Huntsville annexation inches closer

A city of Huntsville annexation of 7,551 acres is one step closer to becoming a reality. 

Huntsville council members Tuesday night received the initial ordinance reading for seven proposed areas of unincorporated Walker County.

However, the move to annex has came with a few hiccups after multiple property owners threatened litigation. Which in turn prompted council members to go behind closed doors to meet with legal counsel for nearly two hours.

No civil suits have been filed at the Walker County Courthouse as of this report.

A second reading of the annexation ordinance must be approved within 20-40 days from the public hearings, which concluded July 16. A vote for adoption is expected on August 20.

Included in the proposed annexation is:

• 1,155 acres located northwest of the current city limits near Interstate 45 and Hwy. 75 north (Area A).

• 776 acres located northeast of the current city limits near Hwy. 19 and FM 2821 (Area B).

• 137 acres located east of the current city limits near Hwy. 190 and Old Phelps Road (Area C).

• 254 acres located east of the current city limits near Hwy. 75 South and Rush Road (Area D).

• 3,548 acres located south of the current city limits near Hwy. 75 South, Interstate 45 and Park Road 40 (Area E).

• 164 acres located west of the current city limits south of the Westridge Subdivision (Area F).

• 1,106 acres located west of the current city limits near Hwy. 30 and FM 1791 (Area G).

City officials did not disclose where the remaining 411 acres in the proposal was accounted from.

Much of Tuesday’s discussion was surrounded around public safety concern in Area E after officials with the New Waverly Fire Department publicly opposed the annexation due to “increased response times for emergency response.”

According to Huntsville Fire Chief Greg Mathis, the proposed annexation would not change responses for EMS, but would turnover police and fire response to the city of Huntsville. The area is currently served by New Waverly Fire Department and the Walker County Sheriff’s Office.

“The city of Huntsville is in agreement with the county for fire protection, but there has not been a mutual aid agreement with the surrounding departments signed in some time,” Mathis said. “Huntsville Fire Department will be the primary responding agency, but we do on and work with ESD 2, just as we do with the other surrounding departments. If we need them to come within the city limits, we will call just as we always have."

Officials have said that response times for the Huntsville Fire Department will be 10-12 minutes versus an estimated 2-3 minute response time from the New Waverly Fire Department.

See more from this meeting in Thursday’s edition of The Item. 

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