Saluda: No target areas for annexation

Published 6:49 pm Monday, March 15, 2010

Responding to concerns from the Polk County government, Saluda officials say they are seeking an exemption to the states voluntary satellite annexation rule simply for future flexibility. They say they are not targetting a specific area.
Both Saluda and Tryon are seeking an exemption from the rule that municipalities can only bring in an area equal to 10 percent of corporate limits through voluntary satellite, or non-contiguous annexation.
The towns are seeking a local bill in the state legislature’s upcoming short session to be exempt from the rule.
Attorney Bailey Nager, who represents all three of Polk Countys towns, says it was his recommendation to seek the exemption. He says 95 other towns in the state have the exemption and most of Tryon and Saludas satellite annexations are in town/city parks.
He said Tryon has used up about half of its satellite annexation allotment with Harmon Field. Tryon officials say the possibility of acquiring more land for Harmon Field is their main reason for seeking the exemption.
Saluda faces a similiar situation in that most of its satellite annexation is at the former city landfill, which is being turned into a park.
Saluda City Council members said last week that they have no properties in mind to seek voluntary satellite annexation, including no properties in Henderson County.
Polk County commissioners during a recent meeting expressed concern over the town’s plans to seek an exemption. Polk commissioners also said Henderson County is concerned that Saluda may satellite annex area inside their county.
After speaking with Tryon officials, though, county commissioners and town council members agreed to work together on the resolution requesting the exemption with the state. Tryon says they will consider limiting non-contiguous annexation within the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).
Saluda does not have ETJ nor does Columbus. Both towns have requested ETJ rights, but the county has denied holding a public hearing to allow the towns to have ETJ. Having ETJ rights means the towns can zone one mile outside corporate limits.
Columbus already is exempt from the 10 percent satellite annexation rule. The town’s request for the exemption was approved by the state several years ago. County commissioners said recently if Columbus was not exempt, the voluntary satellite annexation of Fosters Creek would not have been possible.
Tryon and Saluda will likely make the exemption request jointly, which will require getting state Representative David Guice and Senator Tom Apodaca to sponsor a bill.

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