Saddle Lake annexation election moving forward

Residents in the Saddle Lake Farms subdivision will decide in late June or early July if they will annex into the city of Alabaster. (File)

Residents in the Saddle Lake Farms subdivision will decide in late June or early July if they will annex into the city of Alabaster. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Residents in the Saddle Lake Farms subdivision will decide in late June or early July if they will annex into Alabaster after the Alabaster City Council approved the subdivision’s annexation petition.

The council voted unanimously during its May 1 meeting to approve the petition, which will be “hand-delivered” to Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister, according to Alabaster City Attorney Jeff Brumlow.

Brumlow said Fuhrmeister likely will set the neighborhood election for “the last week in June or the first week in July.”

If the neighborhood’s residents vote to annex into the city, the neighborhood will no longer be in unincorporated Shelby County, and will be zoned for the Alabaster City School System.

If Saddle Lake is not in Alabaster city limits for the upcoming school year, some students in the neighborhood would be rezoned for Columbiana schools as a result of separation negotiations between the Alabaster and Shelby County school systems.

The annexation issue sparked debate among Saddle Lake residents in March, as some said they want to annex into Alabaster to be a part of the Alabaster City School System and others said they do not want to annex for financial and taxation reasons.

The Alabama Legislature during its 2014 session cleared the way for Saddle Lake residents to petition the city for annexation by voting to annex an about 40-acre piece of property adjacent to Saddle Lake Farms into Alabaster, making the neighborhood contiguous to Alabaster city limits.

On March 20, the Shelby County House of Representatives delegation, which consists of Reps. Mary Sue McClurkin, April Weaver, Jim Cairns, Mike Hill, Jim McClendon and Kurt Wallace, issued a letter stating they decided to support the bill so Saddle Lake children would not see changes in school zoning for the 2014-2015 school year.