Saturday, November 10, 2012

TOP STORY >> Approval for annexation

Leader staff writer

All five areas that Sher-wood wanted to annex were voted into the city Tuesday.

The areas, mostly small subdivisions and an elementary school on the northern edge of the city won’t officially become part of Sherwood until probably the first of the year, according to Mayor Virginia Hillman.

“We have 15 days to get the updated land maps to the county and they have 30 days to sign off on it. So it will probably be right after the holidays,” the mayor explained.

The areas annexed included a section of North Gap Creek, the Woodridge subdivision, the Oakdale-Mine Road area, Carr Cove and two schools, Cato elementary and Northwood Middle School.

She said the annexation was part of the city’s natural growth and was necessary to “help clarify and clean up the northern boundaries.”

One of the five areas annexed into the city included Northwood Middle School and Cato Elementary. Both were nearly surrounded by Sherwood after the city annexed Gravel Ridge about three years ago.

“The school district agreed with us that the schools should fall under us. Before the annexation, the county would have to be called to respond if there were problems. That made no sense when most of the time our office and firefighters are closer,” she said.

Property can be annexed into a city in three different ways: Voluntarily by the land owners asking the city to let them in, involuntarily where the city decides to bring the land in or through the election process.

When an election is set, the residents of the city and the affected area get to vote on the annexation issue. The mayor had said earlier the decision was made to place it on the general election ballot to save money and to give as many people as possible a chance to vote.

Four out of the five areas garnered about 12,000 votes apiece—more than 8,000 for and just over 3,000 against. None of the annexed areas had 3,000 voters living in them, just 100 or so at the most, so the majority of the no votes came from city residents.

“Taking in these areas will not strain our police department or the fire department,” Hillman said.

The North Gap Creek area annexation garnered the least number of votes out of the five areas. Unofficial results show 4,494 votes for annexation and 1,451 against.

On annexing the Woodridge subdivision, it was 8,672 votes for and 3,146 against.

On the Oakdale-Mine Road issue, 8,440 votes were cast in favor of annexation and 3,390 against it.

For Carr Cove, 8,309 votes were for annexation and 3,362 against.

The idea of annexing the two schools garnered 8,646 votes for it and 3,166 against it

Most residents living in the affected areas voted against coming into Sherwood. “But if we didn’t vote them in, North Little Rock would have done so,” the mayor said.