KINGSPORT - While the Rock Springs community has been grabbing all of the headlines lately regarding annexation, Kingsport planners have been working to bring two other areas of Sullivan County into the city limits.
The two annexations in question are the Bell Ridge annexation and the Island Road annexation. Bell Ridge includes 72 acres of land in the Carters Valley community, including 2,650 feet of Bell Ridge Road and 120 feet of Mackenzie Drive. This area contains approximately 45 residents, no commercial property and one agricultural parcel.
Island Road includes 323 acres, Golf Ridge Drive, Old Island Trail and parts of Memorial Boulevard and Island Road. The annexation also takes in the Crockett Ridge Golf Course, the Indian Springs shopping center, and two other parcels zoned commercial.
About 30 residents live in this area, but according to Kingsport Planner Ken Weems, the property is expected to be developed into housing and could result in more than 400 residents living in the annexed property.
Both annexations were owner-petitioned, though some residents in the proposed areas are opposed to being brought into the city. Both have also received favorable recommendations by the Kingsport Regional Planning Commission and are expected to go before the Board of Mayor and Aldermen within the next few weeks.
The reason for the Island Road annexation is because the property is being developed for residential use. As for the Bell Ridge annexation, the reason is to try and correct a confusing situation in that part of town.
If you look at a map of West Carters Valley, you'll see the city limits looking like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle. Weems said this annexation is an attempt to clear up this situation.
"Some (parcels) are in and some right next door are outside the city limits," Weems said. "On some roads you can look at and flip back and forth from city to county two or three times going down one single road or a network of roads. It's very easy to do."
When the eight residents of Bell Ridge signed a petition to have their properties annexed, Weems said the planning department then drew a logical boundary of where the city limits should be. Unfortunately, that boundary took in people who do not want to come into the city limits.
"One of the main reasons is for efficiency of city services," Weems said. "You have to take a serious look at efficiency of emergency services and any kind of confusion when it comes to police trying to find your address, as well as fire. It would be efficient if all were in the city or county or blocked off with definite boundaries."
The cost of water and sewer improvements to the Bell Ridge area are estimated to be $171,000 and $235,000, respectively. Since the developer is installing sewer to the Island Road development, the city is estimating $35,000 in sewer improvements and $5,000 in water improvements to the property.
No money has been specifically earmarked for water and sewer improvements for these two annexations, but Kingsport does have the money available. For fiscal year 2008 the city has budgeted for miscellaneous annexations $790,000 for sewer work and $595,000 for water work. The city would have to make the improvements within five years.
Both annexations will become effective 30 days after final approval by the BMA.