By David Tuma
Thirteen people addressed the Belton City Council Tuesday at a public hearing on the seven annexation study areas. Nine of those speakers were from the Sparta area.
In addition to those from the Sparta study area, the Council is considering annexing areas along I-35 in South Belton where an expansion of City sewer services in planned. Another area under consideration is projected to be the future right-of-way for Lake-to-Lake road.
The residents from the Sparta area have been the most vocal in speaking out against annexation. They had the most representatives at the first public hearing on the matter held on Oct. 25.
Following hearing from residents on Tuesday, the Council held a workshop and further discussed annexation.
Mayor Pro Tem David K. Leigh explained that annexations are a way for cities to meet the demands of growth efficiently and effectively.
“Sparta may be the least ripe area,” City Manager Sam Listi said as he discussed potential annexations with Council.
Many property owners in the study areas with property zoned as agricultural have signed development agreements, which would put annexation of their property on hold for 5-10 years.
Several members of the Council reiterated that they have not made any final decisions related to annexations. The first reading of the anticipated annexation ordinance is Nov. 22.