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Annexation considered in land dispute

Wesson authorities are preparing to annex property city leaders believe is a potential health hazard and an eyesore.

     Aldermen voted at their Dec. 4 board meeting to begin annexation proceedings against a property on Sylvarena Road.

     Mayor Alton Shaw said he’s received numerous complaints about the site, which is privately owned and used as a residence. He did not identify the property owner.

     “We’ve had some of the nearby residents express concern about the public safety aspect of it from the amount of refuse that is there,” Shaw said.

     Shaw further described annexation as a last resort for city leaders.

     “We’ve tried everything we could to avoid going to this step,” he said. “We have tried to address this to the landowner directly.”

     For over a year, Shaw said he’s attempted diplomacy to persuade the property owner to voluntarily clean the property, with no results.

     If the property is successfully annexed into the city, the property owner can be legally required to clean the property if aldermen deem it a nuisance or a hazard.

     If the property remains untouched, the city can do the work to clean the property and bill the property owner.

     The property is one or two parcels and borders the city limits, Shaw said. It can thus be annexed directly without including any intervening property.

     Annexation can sometimes be a lengthy process. Among other requirements, the city must hold a public hearing and a court will have to approve the proposed annexation order.

     Shaw said a consulting firm used by the city is preparing the materials needed to move forward. However, due to the holidays, that probably won’t be prepared until early January.

     “Once they get all this stuff back to me, it will have everything pretty definitive on how it’s going to go,” Shaw said.

     Aldermen unanimously backed the annexation proposal. Shaw said he’s heard no other feedback, positive or negative, on the move.

     The city last annexed around 2005, but that was more expansive with the aim of expanding the city limits, rather than targeted at a particular property.