The Adel City Council was set to have a public hearing at the A-D-M High School Auditorium on Tuesday regarding the proposed annexation of about 1,000 acres south of town into the City of Adel. Suddenly on Tuesday afternoon, however, the city announced that the public hearing had been canceled.
On Monday, the city staff received a letter from Tim and Jodi Forrett, who own about 130 acres of land in the proposed area. The letter said that they were withdrawing their application for voluntary annexation, which effectively ended the proposed annexation, as efforts by council will have to stop at this point.
Adel City Administrator, Anthony Brown, said that the Forretts didn’t give a reason for the withdrawal of their application.
The withdrawal of the Forretts’ voluntary annexation application put the amount of land to be involuntarily annexed above 20 percent, so it would no longer be an 80/20 voluntary annexation, according Brown. However, Brown said that that was not the main issue.
“The main thing is that we had advertised… sent mailings showing the map, showing who was consenting and not consenting,” Brown said, “and now that’s changed. If the council were to proceed with doing something differently, we would have to go back to square one and start over.
“So effectively, we pulled it because it wasn’t the same that we had been going on.”
Even though the public hearing was canceled, the Adel City Council still held their meeting in the A-D-M High School Auditorium as posted. Before the meeting started, Adel Mayor Jim Peters stated that he and the council were “surprised” by the proposed annexation falling through before the public hearing.
Peters said that the city received the letter from the Forretts “pretty late” in the time frame leading up to the meeting on Tuesday night.
“It was dated on Friday and I understand we received the letter at City Hall on Monday, which, you know, is a day before the scheduled public hearing,” Peters said.
“My understand from our attorney, Dan Manning, is that once they withdrew, then the annexation, the public hearing, any action, it just can’t happen, because the annexation, as proposed, doesn’t exist anymore,” Peters said.
Peters mentioned the opposition that the proposed annexation had faced and said he doesn’t believe that annexation will be coming back up soon.
“The city was facing some headwinds in terms of, the county didn’t put their support behind it, the school had expressed some concerns about growth… there was some vocal and written resistance to the 80/20 voluntary annexation,” Peters said.
“So, I doubt that this council will take up annexation again, at least this year, and I can’t say for future years.”
Whether she would have voted for the annexation or not, councilwoman Rebecca Hillmer said that she was disappointed that the public didn’t even get a public hearing on the issue after spending so much of their time and resources on it.
When Peters announced to the crowd that had gathered in the auditorium, despite the public hearing cancellation, why the public hearing had been canceled and that he doesn’t believe the council will bring annexation up again anytime soon, the crowd broke into a brief applause.