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County wants to let city annex ‘islands’

LaGRANGE – As the city grows, more land gets annexed from the county to make room for development within the city. But what happens when a section of land gets left behind in the expansion?

The Troup County Commission faced that question when they reviewed a request to annex 1734 and 1800 Whitesville Roads into the city at its Tuesday meeting. The landowners of the two pieces of property requested the change and would maintain similar zoning if they became part of the city, but the annexation raised questions for the commission regarding an “island” of property that is currently considered part of the county even though it is surrounded on all sides by the city.

The commissioners discussed whether it would be possible for the city to request that this group of general commercial properties along Whitesville Road be annexed into the city.

“We are recommending that we recommend to the city that they annex not only those two, but all the rest of these parcels (in the island) as well,” said County Engineer James Emory.

The commission made it clear at the meeting they do not want to force anyone into the city, but they thought that the option should be offered to property owners for consideration. According to information presented to the commission, a large portion of the properties in the section are for sale, and the possibility that buyers would want to be part of the city and receive city amenities like sewers was discussed.

“What we would like to recommend is that (the city) talk to those other property owners, and see if they would be willing to be annexed in at the same time, get rid of that island,” said County Manager Tod Tentler. “… What we feel like is eventually that’s going to be asked to be in the city anyway because it is going to be revenue development. Great Wolf is going in, and that land is selling like hotcakes.”

The commission also discussed the issue of first responders in an area of the county surrounded by the city. While the city and county do have a mutual aid agreement, the commissioners were forced to consider what effect the island may have on response times due to confusion over responsibility.

“The main reason is because of public safety,” said Tentler. “Who responds?”

The county commission forwarded their recommendation that the two properties be annexed into the city of LaGrange along with its recommendation that the city discuss annexation with the owners of the other properties.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Ave.

By Alicia B. Hill

Staff Writer

Reach Alicia B. Hill at 706-884-7311.