The City Commission passed a first reading of an ordinance Thursday that would make land in the Suncrest and Bobby Hicks Highway areas more developer friendly, a move made eight days after a U.S. district judge dismissed a suit in which Gray residents, upset with Johnson City’s recent and possible future annexations there, challenged a state statute.
Commissioners also passed a first reading of an ordinance to annex — a property owner requested annexation — slightly more than 10 acres along the Kingsport Highway that includes about 3,640 feet of Bobby Hicks Highway.
“I attended the planning meetings on this, and my understanding is they can’t do anything in the county,” said Danny Sells, a Gray resident who headed the group Citizens to Maintain Gray last summer when the city proceeded with the Suncrest Annexation and an attempt to annex land along the Bobby Hicks Highway. “The key is, they are talking about 300 feet from the edge of city right-of-way. Is the bogeyman out there? Yes. But this move is not a surprise. However, this whole area will be Johnson City at some point, and this move does continue to set the stage for further annexation.”
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