Johnson City to officially consider de-annexing nearly 40 acres in Gray

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- Johnson City will officially consider the de-annexation of part of the Suncrest Drive area in Gray.

Several homeowners in that area have been requesting to leave the city since their properties were annexed in 2012. They recently submitted a formal de-annexation request to the city commission. At Thursday’s city commission meeting an ordinance to contract the city limits is set to be introduced.

Commissioner Jenny Brock said this is far from a done deal and is just the first, official step, in a long process. “This gives us an opportunity to do our due diligence, to ask many, many questions,” Brock said. “Requests like this have a lot of implications and so we need to examine everything that it could possibly impact.”

The ordinance calls for the de-annexation of 38.6 acres, impacting 80 homes and an estimated 145 people. If it is passed Johnson City would lose more than $56,000 a year in property and state shared taxes.

Angela Carrier, director of Johnson City’s Development Services Department, said overall, that financial impact might not be very big, “Those property taxes covers the services that we provide so of course you know services would be reduced, so as well as property taxes, so as far as the big scheme of things, it could be a wash.”

Commissioner Brock said she is going into the process with an open mind and there are several questions that need to be answered and the pros and cons need to be weighed. She said she is more concerned about the precedent the de-annexation could set. “If we had other neighborhoods that saw the precedent that we’re setting here and they wanted to request that as well it could certainly open up a flood.”

There are also discussions at the state level about giving de-annexation rights to homeowners. Currently, property owners cannot initiate a de-annexation. Brock said the she will be keeping an eye on what is happening at the state level as she is making her decision. “I don’t want us to get ahead of the legislation if they’re going to come up with legislation.”

The ordinance is set to be introduced at the commission’s meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. It must pass three readings, including a public hearing, before it would become law. Right now, the public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 18th at 6 p.m.  in the commission chambers at the Municipal and Safety Building located at 601 E. Main Street.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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