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Hartselle Council votes to de-annex land along I-65

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — In an effort to reach a truce with Decatur, city leaders here have de-annexed about 4,200 feet of right-of-way along Interstate 65.

The resolution, which a unanimous council passed Tuesday night, will move Hartselle's city limits back to the Bethel Road overpass on I-65.

"Basically, what this is going to do is clear up how far our police and fire departments respond to calls," City Planner Jeremy Griffith said.

The issue of whether the right of way along I-65 was in Hartselle or Decatur has been in dispute since Hartselle annexed it in 2004. Decatur accused Hartselle of annexing its police jurisdiction.

"We didn't see their police jurisdiction on the map, but they said it was there," Griffith said. "To clear this up, we met with Decatur, and we have reached a compromise. We're not giving up any private property."

The agreement, coupled with Hartselle's decision to extend its planning jurisdiction, is forcing Decatur to pull back its planning jurisdiction.

Hartselle voted in April to extend its planning jurisdiction up to 11/2 miles outside its city limits.

"In a situation where planning jurisdictions touch, you split the distance between the cities," Griffith explained.

He said Hartselle's planning jurisdiction will be north of Burleson Mountain Road and Village Creek Subdivision.

City Attorney Larry Madison said he will notify the probate judge of the council's decision.

"The probate judge will notify property owners in the area," Madison said.

"If somebody protests it, it will take an election to de-annex."

Madison said he doesn't expect any opposition because no one resides in the area that Hartselle is de-annexing.

"This should be routine," the attorney said.

The annexation may seem minor today, but it was important when Hartselle brokered a deal with the state Department of Transportation in 2004 to annex state rights of way east of I-65 because city leaders were pushing commercial development in the area.

By having the property east of I-65 in the city, Hartselle's municipal boundaries remained contiguous, and the council was able to acquire large tracts of commercial property.

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