Tryon denies Bradley Crossing annexation

Published 3:03 pm Friday, September 19, 2008

A town ordinance requires anyone outside city limits who requests services from the town to petition for voluntary annexation. After a long discussion about that ordinance, council members decided not to make PSA adhere to the policy.

Jim Paris of PSA Developers said that former town manager Jim Fatland promised the development water services and developers purchased the property based on that assurance. He said the town soon after developed the new ordinance saying that anyone requesting services must petition for annexation.

Paris said the process with the town was a situation in which the goal posts kept moving. After spending $1.4 million on the property, Paris said, PSA then heard from the town, &uot;Oh, by the way, if you want water you must do voluntary annexation.&uot; He said in the meantime the town backed out of its previous annexation of Lynn and the developers are suddenly closer to Columbus than to Tryon.

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Paris said it would be difficult to sell lots if the deed said down at the bottom, &uot;sometime in the future the town may annex you.&uot;

&dquo;We as developers stand steadfast that we are not going to sign that homeowners in the future be put in the throes of politics,&dquo; Paris said.

Councilman Dennis Durham said he told the developers during a public works meeting that if Fatland said they could get water, he is all for them getting water. He said he&squo;s also told the developers on several occasions that he is only one vote and it takes three on the council to grant that.

One of the problems council members said they had with granting water services without at least the promise of future annexation is that two other developments, Adams Mills and the Tryon Country Club proposed development, have indicated they would petition for voluntary annexation.

&dquo;What we&squo;re asking for is no more than what was promised,&dquo; Paris said. &dquo;Why would you put a boat anchor on us when we&squo;re trying to develop a premiere community?&dquo;

Paris said on a few occassions that PSA Developers is simply asking that the town treat them like it does all its neighbors and provide the service of water. He said the development will pay 1.5 times the rate of inside city customers. Actually, outside customers pay for water about 2.2 times what inside customers pay, councilman Austin Chapman said, but Paris said that&squo;s fine as well.

The discussion ended with the town granting the water service with no promise from developers to voluntarily annex in the future. PSA will bear all costs for the infrastructure to hook up to the town&squo;s system.

&dquo;I feel like we need to honor our commitment to provide them with water, drop the annexation and move forward,&dquo; Durham said.

Paris said the town will feel no financial impact from providing water and developers will build between $400,000 and $700,000 of infrastructure that they will turn over to the town.

Before taking the vote, councilman Roy Miller asked if the project has cost the town any money so far and the answer was none.

The town&squo;s ordinance requiring voluntary annexation stipulates that the developer/person petition for voluntary annexation, and the town can approve or deny that petition.

Bradley Crossing is a proposed 60-unit cluster housing development on 60 acres with over half proposed to be left in open space with walking trails and other recreational opportunities. The town earlier had discussions with PSA Developers regarding providing both water and sewer if the property was annexed, but PSA later said on-site sewer was the best option for the subdivision.