PARK HILLS – The city’s intent to annex a large area to the south and east of the current city limits will be the subject of a public hearing Thursday at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of the Municipal Building.
The Park Hills City Council adopted a resolution indicating the planned expansion in late December. In involves property on both sides of U.S. 67 to Hunt Road as well as additional property between U.S. 67 and Hurryville Road.
This public hearing is different from most conducted on annexation proposals as it will include sworn testimony from city administration staff that will be required as part of the civil court action that will be taking place. This annexation, unlike others in the city’s recent past, is not a voluntary annexation.
At the hearing, in addition to the sworn testimony of city officials, there will be an announcement of the 15-day period in which written comments can be submitted. There is also a period in which the public can make verbal comments during the hearing and for a 15-day period following the hearing.
The public will also have the opportunity to make comments on the plan through electronic mail (e-mail) to the city officials. Those comments should be addressed to email@example.com.
Following an explanation of the process there will be what is described as a “public information session” in which details of the plan will be discussed and questions may be asked.
During the meeting it is expected the officials will explain the more complex process involved in this annexation. All past annexations carried out by Park Hills since it was formed in 1994 have been “friendly annexations” that have been requested by the owners of the property.
The area covered by the resolution that was adopted by a 5-0 vote would extend the city limits to Hunt Road on the south and Hurryville Road on the east. It would take in the St. Francois County Fairgrounds, Crown Equipment Co., Shoppers’ Paradise, Farmington Antique Mall, Busenbark Carpet and the adjacent trailer business, ABC Supply, Crystal Heating and Cooling, Farmington Auto Sales, Johnson Distributors, Goggins Drilling and a metal recycling company.
In addition to several individual homes and a significant amount of agricultural land, the 621-acre annexation would also take in the Town and Country Trailer Court.
Unlike other recent annexations, this one will require an election as well as a declaratory judgment from the Circuit Court of St. Francois County, according to City Counselor Ed Pultz. He said he does not know yet which of those two steps the council will choose to begin with.
Mayor John Clark said it is the city’s intention to move quickly with this annexation. Under state law, the resolution of intent gives the city three years in which to undertake the annexation, but Clark said that will not be the situation in this case. He indicated the city will be moving forward with the process almost immediately.
City Administrator John Kennedy said there have been no in depth discussions with any property holders affected by the proposed annexation other than those with the County Fair Board. Those discussions had focused on a possible voluntary annexation.
Not only are there some well-established businesses in the area proposed for annexation, Clark noted, but also a significant amount of property that is promising for both commercial and residential development. The already established businesses would bolster the city’s sales tax revenue and offer promise for additional economic development.
To carry out the annexation, the city must show that it is prepared to extend municipal utilities — in this case sewer and water – to the area being taken in. With plans already being developed to extend those services to new Leadington residents along Flat River Road, Park Hills officials said this should not be a problem.