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Back on track: Sebastian annexation could be back on City Council agenda in December

BusinessBack on track: Sebastian annexation could be back on City Council agenda in December

SEBASTIAN — On Aug. 24, the City Council decided to slow consideration of the 1,984-acre Graves Brothers annexation application. Two days later, the council reversed itself and voted to put the process back on track.

After realizing the go-slow timetable — adopted so the city’s new land-use attorney could get up to speed — wouldn’t have the issue coming to a final vote until Dec. 14, the council voted 4-1 Friday to reverse course and move the legal process forward.

Councilman Bob McPartlan voted no, arguing the city needs more time to draft the annexation agreement.

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Mayor Jim Hill called Friday’s meeting to assure Graves Brothers the city still was in favor of the annexation, which got first-reading approval May 25.

“I have not spoken with the owner, but the city of Sebastian has already determined that we are going to go forward,” said Hill. “After that meeting in May, we gave the city manager instructions to go forward. We originally set a date for Sept. 13 but the workshops we held for the public took time, and it was impossible to get it before Planning and Zoning (Commission) prior to that meeting.”

The commission is set to consider a Comprehensive Plan amendment — addressing the potential annexation — Sept. 15 and make its recommendation to the City Council. The council then has a comp-plan public hearing scheduled Oct. 12.

After a 30-day state review, the council on Dec. 14 is to first take its final vote on the annexation and, if it passes, then vote on comp-plan changes that would apply to the newly annexed property.

Hill, who will be off the council by that time, said it’s important to keep the annexation process moving. He believes there is still plenty of time between September and December to get input from all parties and have a strong annexation agreement in place.

“Any further delays could cost the city,” said Hill. “If there’s no end in sight, what is the landowner supposed to do?  If we want to go forward with annexation, why would we want to take a gamble?”

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