Annexation ordinance wins board approval

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Brookhaven aldermen Tuesday voted to adopt an annexationordinance and to begin the process toward chancery court approvalof city limits expansion.

Following an approximately one-hour executive session forprospective litigation and other reasons, board members voted 6-1to adopt the ordinance. Ward 1 Alderman Dorsey Cameron made themotion to proceed.

“It’s time for us to go forward with it,” Cameron said. “It’sgoing to help us, and it’s time because it will improve thelivelihood of the citizens of Brookhaven.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Alderman at large Les Bumgarner voted against the motion.Bumgarner said he was 100 percent for annexation, but expressedconcerns about the size of the city limits expansion.

“I just feel like we’re trying to take in too much,” saidBumgarner, who earlier offered a more limited annexation plan butwas rejected.

Information on the number of people to be taken in, land areasize and other data was unavailable Tuesday night. Followingseveral plan changes, City Attorney Joe Fernald said annexationconsultants Bridge and Slaughter can now prepare a final data bookand present it to the city at a later date.

“They’ll come back with all that data,” Fernald said about theconsultants, who were not present for Tuesday’s meeting. “They havea defined area now.”

The map approved Tuesday varied slightly from a preliminary planpresented in July 2001. That preliminary plan would have increasedthe city’s population from 9,861 to 13,123 people and increased itssize from 7.3 square miles to 21.6 square miles.

According to Tuesday’s annexation map, the proposed area extendssouth of Highway 84 to River Road Drive and north to above theBrignall community. The area extends east to between Crooked Laneand Belt Line Drive, and its western-most point takes in part ofKatie Trail.

Areas that would be taken in include Brignall, Lakewood Village,the Oak Hill and Moreton Estates on Natchez Avenue, and Field LarkLane to the northwest. The city has been working with annexationattorney Jerry Mills, who will assist in building a case for theexpansion.

“He is satisfied the plan fits the growth pattern ofBrookhaven,” said Fernald, adding that the developing areas will bezoned to protect property owners.

Residents of Field Lark Lane and Lakewood Village have filedpetitions asking that they not be included in annexation plans, andWal-Mart and McLane Southern officials have expressed tax and otherconcerns about their centers’ inclusion. Fernald acknowledged thepossibility of opposition and said city officials would be talkingwith industry officials about their concerns.

“We intend to discuss the situation with them to see if we canfind a happy medium,” Fernald said.

Fernald did not have a timetable for filing of the annexationlawsuit. He said the annexation matter qualified for closed doordiscussion because the city must pursue litigation forannexation.

“I anticipate by the first of the year the process will be wellunder way,” said Fernald, who said a public hearing at some pointis a required part of the proceedings.

In other executive session related matters, aldermen approvedthe sale of five acres of land on Brookman Drive Extension to thestate for additional crisis center space. The $90,120 sale pricerepresents the amount the city paid for the land initially.

“They want the land, and we’re going to sell it to them,” saidMayor Bill Godbold.

Brookhaven was approved in 1999 for a mental health crisiscenter and a ground-breaking was held following that decision.However, there has been little movement on the project as the statestruggles through difficult economic times.

Also, aldermen took no action on a fire department and airportpersonnel matter.