Warner Robins Council says future annexations likely to slow down

WARNER ROBINS -- Nearly all the land Warner Robins is able to annex under current state laws and service delivery covenants will soon be part of the city, pending a City Council vote, Mayor Chuck Shaheen said Monday.

“It shows this council is progressive in expanding our sewer lines and our revenue,” Shaheen said.

The 79 properties were discussed as part of a packed evening of items in a precouncil session and a regular council meeting. (See below for a map of the proposed annexations.)

The City Council has annexed more than 500 properties during the past year in an attempt to round up properties located within its boundaries, a project Councilman Paul Shealy has led.

Shealy said the parcels considered Monday are in areas where the city will soon extend water and sewer lines.

“These are some that have been coming up,” he said. “It comes up now because developers have asked us to extend those services to those properties to help them develop those areas.”

The four clusters of properties are at Watson Boulevard and Carl Vinson Parkway, along Corder Road between Russell Parkway and Watson Boulevard, along South Kimberly Drive, and at Feagin Mill Road and Moody Road.

No property owners spoke Monday. And Sherri Windham, who oversees the city’s Planning & Zoning Board, said none had contacted her office.

The Planning & Zoning Board will vote on the zoning -- mostly commercial with some residential -- of each property Aug. 14. The City Council is expected to vote at its next meeting.

Shaheen said the annexations from last year were part of Warner Robins’ success in becoming the sixth fastest-growing metropolitan area in the nation, according to U.S. Census numbers released in April.

“A lot of that had to do with the vision of this mayor and council,” Shaheen said. “We were able to balance the budget this year without any tax increases because those properties (annexed last year) were on the tax digest.”

Shealy said that after the 79 properties are annexed, the annexations of many properties at once likely will slow down.

There are still pockets of county land within the city’s limits, including a very large one on the city’s west side. Those cannot be annexed because most are whole subdivisions that don’t have city sewer and they maintain their own roads.

“These are low-hanging fruit, so to speak,” Shaheen said.

Shealy said there are still some outlying properties receiving city services. Shealy added that even islands -- unincorporated areas of Houston County -- within the city borders that don’t receive water and sewer ultimately benefit from city services, if only street resurfacing.

The council also approved de-annexation of six properties and a $27.8 million contract for the Sandy Run Wastewater Treatment plant.

The contract for the treatment plant expansion is less than the $28.5 million early estimates, for which the City Council issued bonds earlier this year.

Project Manager Marianne Gomez said the project should begin by the end of the year.

“Due diligence has been done on this project,” said Councilman Mike Daley.

The properties council de-annexed Monday along Golden Eagle Drive were part of a batch of 417 properties annexed at one time last year. City Attorney Jim Elliott said while preparing for tax bills of the newly annexed properties, he noticed the properties weren’t connected to any city services and therefore could not be annexed under the same covenants as the others.

Elliott said nothing changed for those residents, who never contacted the city with concerns about their annexations.

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

View Warner Robins annexation islands in a larger map