Kingsport looking at annexing areas in Sullivan Gardens, Fall Creek

Matthew Lane • Dec 25, 2012 at 7:51 AM

KINGSPORT — The city of Kingsport annexed more than 1,150 acres of property in Sullivan County during 2012, with the bulk of the city-initiated annexations taking place in the Colonial Heights community and at the Tri-Cities Crossing area of town.

Over the past six years, Kingsport has undertaken a fairly aggressive annexation policy, focusing on large tracts of land and filled-out neighborhoods in the communities of Rock Springs, Colonial Heights and Fall Creek with some smaller, more business-oriented annexations near Interstates 81 and 26 and Eastern Star Road.

This past year has been no exception with the Model City continuing its annexation efforts in the Colonial Heights community, this time focusing on a large section of property in the western quadrant of the Fort Henry Drive/Interstate 81 intersection.

The property (broken into five smaller areas) amounted to 350 acres and approximately 820 residents. Of those residents, 130 are school-aged children and teenagers. The one-time costs associated with the annexation are nearly $7.7 million with $6.23 million going toward sewer line installation. The annual property taxes collected from the areas would be $319,000.

The annexations were staggered over the past six months, with the final area officially coming into the city this month.

Another major annexation taking place in 2012 involved 520 acres in the Tri-Cities Crossing area of town — the remaining property within the Border Regions Retail Tourism district. Kingsport designated this property as such about a year ago in accordance with a new state law that allows municipalities to create a special taxation district and use a portion of the sales tax generated within to offer potential developers financial incentives.

Local developer Stewart Taylor is working to bring a major retail and restaurant development to this property.

Other, smaller annexations also took place in 2012, such as along Cleek Road, Old Mill, Grandview and Kendrick Creek.

From 2006 through 2012, Kingsport has annexed 4,875 acres of land in Sullivan County with more than 6,400 residents, primarily in the Rock Springs, Colonial Heights and Fall Creek communities.

But what’s on deck for 2013?

Ken Weems, chief annexation planner for the city, said the planning department has undertaken studies of property in the Sullivan Gardens area, along Reservoir Road and in the Fall Creek community.

Earlier this year, Kingsport’s planning department brought forth a three-year annexation plan, giving details and cost estimates on 13 annexation areas under consideration, three of which were approved in 2012.

The $36.3 million plan includes more than 5,400 acres and some 4,000 residents in Colonial Heights, Sullivan Gardens, and Fall Creek, along Cox Hollow Road, Reservoir Road and Airport Parkway. Some Eastman Chemical Co. property along Jared Drive and the entire BAE Systems property are also included in the plan.

“We’re trying our best to follow the plan, but it’s all contingent upon the cost,” Weems said. “We’re currently reviewing portions of the schedule for 2013 for specific costs in order to make a better, informed decision.”

Annexation areas proposed for 2012 — but that did not take place — include 200 acres along Reservoir Road and 948 acres on both sides of Sullivan Gardens Parkway. Both of these are under review, and Weems said if the city moves forward on either one, Sullivan Gardens would likely proceed first.

Weems said the acreage of the possible annexation areas has not been determined, nor has the time frame of when the matters would come before the Kingsport Regional Planning Commission for consideration.

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