Probate judge approves Saddle Lake petition, sets July election

The Shelby County Probate Judge's has set a July election for Saddle Lake Farms residents to decide if they will annex into Alabaster. (File)

The Shelby County Probate Judge’s has set a July election for Saddle Lake Farms residents to decide if they will annex into Alabaster. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Residents in the Saddle Lake Farms subdivision will decide on July 29 if the neighborhood will annex into the city of Alabaster after Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister approved a petition to call the election on June 25.

In his June 25 order, Fuhrmeister accepted the petition, which was the second one submitted by Saddle Lake residents who wish to annex into the city, and ordered the election be held from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on July 29.

The election will be held at the residence of Judy Dolce at 100 Saddle Lake Drive, and will be open to all Saddle Lake residents who have been living in the neighborhood for at least three months before the election date.

The petition was the second Fuhrmeister had received from some Saddle Lake Farms residents requesting annexation into Alabaster. In May, Fuhrmeister ruled the original Saddle Lake petition did not have enough signatures to allow him to set an election on the matter.

During its June 9 meeting, the Alabaster City Council voted unanimously to accept the second petition and send it to Fuhrmeister for review. Alabaster City Attorney Jeff Brumlow claimed the second petition had more than the required number of signatures to gain Fuhrmeister’s approval.

“The persons, firms or corporations owning at least 60 percent of the acreage of the territory have signified their consent by signing the petition filed with the current resolution,” Fuhrmeister wrote in his June 25 order.

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 has sparked debate among Saddle Lake residents over the past several months, 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.

“There have been no legal filings against the proposed annexation, but some interested persons have communicated their objections by email transmission addressed to the court, and are in the court’s file,” Fuhrmeister wrote in the June 25 order.