Whitehouse holds annexation hearing

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Newly elected Place 1 council member James Wansley was sworn in along with returning council members Paul Hickey, Place 3, and Dick Jackson, Place 5, Thursday, Nov. 16, by city secretary Susan Hargis.

Nick Moss, outgoing representative for Place 1 on the council, was recognized for his service.

A climate controlled truck to be used for animal control had been donated to Whitehouse by John Soules Sr. and was accepted by the council.

A reinvestment zone for the property located in the 200 block of Memory Lane was established and a tax abatement agreement with Legacy Mortgage group was approved. Legacy Mortgage plans to develop the property for duplexes and single family dwellings. The tax abatement allows Legacy a 100 percent tax abatement the first three years and a 50 percent abatement the following two.

The agreed tax abatement does not go into effect unless and until the city receives the tenth certificate of occupancy. It should be noted that current value cannot be abated; therefore the abatement only applies to the difference between the current value and improved value. The tax abatement will end five years from the first certificate of occupancy or upon the sale of property to another entity.

The Nov. 16 meeting of the council was a special called hearing to present the proposed annexation and zoning of certain properties to the city of Whitehouse.

The majority of the residents who attended the meeting were not in favor of annexation, according to city manager Aaron Smith.

“Freedom to operate on their property as if they were not in the city,” is what Smith said he heard as a major reason for citizens not wanting the annexation to take place.

“The other thing that was pretty consistent, is that they do not use or require city services,” Smith said.

Only one person spoke in favor of annexation, according to Smith, but that individual was interested in the property coming in under different zoning.

“That’s something that can be discussed,” Smith stated. “You have to have two public hearings and then you have an ordinance. The ordinance would specify each property that may come in and the zoning that each would have. Until that point, it’s all in flux.”

“I can’t speak for individual council members and what they hoped to get from it [the hearing], but overall, what we hope to get from it is a better understanding of what the zoning should come in as,” Smith explained.

A second hearing on the planned annexation was scheduled for Nov. 28, though no action would be taken by the city until the ordinance is proposed at the regular council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 19.

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