Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TOP STORY > >Cabot ‘islands’ could be taken into city limits

Leader staff writer

Cabot has not annexed any property against the will of property owners in recent years, but that could change since the city council voted last week to start the process of annexing the “islands” that are completely surrounded by the city.

Cabot can legally annex land three ways: by petition of property owners, by an election such as the recent elections at Gravel Ridge and by a council vote to take in land.

For many years, all property has come into the city by petition of the property owners, usually subdivision developers who wanted city water, sewer, fire protection and police protection.

But last week, the council considered an ordinance to take in a 20-acre island that included 10 acres owned by members of the Woosley family. The other 10 acres are being sold to a developer of mini-storages who wants fire and police protection. The Woosley family protested, saying that they don’t want to be in the city, but if they are to be annexed, the city needs to fix the drainage problem in their area caused by the construction of housing developments that are already in the city.

Furthermore, Jimmy Woosley told the council it is discrimination to annex his family’s land without annexing the other islands in the city especially considering that some of the people who live inside the islands have sold property for subdivisions that are now part of the city.

“Don’t start picking on me,” Jimmy Woosley told the council.

Although the council did not affirm that Woosley had a valid point about the discrimination, members did say that instead of annexing just one, they should consider annexing all and asked the mayor to have public works staff to identify all the islands and bring that information to the next public works committee meeting.

The Woosley property is on Linda Lane off Campground Road. Two more islands are located on the other side of Campground on Diederich Lane.

Contacted by The Leader this week, Nancy Feland, who lives in one of those islands, was not aware that the city council had voted to look into annexing her family’s property.

“Tell them ‘no thanks,’” Feland said. “We don’t want it. We have no desire to be part of Cabot as a city. We have lived out here peacefully for 40 years.”

Eddie Diederich, who also lives on land surrounded by the city, could not be reached for comment.

In addition to property owned by the Woosleys, Felands and Diederichs, Norma Nacquin at Cabot Public Works, tentatively identified these other islands: two houses in front of Silver Streak Subdivision, one house on First Street and the city sewer ponds.

The new sewer treatment plant is inside the city limits, but the sewer ponds aren’t Naquin said. Bill Cypert, secretary and spokesman for the Cabot Water and Wastewater Commission, told the council last week that the commission would not oppose annexation of the ponds.

But in fact, the council can annex the islands even without the property owners’ approval. The question that remains to be answered is whether their interest in annexing will dwindle as opposition grows.