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Hartselle seeks to extend planning jurisdiction

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE - If you reside within 11/2 miles of Hartselle's municipal limits, how you develop subdivisions may be changing.

A unanimous Planning Commission on Tuesday authorized City Planner Jeremy Griffith to advertise a resolution to extend the city's planning jurisdiction.

The commission's vote comes a week after the City Council opted against reinstating Hartselle's police and fire jurisdiction.

The council does not have to approve the planning jurisdiction because it's part of the commission's subdivision regulations.

"This is for advertising only. You will vote on it in April," said Griffith, who for at least a year has pushed the commission to extend the city's planning jurisdiction.

If the commission approves the measure in April, engineer Lee Y. Greene said it would increase the cost of developing subdivisions in the jurisdiction by between 30 and 40 percent.

People not in the jurisdiction right now, for example, can use open ditches for drainage.

"The city requires curb and gutters," Greene told the commission.

Alabama law permits municipalities to enforce their building codes up to five miles outside their city limits.

Hartselle's neighboring municipalities have planning jurisdictions that extend between 11/2 miles and three miles.

As he has in the past, commission member Johnny Howell expressed concern about people in the jurisdiction not being represented on the Planning Commission.

Griffith said legislation to allow them representation has failed to become state law.

If approved, Hartselle's jurisdiction would grow mostly east and west of the city. Falkville, which has a 11/2-mile planning jurisdiction, would have to pull back some to the south.

Griffith said Priceville and Decatur won't like what Hartselle is proposing because the state has a right of way in Hartselle's city limits that extends about 21/2 miles north from the Alabama 36 exit. That means both of those municipalities would have to pull back their jurisdictions, something he said Decatur has been reluctant to do.

"This part may have to be settled among the city councils in both cities," Griffith said.

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