State of the City set for Tuesday

An artist rendering of a new water tower that is currently under construction on Veterans Memorial Ave. 

Walker County citizens will get one last chance to address the Huntsville City Council regarding an annexation proposal that will expand the city’s boundaries by over 30%.

The council at its 6 p.m. meeting tonight is scheduled to hold a series of public hearings, related to the seven proposed annexations.

State law requires cities to hold two public hearings for proposed annexation — the first was held two weeks ago, the final meeting scheduled for this evening. After the public hearing period, an ordinance must be adopted within 20-40 days. Officials expect the first reading of the annexation ordinance to occur on August 6, with a vote for adoption expected on August 20.

The annexed areas include 1,155 acres along Interstate 45 to the northwest, 776 acres between Hwy. 19 and FM 980 to the northeast and 137 acres along Hwy. 190 to the east. The city is also planning to annex an additional 254 acres along Hwy. 75 S. near Weatherford International, 3,548 acres along Interstate 45 to the south — including Huntsville State Park, 164 acres south of the Westridge Subdivision and 1,106 acres along Hwy. 30 west of the city.

“I think this is a rush job, because the city was trying to beat Governor Greg Abbott … the end product is not very good, and many areas could lead to legal questions,” said Champe Miller, a resident in one of the annexations told the council at the first meeting.

Abbott signed House Bill 347 in May, essentially eliminating most unilateral annexations by any city, regardless of population or location. However, the Huntsville annexation was “grandfathered in” since a resolution to prepare a service plan was adopted prior to the passage of the bill.

This is the first time an annexation of this size has been proposed in the city of Huntsville since 2002.