These white areas are defined as areas that are located within the geological barriers of the city, yet when the city of Cherokee Village was incorporated in 1998, these and a few other regions were not included in the city boundaries.
Present for the public hearing were landowners from both regions, who voiced their opinions and concerns about the possible annexation of the areas.
First to speak was Nathan Circle who owns land in Big Oak Estates. Circle told the council that he bought the land for hunting purposes and said that he had spoken with the majority of the other landowners and they all want the land to remain zoned as it is, not rezoned to a R-1, which was later defined as "hunting area" by members of the council. Circle also addressed the police and fire protection that would be a part of the annexation. He said that the owners did not want these services from the city and if they did have a need they would call the county.
Bryan Sutterfield, one of the owners of the 160 acres being considered for annexation spoke to the council about the possibility of increased taxes, namely SID, which seems to be one of the main issues with many of the landowners. He advised council that he did not want to pay taxes to keep up the golf courses and lakes in the city. He said he did not utilize these services, therefore, did not want to pay for their upkeep in the form of a tax.
Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley explained to Sutterfield that in the event the 160 acres was annexed into the city, the only increase in taxes would be 2 mills due to the different zone and the owners would not have to pay SID taxes. Cherokee Village Alderman Peter Martin explained to Sutterfield that the SID is a separate entity than the city and therefore property owners would be exempt from the SID tax. Hefley told Sutterfield that until the property was sold to another owner, the city had no jurisdiction over it.
Sutterfield was also concerned with reasons why the city wanted to annex the area into the city's boundaries. Jerry Adams with Cherokee Village Planning and Zoning Committee advised Sutterfield the city would like to clean up the boundaries, increase the population to over 5,000, allowing the city more turnback funds, as well as creating revenue for the city through an Advertising and Promotions Tax on rentals from tourism. Hefley also informed Sutterfield that the proposed annexation document will allow the landowners in the 160 acres to hunt in the same manner as they were accustomed to. Sutterfield, however, was concerned that a few years later the city could be governed by a new mayor and new city council and that they could change the rules.
City Attorney Jon Abele said the city could grandfather in a clause regarding the use of the land, but did say the current city council could not govern what future councils could change in regard to the annexation and zoning of the areas.
Renee Clay-Circle also spoke to the council and advised that the words "and heirs" should be included in the ordinance in the event property owners would like to pass their property and the rights to hunt on the land to their heirs. Clay-Circle's suggestion was taken into consideration by members of council.
Following the public meeting on Oct. 14, was the regular monthly meeting of Cherokee Village City Council Oct. 15. At the meeting, members of council agreed to forego voting on the annexation issue until they had an opportunity to discuss the issue and rewrite the potential ordinance to reflect the considerations made by the public. The issue is set to be voted on during the November city council meeting set for Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at Cherokee Village City Hall.