Leader Blues

Monday, June 25, 2007

TOP STORY >>Sherwood is ready to take over huge tract

IN SHORT: Aldermen will meet Monday to officially accept 2,000 acres that Jacksonville hoped to annex, but developers did not want that and won the support of Pulaski County Judge Villines and Circuit Judge Kilgore.

Leader staff writer

Come Monday night, Sherwood will officially grow by almost 2,000 acres.

The council plans to approve an ordinance at their monthly meeting Monday at city hall, bringing in the mostly undeveloped land north and west of the city and completing a process that was started about a year ago.

The four owners of the acreage — Greg Heslep, Byron McKimmey, Metropolitan Realty and Lilac LLC — asked last year that their land be a part of Sherwood, but Jacksonville objected.

The issue went before County Judge Buddy Villines who ruled in favor of Sherwood in August 2006. Jacksonville appealed and the case went before Circuit Court Judge Collins Kilgore. In late May, Kilgore also ruled in favor of Sherwood. In circuit court, the land owners testified that they felt Sherwood was the better deal for them and that their land would be more valuable as part of Sherwood as opposed to being part of Jacksonville.

Villines said in his 2006 order that the only reason Sherwood could refuse the annexation was if it were “unable to provide services to the annexed area.”

“Don’t worry, “ Harmon said, “we’ll provide service.”

Harmon recently said Sherwood has about $2 million saved up to help provide water and other utilities to the area. “The developers wanted to be in our city and we wanted them to be in the city and now they will,” said Harmon. When the council approves the ordinance Monday the acreage will be incorporated into the city’s Ward 4. Aldermen for that ward are Keith Rankin and Steve Fender.

It’s not on this month’s agenda, but the council will also have to adopt an ordinance identical to what Jacksonville has regarding the portion of the land that is in the Air Force flight path.

Jacksonville had the flight safety ordinance covering a portion of the unincorporated land because it was within the city’s planning jurisdiction.