DAILY Photos by Gary Lloyd|
Dr. John Wisda, who dropped his proposal to annex part of Lacey’s Spring into Huntsville, presents why he thinks his plan would have afforded the community a higher quality of life. He said he willingly abandoned it because of the opposition.
‘Trying to be a good neighbor’
Annexation out, but minifarms may still come to Lacey’s Spring
By Sheryl Marsh
DAILY Staff Writer
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A portion of Lacey's Spring may not move into Huntsville, but the doctor who owns the property plans to bring a new look to the area while keeping the country appeal.
Lacey's Spring residents, who were prepared to fight Huntsville's annexation of 400 acres that Dr. John Wisda owns, filled a meeting room Tuesday in Decatur to watch him tell the Morgan County Commission that he pulled his petition.
The issue has been the focus of controversy for weeks with a number of residents there opposing Huntsville gulping some of the rural turf in the east end of the county.
"When I purchased the property, I had no idea it would be this controversial," said Wisda. "I didn't have my finger on the pulse of what was going on in Lacey's Spring.
"I had envisioned putting a community there that would rival Hampton Cove," Wisda said. "The city of Huntsville has no interest in annexing somebody who doesn't want to be annexed."
Wisda said he talked with Huntsville officials, and they decided that if the County Commission does not support it, there should be no annexation.
The commission's attorney, Bill Shinn, said he talked with Huntsville's attorney and the issue is extinct.
Shinn said because of Supreme Court rulings in similar situations, including one involving a Decatur annexation into Limestone County, the attorney didn't believe annexation would be legal.
"If one annexes land across a body of water, it must be able to reach the parcel of land without leaving the city limits," Shinn explained.
He said that's impossible in the Lacey's Spring matter.
"I can't foresee any way that there could be annexation across the river to Dr. Wisda's property," Shinn said.
Wisda said his plan would have afforded the Lacey's Spring community a higher quality of life, but said he willingly abandoned it because of the opposition. He asked the commission to vote on whether they wanted the annexation.
District 4 Commissioner Stacy George, who represents Lacey's Spring, urged a vote but Chairman John Glasscock said a resolution the commission unanimously adopted two weeks ago expresses the opinion of its members. The resolution opposed the annexation.
Wisda said in asking for annexation he was also trying to help residents who complained to him about a rock quarry coming to the area.
"Some neighbors didn't want the quarry," Wisda said. "I was trying to be a good neighbor. The quarry is far from me ."
Wisda has another development plan for the acreage. He said he could turn it into mini farms.
George said he promised to provide resources for infrastructure for Wisda's project. He said he plans to talk with utility companies and do whatever he can to help with the development.
"We want progress and as long as it's in Morgan County we're happy," said George.
Wisda said he looks forward to working with George.
"Stacy is very strong," said Wisda. "We've had lots of discussions, and we've agreed to disagree."
Residents who opposed the annexation said they don't mind new developments. They just want to keep their rural tranquility.
"We strongly wish to keep Huntsville out of Lacey's Spring," said Ron Smith. "We are not opposed to development as long as it's under our own authority, not Huntsville."
Some residents said they're keeping an eye on Wisda.
"I appreciate the commission's support for standing up," said James Mahan. "I don't necessarily trust the doctor, but I trust the commission and the people I was born and raised with."
Four residents were at the meeting who did not oppose annexation.
Linda Drzycimski said she does not live close to Wisda's property and would not be a part of annexation, but she's for improvement of the community.
"I am for whatever makes Lacey's Spring a better community for everybody," Drzycimski said, after the meeting. "I believe that annexing that property would have made life better for everyone."
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