KINGSPORT — The Model City may be about to cut a path through Warriors Path State Park.
Kingsport planning staff are moving forward with an annexation plan that would, if ultimately approved by the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen, take about 200 acres of parkland into the city limits.
Planning Director Alan Webb confirmed to the Times-News on Friday that city staff are “exploring the possibility” of annexing part of the park. The goal: Extend the city’s boundary out Fall Creek Road to reach a property owner who had requested annexation.
On Thursday, Sullivan County Commissioner Moe Brotherton publicly questioned whether the city has its eye on the state park.
Brotherton said he has been getting calls from county residents asking about the potential annexation.
Webb said city planning staff have contacted park officials locally and in Nashville to see if the state would be “receptive” to the annexation — and are trying to get a written agreement from the state — but he didn’t know if any information has been shared with county officials.
Webb said city staff initially looked at whether the city should annex the state park in its entirety. But that wasn’t feasible because taking the whole park would create a “doughnut” hole of non-incorporated properties. And that’s prohibited by state law.
A memorandum from planning staff to various department heads and other city staff, dated Oct. 4, indicates an “intent to execute the park annexation in two phases. The initial phase (this one), which will be known as the ‘meadows annexation,’ pertains to this request specifically.”
The memo indicates another project review request will follow, outlining “phase two” of the annexation, after planning staff complete a review of “how to most efficiently and effectively annex the remaining portion of the park.”
Phase one is described in that memo as:
•Annexation of approximately 280 acres (total) on both sides of Fall Creek Road.
•The annexation review area north of Fall Creek Road is “the top part of Warriors Path State Park (approximately 255 acres).”
•The 25-acre area south of Fall Creek Road is a pending planned development.
•Approximately 5,890 feet of Fall Creek Road is included.
•The private property (25-acre portion) petitioned to be annexed is currently zoned county A-1.
•The proposed city zoning for this annexation is city A-1 for the state park area and planned development (PD) for the area south of Fall Creek Road (the 25-acre portion).
Recipients of the memo were asked to respond to the city’s planning department no later than Oct. 18 with estimates of how the potential annexation could affect individual city departments.
Webb said nothing is definite, and nothing is close to being ready for review by the Kingsport Regional Planning Commission. He estimated that body won’t see an official proposal until at least November, and maybe December. The BMA considers proposals after they’ve been considered by the Planning Commission, so Webb said it would likely be at least January before any annexation of the area in question could be finalized.