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Springdale council approves annexation of 274 acres

by Laurinda Joenks | November 24, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.
A sign post marking the city limits of Springdale Thursday, February 16, 2017, on South Thompson Boulevard in Springdale. (NWA Democrat-Gazette File Photo/DAVID GOTTSCHALK)

SPRINGDALE -- The City Council on Tuesday voted 5-1 in favor of annexing 274 acres east of Springdale.

Council member Mark Fougerousse voted against the annexation in the regular City Council meeting held after the public hearing. Council members Amelia Williams and Randall Harriman did not attend the meeting.

The annexation includes 56 parcels of land mostly north of Howard Anderson Road between George Anderson Road and Butterfield Coach Road. A few contiguous parcels were included in the annexation request, as well as seven more standing alone mostly east of Hylton Road.

State law allows cities to initiate annexations of unincorporated land that is surrounded by the city -- an island, said Ernest Cate, Springdale city attorney. The rationale is these pieces become part of the city with its "natural growth," he said.

The city annexed 23 similar parcels in 2018 and 100 islands in 2009, Cate said.

But the 56 parcels east of town are not surrounded by Springdale, Cate explained. They share a small bit of boundary with Fayetteville. State law says if the land is surrounded by two or more cities, the city with the greater distance around the property can annex that land, Cate said.

The annexation will go into effect 30 days after council approval, he said.

Residents received notice of the public meeting via letters the city is required by state law to send to the property owners, but said the letters included no more information. So they came to the hearing with questions.

Robert Baker, who lives on George Anderson Road, said, "I don't know what the city can do for us. Are our taxes going to go up? Will they take our guns away from us? Will we go on city water, city sewer? Will they bring it to my property line and I have to go get it?"

Mayor Doug Sprouse told property owners not much would change.

All land annexed by the city comes into the city with an agricultural zoning, which is the zoning the parcels currently hold in the county. That zoning will not change until the property owner asks the city to change it, Sprouse said.

Sprouse noted that anything they are doing with their property right now can continue as long as they continue doing it, for example, operating a business or running cattle.

Sprouse noted the properties would even stay with the current utility accounts. City boundary lines and water service boundaries don't always match up, he said. "They're kind of like school districts."

Springdale Police Department and Fire Department will now serve the area, he said.

And residents currently served by Springdale Water Utilities will pay a reduced rate for water service, as the utility's rate is less to residents of Springdale, Sprouse explained.

But residents were worried about the future.

Michael Wilson, who lives off Butterfield Coach Road, was worried that in five years he would be required to join the Springdale sewer service rather than remain on a septic tank. He noted a creek and low-lying land that concerned him if the utility decided to build a lift station in the area.

Jason Womack of Butterfield Coach Road expressed concern about the utility running a water pipe and a road running across his land as shown on the city's 2017 Master Street Plan.

Sprouse explained Springdale Water Utilities is a quasi-department of the city, that the utility has its own governing body in the Water and Sewer Commission, and city staff at the meeting could not answer those specific questions.

"I'm sorry, but we can't give you these answers," he said.

Sprouse also told residents that the timing of when utilities and roads are built in the area will be driven by development, private developers and their arrangements with landowners.

Sprouse said the city uses the Master Street Plan as a guide. Yes, the area most probably will need a road in the future, but that map does not determine exactly where the road will be built, he explained.

"We don't build a road until it's needed," he said.

"I don't see the point of being annexed," Womack concluded. "I want to stay in the county. If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

In another public hearing, Alex Blass of Blue Ribbon Industries, explained the company wanted to move seven parcels it owns on U.S. 112 back into Cave Springs.

The properties were purchased by Blue Ribbon from different owners and belonged to several different jurisdictions -- Cave Springs, Benton County and Springdale, Cate explained.

The company annexed them all into Springdale to ease development, but now wants to return to Cave Springs.

The company's plans are rural in nature. The company operates the Blue Ribbon Corn Maze on the site and plans a nursery and tree farm.

State law allows for simultaneous deannexation and annexation by a different jurisdiction. Cate explained Springdale had to hold the public meeting, but the council did not have to vote to deannex.

The Springdale City Council took no action, which means the land will be annexed to Cave Springs after that city's governing body votes in favor of annexation.

State law allows several ways to annex depending on circumstances at the time, Cate said. The action can be initiated by residents or cities, if certain conditions apply.

Print Headline: Springdale council approves annexation of 274 acres


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