Warner Robins sues Byron over disputed annex and service agreement

chwright@macon.comOctober 8, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A yearslong dispute between Warner Robins and Byron has landed in Peach County Superior Court.

According to a 53-page lawsuit, the city of Warner Robins asks the court to require Byron to de-annex -- and never again re-annex -- land west of Interstate 75 that Warner Robins services under a 1996 agreement.

“In annexing the property within the Warner Robins service area, Byron has deprived Warner Robins of the opportunity to annex that property or collect fees for the use of its water and wastewater service systems,” the lawsuit, filed Friday, states.

The lawsuit lists the city of Byron, Mayor Larry Collins, the five Byron council members, property owners Bob Holcomb and Associates Inc., Shree Hari Properties LLC and SunMark Community Bank -- which holds interest in property questioned in the lawsuit -- as defendants.

The defendants have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.

The cities agreed in 1996 that Warner Robins would service some land west of the interstate to help reduce the capacity load on Byron’s wastewater systems.

Byron, under the agreement, would de-annex any land in that area and allow Warner Robins to annex it.

The agreement also stated Warner Robins would attempt to annex no further west or north of the property listed.

“Warner Robins has spent nearly one million dollars in public funds to build the wastewater infrastructure so as to be able to service the properties within the Agreement’s ‘annexable zone,’ ” the lawsuit states.

In January 2009, the agreement was amended to give a more detailed description of the “annexable zone.”

In September 2009, Byron annexed 14 acres in the agreement area, the lawsuit alleges.

The cities have been haggling over the annex and service dispute for at least two years, and in March 2012 Warner Robins officials told The Telegraph the issue would soon be resolved.

“Demand has been made upon Byron numerous times to resolve the dispute by abiding by and performing its obligations under the Agreement,” the lawsuit states. “To date, Byron has failed to comply.”

Byron City Attorney Joan Harris said she had not yet been informed of or seen the lawsuit.

A McDonough attorney for the city of Warner Robins did not return calls for comment.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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