The Huntsville City Council voted 7-2 on Tuesday to approve the annexation of over 7,600 acres despite threats of litigation. The city grew by almost 12 square miles from seven different areas, an increase of over 30%.
The city council has considered annexation to grow the city for years but decided to act quickly this year after House Bill 347 started moving forward in the Texas Legislature. HB 347 makes annexation virtually impossible without the landowner’s consent.
Under HB 347 any city that wanted to annex property without landowner consent must submit and adopt an annexation resolution prior to the effective date of May 24.
The Huntsville City Council adopted Huntsville’s city annexation resolution on May 21, just three days before the bill came into effect.
Attorney Bret L. Strong, who represents the landowners opposed to annexation said, “As you are hopefully aware, and hopefully council has advised you, we filed suit against the city to stop this annexation, which we believe is not only illegal, but poorly designated.”
Councilmember Paul Davidhizar spoke passionately in support of the city’s annexation plan.
“30% [of Huntsville’s] property inside the city limits is state property,” Davidhizar said. “We have five prisons and a major university. 30% of our property in the city limits, we can’t collect any tax on.”
After the city approved the annexation ordinances, Attorney Bret L. Strong said, “We’ll see you in court.”
City council meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month and all meetings are open to the public.