For the second consecutive meeting, the Daphne City Council did not hold a vote on a de-annexation request from the city of Spanish Fort June 1.
Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan made a request April 29 that Daphne consent to the de-annexation of a 4.19-acre parcel in the Spanish Fort Town Center north of Interstate 10 so that it can be annexed into Spanish Fort. McMillan and City Attorney David Conner approached the council at its May 11 work session to discuss the issue and also came to the council’s May 26 and June 1 meetings hoping for a vote.
At the June 1 meeting the resolution was introduced by Councilman Ron Scott but was not seconded, leading the council to take no action. Scott later said he was concerned that Daphne had not received all the information it had requested regarding the annexation. He said he did not want Daphne to be seen as obstructing progress at the Spanish Fort Town Center, but said he needed more information before making a decision.
“This is an item [Spanish Fort] has been working on for a long time but it has just come to our attention and I don’t know that we have all the details,” Scott said Monday. “The first thing we heard was that it was just a sliver of land, and later we found out that there had been improvements on it and then we found out that one property owner did not want to be annexed.”
At the previous meeting, McMillan and Conner had stressed the importance of Daphne consenting to the de-annexation before the state’s legislative session ended, as lawmakers in Montgomery have jurisdiction over de-annexation issues.
Conner said the de-annexation is necessary to correct an error that occurred during the development of the property.
“The developer took a quick claim deed for that portion and for the right-of-way from I-10 from ALDOT during the development of the property,” he said. “It was not included in the ultimate property and the ultimate annexation into the city of Spanish Fort.”
An April 29 letter from McMillan to Daphne Mayor Dane Haygood included a notice that a proposed bill for Daphne to de-annex the property to be annexed into Spanish Fort would have been introduced during the legislative session. McMillan’s letter said the legislative act would aid the city of Spanish Fort and Town Center developers in correcting the discrepancy.
On Monday McMillan said the city would continue to work with Daphne leaders to resolve the issue.
“I’m a little disappointed that the council didn’t act on it but they have questions and I understand that,” McMillan said. “I would like to see this move forward because it does affect the Town Center, which has recently gone through a refinancing and reorganization. Accompanying that is the re-subdividing of the property. We can’t re-subdivide property that is still partly in the city of Daphne. Hence, this was a clean-up effort.”
Haygood said the cities would try to come to an agreement but Daphne leaders needed more information before making a decision.
“There are still some details that need to be worked out,” Haygood said. “I know there is some concern that with the legislative session coming to an end that this is not just an arbitrary deadline. But there are still some questions that need to be answered. We need the facts to try to make good decisions.”
Also at issue is that a portion of the parcel Spanish Fort is seeking to annex is inside the La-Z-Boy store at the Spanish Fort Town Center. At the May 26 meeting, Conner said only a small corner of the store, owned by David and Bess Marks, would be part of the de-annexation.
“The vast majority of that property is already in the corporate limits of the city of Spanish Fort,” Conner said. “Only a very small portion of the corner of the store is in the city of Daphne. The rest of it is owned by Cypress Equities, who as I understand it is in favor of the annexation.”
David and Bess Marks said June 1 they like being able to claim both Daphne and Spanish Fort as the store’s home.
“We like being in both cities, we like being able to say we are the La-Z-Boy furniture gallery in Daphne and Spanish Fort,” David Marks said. “We have a lot of customers in both cities and we want to be part of both communities.”
Bess Marks said they purchased the property in 2008 and did not know anything was wrong with the zoning until 2011, when the town center’s developer went into receivership. She said when they discovered that part of the store was actually in Daphne, they applied for and received a Daphne business license and building permit.
“I don’t want this to be an obstruction issue, it just came to us very suddenly and it was a pretty hard push,” Councilman Robin LeJeune said. “We would like to have a little more information before we make this decision.”
In other business, the Daphne City Council approved the appropriation of $14,520 from the general fund to hire Mobile-based Carey Technology LLC to perform redistricting geographic information services. When finished, the company’s recommendations would be presented to the council for consideration and approval.
Carey Technology previously assisted in the redistricting of the three Mobile County Commission districts in 2011, five Mobile County School Board districts in 2011 and 2013 and Mobile’s voting precincts in 2011 and 2014.
Carey’s proposed work for the city of Daphne would include updating the current city limit and council district boundaries, establishing population statistics for city council districts and changing political boundaries to even population within city council districts. The work is expected to take three to seven months.