Wednesday, May 19, 2010

TOP STORY > >City grows as it takes in 85 acres

Leader staff writer

Seven areas completely surrounded by Cabot were annexed Monday night by the city council after no one came forward to say they didn’t want to be part of the city.

Allison Osterberg, the paralegal who works in the city attorney’s office, said several residents who didn’t live on the islands, as they are called, came by her office before the annexation to look at the map of the city and locate the islands. They were people who lived near the islands who were curious that they even existed.

A few property owners who had objected when talk of annexing started almost two years ago apparently no longer opposed it, she said.

The annexation brought about 85 acres into the city. Six of the previously unincorporated areas are now in Ward 1 and one is in Ward 4.

Talk of annexing the islands started in June 2008 when residents in the area of Campground Road and Linda Lane near a proposed storage facility wanted it annexed so the city could control the development. Since the facility was to be built on an area that was completely surrounded by Cabot city limits, the council had the authority to annex it whether the owners wanted to be annexed or not.

When Jimmy Woosley, whose family owned 7.5 acres of the 20-acre island, objected, saying there were other islands that also could be annexed, the council decided to start the process.

Woosley said at that time that if the city wanted to annex his land, it needed to stop the flooding there that development inside city limits had caused.

Although Woosley’s property was annexed more than a year ago, so the city could monitor construction of the storage facility, Woosley was the only former island resident who attended the Monday night council meeting.

And once again he complained about flooding and drainage problems.

Woosley agreed with neighbors from a nearby subdivision that flooding was worse since paving started at the storage facility.

“I forewarned you about this problem,” he told the mayor and council. “You wanted me in the city. Fix the problem,” he said.

The council also passed an ordinance to provide access to health insurance to retiring employees. Clerk-Treasurer Marva Verkler, who is retiring at the end of the year, asked the council for the benefit that the council then said would be good for other employees as well.

In other business, the council passed an ordinance to control soliciting and peddling by non-profit groups on public property.

The ordinance, aimed at stopping soliciting by groups not located in the Cabot area, says organizations must obtain a permit at no cost that limits the amount of time for soliciting to one day a year and for no more than 12 hours unless approved by the mayor, city clerk and city attorney.