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Council takes a look at annexation

Maumelle will be growing, but the question is when as the City Council debated the merits of annexation at its meeting on Monday night.

The Council was presented with two options generated by Mark Rudder, a consultant with the Holloway Firm, an engineering company in Maumelle.

Option 1 would bring in 398.3 acres with 205 acres being commercial property and the rest being residential.

Putting all that property on city sewer would cost an estimated $1,795,084, with the most expensive item being 15 to 20 feet deep sewer trench at $224,000.

Mayor Mike Watson said the sewer system uses gravity and the deeper it goes, the more expensive it gets.

Option 2 is for 203.2 acres and all of it would be zoned commercial.

It also had a significantly lower price tag of $955,996.

All the property is north of Maumelle’s current city limits and portions include land in the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction.

Speaking in favor of annexation was Jason Polk, who owns Lake Liquor and said he had plans to put in a restaurant near the liquor store but couldn’t because he didn’t have access to city sewer.

Also speaking in favor of annexation was Jeff Hathaway, a realtor with the Hathaway Group.

Hathaway represents the Brown Family and their property sits along Interstate 40 and has been looked at by businesses from Wal-Mart to Bass Pro Shop as a place for possible expansion.

“They really aren’t building interstates anymore,” Hathaway said. “So this is one of the few places that sits on an interstate and near an exit, that hasn’t been developed.”

The problem, Rudder said, was the lack of city services in the area.

“Hard to market property that doesn’t have sewer services,” he said. “I really think that this is one of those if you build it, they will come scenarios.”

First, though, the city has to annex the land as Maumelle is prohibited by state law from spending city and bond money on projects not inside the city limits, said City Attorney JaNan Davis.

Watson appointed Alderwoman Jan Hogue to be chair of the city’s Annexation Task Force and an immediate meeting was planned for Tuesday evening.

Watson also said he was in negotiations to purchase property for a new fire station but asked the Council to defer action until May.

“They’re complicated, at best,” Watson said of the back and forth between the city and property owner. “We might be able to bring something back by May 5 or at least that’s what we’re shooting for.”

In other business, the Council approved, in an emergency action, a new leasing agreement for the city’s police force.

Police Chief Sam Williams said that Landers, the dealership that the city leases from was terminating its lease agreement on May 15 and that Professional Leasing Company, Inc., would agree to lease to the city at Landers’ old rate of $2,100 monthly for three vehicles.

The City Council meets next on May 5.

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