KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Regional Planning Commission is recommending the city annex 255 acres of Warriors Path State Park in order to reach a 25-acre parcel off Fall Creek Road where developers hope to build a 140-home subdivision.
Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday night to recommend the annexation to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The annexation has also been recommended by the city’s planning department.
No one from the public spoke for or against the annexation during Thursday’s commission meeting.
This annexation came about when Sullivan County residents Kenneth and Anita Bates, who live in the Rock Springs community, requested the city annex a 25-acre parcel south of Fall Creek Road. The couple plan to develop the property into “Chase Meadows” a 140-home neighborhood.
Jerry Adams, the park manager who lives in Warriors Path, also signed the petition to be annexed.
City planners chose to reach the development by going through the park, which is contiguous to the city limits, then down Fall Creek Road.
If Kingsport were to go down Fall Creek Road from Fort Henry Drive, the annexation would create a doughnut hole — property completely surrounded by the city limits — which is against state law. Kingsport is also under a moratorium until 2010 to not annex certain property in Colonial Heights. Some property along Fall Creek Road lies within the moratorium area.
City Planner Ken Weems said the city took the shortest route possible without forcing anyone else into the city limits.
Earlier this week some commissioners asked about alternate routes to the proposed development without going through the park. Prior to Thursday’s vote, Weems presented three optional routes to the development.
The first option went from Hemlock Park Drive to Hemlock Drive to Hemlock Road to Fall Creek Road. This option took in 2.47 miles of road, would have a one-time cost of $163,873, and would have reoccurring costs of $41,872.
Option two went from Buttermilk Road to Childress Ferry Road to Warriors Falls Drive to Fall Creek Road. This option took in 1.33 miles of road, would have a one-time cost of $124,000, and would have reoccurring costs of $23,513.
The final option went from Harbor Springs Road to Red Cedar Branch Road to Cedar Branch Road to Fall Creek Road. This option took in 2.36 miles of road, would have a one-time cost of $113,303, and would have reoccurring costs of $39,782.
Going through the park would bring into the city 1.1 miles of road. One-time costs would be $283,830, with reoccurring costs of $18,707. There is no difference in revenue to the city among the options.
Weems said with option two the city would have to go through the Warriors Falls subdivision, which would force the city to install underground power lines and decorative streetlights, thus affecting the cost. Another factor is with option one, the city would have to install streetlights across a bridge, again at a higher than normal cost.
In the end, commissioners felt it best to annex the park in order to reach the development.
“There is a hidden value of having the park in the city. When we’re promoting the city to say ‘We have two major parks’ is a big plus,” said Commissioner Mike McIntire. “I think it’s a real draw to the city. I have no problem with it costing a little bit to have it in the city.”
In addition to the park property, seven park residents — people who work for and live in the park — will be included in the annexation. Weems said the plan of services ensures the park will remain the way it is today. The installation of an upgraded water line along Fall Creek Road could be used in the future to serve the residents of Fox Chase and Park Ridge subdivisions, if they were to come within the city, Weems said.