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Kingsport ready to restart Rock Springs annexations

Matthew Lane • May 9, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Break time is over, and after a 90-day pause Kingsport is restarting its annexation efforts in the Rock Springs community.

For nearly two years Kingsport has worked to annex approximately 1,000 acres in the Rock Springs community — 10 areas that lead up to two major developments off Rock Springs Road: a 330-home neighborhood called “The Edinburgh” and the city’s new John Adams Elementary School.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved seven of the 10 annexation areas, but lawsuits filed by some residents in those areas stalled the process and prevented the areas from being annexed.

One area, however, was brought into the city limits since its lawsuit was dismissed earlier this year after it was learned the plaintiff did not own property in the annexed area. The remaining six areas are still under litigation.

In February, the city put on hold the annexation of Areas 6, 7 and 8 for 90 days in order to give property owners in those areas who wanted to be annexed a chance to request annexation. Once the city annexes those who want it, the city will then go back and annex the remaining property.

This will allow people who want to come into the city a chance to before lawsuits might be filed. The city does have the right to annex, by ordinance, any property within its urban growth boundary — a boundary established by Sullivan County and its cities in June 2000.

The 90-day pause has passed, and City Planner Forrest Koder said property owners in Areas 7 and 8 have requested 10 parcels totaling about 6.5 acres be annexed. Areas 7 and 8 have 240 parcels total and approximately 364 acres. Koder said none of the properties are located side by side or are neighbors.

City planners are bringing these 10 parcels, along with all of Area 6, to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a first reading vote on May 20.

Koder said the main reasons the property owners are requesting annexation is because they want sewer service or access to the city school system.

Kingsport’s planning department sent more than 200 letters just to the property owners in Area 8 — not in 6 or 7 — announcing people could request annexation. One person from South Hampton — a neighborhood already on city water and sewer — requested annexation.

“We felt like we had some interest in Areas 7 and 8 and not too much at all in Area 6, plus the fact we had water and sewer to some of the residents in Area 8,” Koder said.

The remaining property in Areas 7 and 8 should come before the BMA within the next 30 days, Koder said.

City Manager John Campbell said he would have liked to have seen more property owners request annexation, but he added there are more people in the Rock Springs community thinking about being annexed.

“There are other ones out there who are interested. Part of what they run into are, while they want to be annexed, they don’t want to make their neighbor mad,” Campbell said. “Certainly we would have liked to have seen more, but at the same time there are some other people still looking at it.”

City planners are working on the 2008 annexation areas, which include 568 acres, 143 parcels and 232 people according to the 2000 U.S. Census data. The property runs on both sides of Rock Springs Drive and goes all the way to Sullivan Gardens Parkway.

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