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October 7th, 2008 12:00 am by Matthew Lane

KINGSPORT — The city of Kingsport approved a series of annexations in the Rock Springs community Tuesday night, closing in on finalizing the initial eight areas targeted for annexation more than two years ago.

Kingsport has worked since 2006 to annex nearly 1,000 acres and more than 680 residents 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.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved Areas 1 through 4 last year and Area 5 back in February. After each of these annexations, several residents from those areas filed lawsuits in an attempt to prevent being annexed. As a result, the city put the remaining three areas on hold.

The lawsuits have since been combined and are expected to go to trial in January.

In February, the city announced that residents in Areas 6, 7 and 8 who wished to come into the city could request annexation. This move was done to allow those residents to enter the city and not be tied up in litigation. A few property owners agreed and have since been annexed; the city has now gone back and is annexing the remaining property owners in Areas 6, 7 and 8.

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the BMA unanimously voted on final reading to annex the remaining portions of Areas 6 and 7. Unless lawsuits are filed, these areas will officially become a part of the city in 30 days.

Area 6 is approximately 140 acres and includes around 60 residents. Area 7 is nearly 100 acres and has 88 residents. The cost to provide water upgrades and sewer is estimated to cost $1.95 million to Area 6 and $1.38 million to Area 7.

The BMA also unanimously voted on first reading to annex Area 8, which has been split into three smaller parts — 78 acres, 94 acres and 96 acres. City leaders will vote on second and final reading for these annexations on Oct. 21.

Area 8 is approximately 264 acres, includes nearly 350 people and contains the following streets — Vanderbilt, Hunters Crossing, Blakely Drive, Mesa Drive, Arrowwood Drive and Autumn Knoll. Water and sewer line work is estimated to cost $3.2 million, and reoccurring expenses are just over $91,000. Reoccurring revenue is estimated to be about $300,000.

Once these annexations are complete, all eight original areas — the corridor leading up to The Edinburgh — will be complete. However, Kingsport’s next move in regard to annexation has not been determined, as city planners have not been given the go-ahead of where next to focus their annexation efforts.

City officials are considering switching the 2008 annexation areas with the 2010 annexation areas in light of a number of failing septic tanks in the Hidden Acres subdivision — located in the 2010 area. Kingsport is planning on extending the sewer trunk line from The Edinburgh down Rock Springs Road to the Hidden Acres subdivision entrance.

In other business the BMA:

•Approved a $479,826 contract with Cain, Rash, West Architects for the design phase of the V.O. Dobbins Community Center renovation and expansion project. Aldermen Ken Marsh and Pat Shull voted against the measure, saying the scope of the project had grown beyond what was originally conceived and that the proposed nonprofit wing would be competing with the private sector.

•Approved the purchase of a parcel of land — 830 W. Industry Drive — for $273,000. The property will be used for future waste-water treatment facility needs. The property appraised for $260,000, and the approved resolution is in the amount of $280,000 to cover the cost of the property, closing costs and taxes.

•Authorized Kingsport City Schools to purchase the property at 2300 Overlook Road in the amount of $29,000. The appraised price was $27,000. The property is located behind Jefferson Elementary School and will likely be used eventually for parking.

•Reallocated $25,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to the Downtown Facade Grant program, money left over from closed projects.

•Received a $4,980 grant from the Smithsonian Community Grant program, which will be used to pay for programs and promotions for the Smithsonian Exhibit, “Earth from Space,” to be held at the Kingsport Public Library later this year.

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