Several speak out on Neosho property annexation

John Ford

Fears a future city council may ask for their property to be annexed into the city prompted several rural residents to oppose a plan to annex highway rights of way into the city.

During a public meeting Monday at Anderson City Hall, several people spoke out in opposition to the plan.

The city had planned to ask the Missouri Department of Transportation to allow rights of way on portions of three roadways to be taken into Anderson. This would allow the city to get water and sewer services to expected commercial developments. Mayor Bob Corcoran told the crowd of about 30 people that the measure would not affect property rights, would increase the value of their property if they chose to sell, and would protect them from being voted into the city.

Anderson planned to ask for easements along part of NN, Missouri Highway 76 and U.S. 71 Business 71 to be annexed into the city.

“We’re talking about NN to the interstate, the other part north to Splitlog Road, on the south end to Oscar Talley Road and on the east side — I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s to Testerman Lane,” Corcoran said.

“Who pays?” one audience member asked.

Under the plan, Corcoran said, developers would pay the cost of bringing water and sewer lines out to their property. If neighboring landowners wished to tie into the lines, they would be allowed to do so for a fee.

“We’re not going to run it out there,” Corcoran said. “We don’t have that kind of money, and we will never have that kind of money.”

Many in the audience opposed the measure, saying it would lead to forced annexation of their property in the future.

“I can understand the city’s point of view that they’d like to look forward to the future, but five or 10 years down the road, I don’t see that they will guarantee that they will not annex our property,” said Virg Kirschner, who lives off of Splitlog Road, one of the areas which would have been impacted by the request. “There’s nothing in writing.”

Several others echoed Kirschner’s sentiments during the meeting, saying they chose to live in rural areas because they didn’t want to be in the city.

“It’s my back yard. Stay out of it,” one woman said.

“There would be no land taken in,” Corcoran said. “It doesn’t stop you entirely from being annexed, but most likely it would. We don’t want any farms.”

Under Missouri law, annexation of property other than state rights of way takes a two-third majority of both the city wanting to annex the property and of landowners affected by the annexation. If one side or the other fails to have a two-thirds majority, then the issue does not pass.

Dr. Scott Goldstein, an Anderson dentist and member of the McDonald County R-1 board of education, lives in the Havenhurst subdivision near Pineville. He said given situations in Arkansas and other states, Missouri recently changed its laws on eminent domain which would not force annexation.

He added within his own subdivision, some houses were in the Pineville city limits, while others were not — the decision to be in the city limits was entirely the property owners, he said. Some audience members feared the city was asking for the highway easement annexations because of brewing developments in the near future.

Corcoran said he did not know of any residents being approached by developers about selling their property. He added there was one company interested in purchasing the former Taylor Homes, a manufacturer of mobile homes. The site currently does not have city water or sewer. Another audience member questioned the city’s motives, saying they would establish speed traps along those rural roadways. Corcoran denied the city would do so.

A letter to residents distributed at the start of the meeting said the areas would “not be subject to city taxes, city police supervision or checks.”

“The city police now go to work accidents, ambulance calls, fires and this would remain exactly as it is now,” the letter states.

“Any time you have something like this, you have all kinds of accusations,” said Todd Stone, owner of T-N-T Radiator Shop, located on Route NN, who supported the plan.

Some homes within the Anderson city limits remain on well water and septic tanks, a fact not lost on some members of the audience.

“You’re talking about going out on the highway. Well, what about places in the city limits which have gone 50 years without city water or sewer?” asked one man. “We can do what we can do,” said Corcoran. “We are doing it in the city, but it takes lots of money.”

“We’re all in this meeting with no recourse at all,” said one audience member. “If you don’t want it …” Corcoran began. “We don’t want it!” several people said at once.

“It’s your decision,” Corcoran said at the close of the hour-long session. “Make sure you think about it. This decision doesn’t have to be done tonight. Check this thing out. Watch it. Do what’s best for you. Just watch it and make sure you’re doing the right thing. Don’t get in a hurry. Take a big interest in what’s going on.”

“If we change our minds, how long will it be before this happens?” asked Kirschner.

“It would be about a year,” Corcoran said. “Just watch it and make sure you’re not making a mistake by not watching it.”

Neosho Daily News