First Street. The city owns one and will be looking into acquiring the other two to create a possible historic site.