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Hartselle planning jurisdiction vote may be in January

By Deangelo Mcdaniel· 340-2469

HARTSELLE — It will be at least another month before Hartselle decides the issue of changes to its planning jurisdiction.

Hartselle uses section lines to define its jurisdiction. The lines do not move when the council annexes.

City Planner Jeremy Griffith wants the planning jurisdiction to be one-half mile outside the city limits.

“The jurisdiction should move as the city grows,” he said, at Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting.

The commission seems willing to change the planning jurisdiction as long as the change is one in agreement with the city’s comprehensive plan.

Deciding divisions

Griffith said he has a meeting scheduled with Decatur and Falkville to work out definite boundaries of jurisdiction.

The two municipalities touch Hartselle’s city limits on U.S. 31.

State law allows municipalities to enforce building codes up to five miles outside their city limits.

But, they can’t enforce those regulations within the corporate limits of another municipality.

The way Hartselle defines its planning jurisdiction became an issue when the Planning Commission voted on the annexation application of Taylor and Heather Roberts.

The couple wanted to be inside the city limits because they want their children to attend the Hartselle city school system.

The commission recommended that the council deny the request to come into the city, in part, because the majority of the Roberts’ 10.5-acres on Nance Ford Road is not inside Hartselle’s planning jurisdiction.

This city administration, for the first time since taking office in October 2004, went against the commission’s recommendation and annexed the property.

Seeking direction

Member Jim Martin said Tuesday that the commission is looking for some direction from the council.

“We want to know what y’all want us to look at,” he told Councilman Bill Smelser, who also serves on the commission.

“We want to take in as many as we can,” Smelser said. “We know annexation costs the city upfront, but we will collect property taxes down the road.”

Hartselle has annexed more than 550 acres since 2004.

Most of that property is located in commercial and industrial zones near Interstate 65.

Smelser said the police and fire chiefs have assured the city’s leaders that annexation is not straining their departments.

“Until the chiefs say annexation is straining them, we will probably annex,” he told the commission.

Martin said he wasn’t disagreeing with the council’s decision.

“I’m just looking for some general directions because we’re agents of the council,” he said.

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