Annexation passes despite divided city council

Kendra Clark and Kendra Clark

The city council was divided Monday night after the city future land-use plan was passed.

The meeting started at 7 p.m. with Mayor Richard Edwards awarding the steering committee for a job well done on the land-use plan.

“For me, I’ve been working with the group and seen process over the years,” said Edwards. “After a while, the group started to jump into action, which speaks well for the progress here today.”

The committee, consisting of both citizens and faculty from the University, such as Vice President for Student Affairs Jill Carr and Vice President for Capital Planning Steven Krakoff, received pins and applause from the audience.

However, one legislation brought before the council caused a stir.

There is a 21-acre piece of land north of the city that has five separate buildings occupied by different businesses. The property owner recently applied to be annexed into the city, which was required because the adjacent property became annexed.

The council had to make a decision whether to annex the land or deny the annex.

President of city council Mike Aspacher said the conflict came because the land-use plan stressed the importance of focusing on the “core” of the city versus the outskirts.

“There was concern that by passing the annex, it would compromise the new plan,” said Aspacher.

The annex was approved by a vote of 4-3.

Theresa Gavarone, ward four, was one who approved the annex.

She said she went through the land-use update with the police and fire department for the city and both approved the annex.

“By annexing, we will have control of improvements with the gateway into the city,” said Gavarone.

Aspacher also approved the decision and said that if they denied the annexation now, the property owner would not be obligated to apply for annexation again and the city will lose the opportunity to gain the land.

“I support it,” Aspacher said. “There is more risk not gaining the property versus not taking it.”

John Zanfardino, ward two, disagreed with annexing the property.

“If we begin to think through the plan, it’s not a good thing to do right now,” said Zanfardino. “It’s not seen at the core of the city. I think the gateway won’t get improved with this, at least not for a while.”