FAIRMONT — State Rep. Garland Pierce has filed a voluntary satellite annexation bill for Fairmont that the town manager says is important to the growth of that community.
Town Manager Katrina Tatum said that Fairmont wants to annex almost 350 acres at the intersection of Interstate 95 and Chicken Road.
“It is vital to our economic development efforts,” Tatum said.
Pierce filed the local bill on Jan. 25 and the next day it was referred to the Committee on State and Local Government for review and further action.
Pierce said earlier this week that voluntary annexation bills like the one proposed for Fairmont usually are approved by legislators and he does not expect the bill to face opposition.
If approved, the annexation would become effective June 30 of this year.
The two lots, located approximately four miles out of the town’s jurisdiction, encompass about 348 acres. A 141.88-acre tract is owned by Luther Barnes and others, while a 207.62-acre tract is owned by Sara L. Fox.
Mayor Charles Townsend told Pierce in a letter that Fairmont’s Board of Commissioners had voted unanimously on March 29, 2016, to support the annexation. A public hearing on the proposal was held on June 27, 2016, during which there was no opposition, Townsend said.
Tatum told The Robesonian earlier this week that proposals were already under consideration by property owners and others about how the property could be used. According to Tatum, plans for use of the property include: location for a truck stop; site of a hotel; and an office building.
Tatum said that she had hoped the bill would have been voted on in both the state House and Senate during last year’s short legislative session, but the deadline was missed. She said former Sen. Jane Smith said she had encountered opposition.
“She said she didn’t file the bill because she had met with some opposition from someone in government,” Tatum said. “But when I asked who was opposing the annexation so I could speak with them she refused to tell me. To this day, I don’t know who opposed it.”
Tatum said that she recently contacted all of the House members and newly elected Republican Sen. Danny Britt and supplied them with all of the information concerning the annexation process.
After reviewing the proposal, Pierce, the senior member of five-member legislative delegation, introduced the bill in the House. If approved, it would then go to the Senate.
Pierce said earlier this week that he does not know when the bill will be heard by the Committee on State and Local Government.
Pierce is a Democrat from Wagram.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.