KINGSPORT — The annexation of nearly 350 people in Rock Springs has been delayed a second time, this time due to a printing error at the Times-News.
Last month, city planners ran legal notices for the annexation of the remaining portions of Areas 6, 7 and 8 in the Rock Springs community — a map and legal description of the territory of each area. The maps and legal descriptions for Areas 6 and 7 were published correctly, but Area 8 contained the legal description of Area 7. Therefore, Area 8 will have to be re-advertised, this time for no additional charge.
This marks the second delay in recent weeks regarding the Rock Springs annexations. Last month, Areas 7 and 8 were put on hold after city planners discovered the legal notices never made it to the Times-News.
Notices for annexations have to be published in the newspaper seven days prior to the public hearing, while rezoning notices have to be published 15 days prior. Kingsport publishes both 15 days prior.
Areas 6 and 7 are expected to go before the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for first reading on Tuesday. Due to this latest mistake, Area 8 will be re-advertised and go before the BMA in October.
However, Area 8 will not be coming back the way it was originally planned. The remaining portion of Area 8 has now been split into three, roughly even, parts and will come back to the BMA in three separate annexation requests.
“I think it’s just the way the groupings were, the possibility of some individuals to come in without being put in a contested situation,” City Manager John Campbell said, referencing the lawsuits that have been filed from every other annexation area in Rock Springs.
When asked if dividing Area 8 into three areas was a way of forcing residents to file more lawsuits, Campbell said he didn’t think of the situation that way.
“I don’t know if it will keep up the pattern of filing for everything,” Campbell said, noting the city is still getting requests from people in the area to come into the city voluntarily.
Splitting Area 8 into three smaller areas will mean three separate legal descriptions and maps will have to be paid for and advertised in the Times-News. Last year, the planning department had $8,000 allocated for advertising but spent $12,891 (the remainder had to be transferred to the department). This year, the department was again allocated $8,000 and two months into the fiscal year has spent $4,700 on advertising.
City staff are considering switching the 2008 annexation areas with the 2010 annexation areas due to a number of failing septic tank systems in the Hidden Acres subdivision, which city officials say need to be addressed with sanitary sewer.
“We’re doing some planning to extend that sewer line. We realize that we were getting some requests from Hidden Acres, and then those comments came back from state health officials, that Hidden Acres was the most troublesome part of the whole county,” Campbell said.
The study on the sewer line to Hidden Acres should be back within the next month, Campbell said.
“I think Rock Springs will stay fairly close to the schedule outlined,” Campbell said. “We’re responding to annexations by requests, and I think we’ll have enough requests to keep us busy.”