Collegedale Commissioners on Monday night voted to add six tracts to the growing city.
Commissioners also designated the appropriate zoning for each parcel that was added. City Attorney Sam Elliott explained to the citizens present that the ordinances to declare the best use for each property actually preserved the existing use of the land at the time it was annexed. Vice Mayor Tim Johnson added that in the future the city would have the ability to change that zoning.
All of the newly annexed properties are contiguous to the corporate city limits of Collegedale and within the designated urban growth boundary established for the city.
Four areas were given AG (Agricultural) zoning and I-1(light industrial) was specified for another area. One newly acquired property was divided between C-2 (neighborhood businesses) and R-2 (2 family residential).
A pet crematorium business that is currently operating in the R-2 area is of concern to several commissioners since the designation is residential. Attorney Elliott said if the business is operating lawfully in the present zoning, it would be “grandfathered in.” He told the commissioners that he would study the matter to determine if it can be regulated, but he also said that it would be easier to manage once the property was annexed into the city.
In his commissioner’s report, Mr. Johnson urged Ted Rogers, city manager, to continue with and speed up the annexations that the city started 6-12 months ago. The vice mayor also questioned a letter that Strategic Planner Kelly Martin had sent to the commissioners regarding notifications sent to inform landowners of pending annexation into Collegedale. Past policy has been to send two certified letters, the first one to inform them of the planning meeting where their property was being considered. A second letter has been sent as notice for the public hearing. Two letters have led to confusion, Mr. Martin explained and he recommended sending only one for the meeting where citizens can participate.
The city manager explained that two official meetings regarding annexation of property are held. The first is a planning commission meeting which is public and open but citizens are not allowed to speak. The function of this board is only to approve a plan of services, but they do not have the ability to vote yes or no on the annexation. The second meeting, said Mr. Rogers, is a public hearing where citizens are allowed to speak. Mr. Elliott said that legal notices are required to be published when land is being annexed, however these notices are not always seen and people are sometimes surprised to find their property has been acquired by the city. He noted that sending a letter is good practice but not required by law. It was determined that one certified letter to inform a resident about annexation would suffice and that it would be sent prior to the public hearing.
The public hearing for annexations approved Monday night will be held March 18. At that time a second reading of each ordinance will take place and property owners will be allowed to speak.
In other business, Mr. Rogers told the commissioners “our mistake saved us about $10,000.” Earlier, the city had neglected to follow its own policy of advertising 15 days for bid requests for the purchase of new police cars. At the Feb. 4 meeting, the commission negated bids that had been received, and placed new advertisements. The low bid of $274,740 was received from Tennessee Fleet Service which proved to be nearly $10,000 lower than the previous winning submission.
Commissioners also approved the acceptance of a low bid of $31,999 for the purchase of a Kubota mini backhoe for the Public Works Department.
The next regular meeting of the Collegedale Commission scheduled for March 4 has been cancelled.