KINGSPORT — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the annexation of 360 acres in the Rock Springs community Tuesday night, areas that take Kingsport closer to finishing off the original eight areas targeted for annexation nearly two years ago.
Kingsport has worked since 2006 to annex approximately 1,000 acres in the Rock Springs community — eight 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.
Seven of the 10 annexation areas (two areas were split into four smaller areas) have already been annexed by the city. However, lawsuits filed by some residents in those areas have prevented them from officially being annexed.
Because of this, the city put the annexation of Areas 6, 7 and 8 on hold for 90 days in order to give property owners in those areas who wanted to be annexed a chance to request annexation. Several property owners in Areas 7 and 8 came forward and were annexed by the city last month.
Tuesday’s vote by the BMA was the first step to bring in the remaining property owners in Areas 7 and 8. The BMA will vote on second reading next month to bring these properties into the city, and they will officially become a part of the city in September.
As for Area 6, two property owners have requested annexation, and these should go before the BMA on Aug. 5. Once they officially become a part of the city, City Planner Forrest Koder said the city would then annex the remaining property in Area 6.
The Area 7 annexation area includes 100 acres (73 parcels), about 170 people and 9,661 linear feet of roadway, including parts of or all of Blakely Drive, Rock Springs Road, Poplar Grove, Kanan Drive and Rock Springs Valley Road.
Kingsport would receive approximately $106,000 in yearly revenue and $122,000 in one-time revenue from Area 7. Water line upgrades and sewer installation work for Area 7 is estimated to cost $1.38 million.
The Area 8 annexation area includes 259 acres (163 parcels), about 346 people and 4,927 linear feet of roadway, including parts of or all of Blakley Drive, Mesa Drive, Arrowwood Drive, Autumn Knoll and Churchview Drive.
Kingsport would receive approximately $299,000 in yearly revenue and $317,850 in one-time revenue from Area 8. Water line upgrades and sewer installation work for Area 8 is estimated to cost $3.1 million.
In other business Tuesday night the BMA voted 5-2 to enter into deliberations with the Greater Kingsport YMCA for the organization to manage a $13 million aquatics center, currently being proposed by the city. A formal agreement will have to come back before the BMA for approval.
Alderman Ken Marsh and Pat Shull voted against the measure. Vice Mayor Ben Mallicote made a motion to delay the measure until a citizens committee, charged with recommending a site for the aquatics center, returns in 45 days with their findings. All three men said deliberations were premature at this time. Mallicote’s motion failed by a vote of 3-4.
Alderman Larry Munsey raised the word of caution about delaying the measure, saying that action may be interpreted as the city not willing to work with the YMCA. Tom Bowman, leisure services director, said delaying deliberations would slow down the process.
“If we do take this action, we’re not committing to doing anything other than talking to these people,” Munsey said. “It’s not related to co-location. If we do not take this action tonight, I believe there’s a good possibility of forgoing the possibility of working with the YMCA to manage this pool.”
Mayor Dennis Phillips, who said he is partially responsible for the idea of co-locating the aquatics center with the YMCA, said he did not want to send any message to the YMCA that the city did not want to negotiate a management agreement.
Earlier this year, the city sent out a request for qualifications for the management of the proposed aquatics center. Three wellness companies responded and were interviewed by city staff on June 26 — The Great Body Company, the YMCA and Gold Star Fitness.
According to Bowman, the YMCA was selected because of the national organization’s history of effective aquatic facility experience. Bowman said the city hopes to develop group usage agreements regarding the proposed aquatics center with the Great Body Company and Gold Star Fitness.
The BMA also:
•Approved a lease agreement with the American Legion of Kingsport to rent the West Room of the Civic Auditorium for $91 a month for 12 months, with the option of monthly renewals.
•Voted to continue the interlocal agreement with the town of Mount Carmel for land-use planning services. Under the agreement, the Kingsport Metropolitan Planning Organization will provide the planning services for the town at an annual cost of $6,800.
•Authorized the city attorney to initiate condemnation proceedings to acquire a two-acre piece of property on Rock Springs Road, just off Interstate 26. The property is to be the site of Kingsport’s future Fire Station No. 7. Marsh voted against the measure, saying he did not believe in strong-arming a citizen over a non-essential issue.
•Appropriated $436,000 to install sewer collector lines for the Bloomingdale trunk line extension project. These funds are the city’s portion of the $1.9 million project. Sullivan County will pay nearly $1.2 million to install the trunk line, while the state plans to pitch in $300,000 to help fund tie-on fees for lower- and middle-income families who qualify.