Annexations tabled while Madison City Council explores curbing growth

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT)-- While the city of Madison is dealing with the fire chief's retirement and city council members disagreeing with the mayor, there's another issue affecting home buyers and sellers that they must address. The city school system is asking for residential annexations to be halted while they handle a funding problem.

School board members say the schools are becoming overcrowded and there isn't enough money to build a new school and eliminate the issue. They passed a resolution asking the city council to stop annexation and rezoning of residential property until a solution can be found. Some of that may involve Limestone County, with which Madison is involved in a funding clash.

Council members voted to table residential annexations on Monday's meeting agenda in order to explore the issue at Wednesday's work session.

But that war over annexation is bad news on the home front for developers, like Dan Nash, who has projects that hinge on annexation.

"It's tough to do my job and what I do for a living when the rules change in the middle of the game," he said.

A realtor also spoke to the council, saying, "They have contracts on homes to move into. They have rented storage buildings and moved all their possessions into those, they're living out of boxes right now."

When council members voted to table residential annexations, it affected that contract, breaking the timeline. It's those people who are caught in the middle of this greater discussion.

It's one that will continue into the next council meeting and also the Wednesday work session.

But some council members, like council president Tim Holcombe, are unsure stalling annexation is going to solve the growth problem. He says Madison has plenty of room to grow within its current borders, even without adding more land into the mix.

"We can continue to build for another five to seven years and still have another 12,000 houses coming to us," he said. "Totally stopping annexation probably isn't the answer."

Holcombe said there were 1920 acres of undeveloped land in Madison-annexed Limestone County, and another 415 acres in Madison-annexed Madison County. He said many lots are already in the building process, and that can't be stopped. There are 145 pending applications for annexing and zoning right now. He believes this growth means annexation won't fix the problem.

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