published Friday, April 5th, 2013

Cleveland Planning Commission approves annexation proposal

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The Cleveland City Council is scheduled to hold public hearings regarding the proposed annexations on April 22 and May 13.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The Cleveland Planning Commission has approved — with some modifications — proposals for the city to annex eight areas in Bradley County.

The board voted 7-0 Thursday to approve plans of service for annexations on Freewill Road and Country Club Drive after reaching agreements with developers, who have voiced concerns about extra costs to redo work to meet city standards.

City planners agreed to accept plats previously approved by county inspectors for the Silver Springs subdivision in the Freewill Road area.

"Now that a lot of people's jobs won't be jeopardized, this development will move forward," said Dennis Epperson, who plans to develop two more phases at Silver Springs.

Most people living in Silver Springs aren't happy about being brought into the city, said Bill Brown, homeowners association president.

Brown said 22 residents opposed annexation, two were for it and four could not be reached for comment. They mostly object to having to pay an estimated $700 to $900 in city taxes, he said.

City Councilman George Poe recommended that the residents evaluate offsetting benefits of incorporation, such as increased police protection, lower fire insurance and water costs and garbage pickup.

"It's just about a washout," said Poe.

The Country Club Drive area -- about five acres encompassing a mixture of residential and rental properties -- is all that remains of an earlier proposal to annex 88 acres behind Bradley Central High School.

Before Thursday's meeting, city planners agreed to remove 77 acres of undeveloped woodland and fields from the proposal. On Thursday, they also agreed to remove a six-acre development along Silver Maple Drive, which was requested by developer Lisa Stanbery.

Stanbery said it would be a hardship to match the current phase of the subdivision, which meets county standards, to the next phases, which would have to be built according to city standards. She cited a prior incident where one of her connecting developments experienced long delays and extra costs under similar circumstances.

The Silver Maple Drive subdivision is the second area to be dropped from the city's recent annexation proposals.

A planned townhome development on Urbane Road was cut from incorporation in the Hardwick Farms area after developers feared they might have to redo work to meet city standards.

But that townhome development may be reconsidered for annexation, said Corey Divel, senior planner for Cleveland's development and engineering department. He cited a city ordinance that generally requires requests for sewer service to be accompanied by requests for annexation.

The previously approved annexation plans include parcels at Hardwick Farms, a section of Anatole, the proposed state veterans home and areas on Mason Road, Autumn Drive and Old Chattanooga Pike.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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