All in: Judge OKs Saddle Lake annexation

Published 9:48 am Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Saddle Lake Farms residents view results of a July 29 annexation vote in the neighborhood. (File)

Saddle Lake Farms residents view results of a July 29 annexation vote in the neighborhood. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – All residents in the Saddle Lake Farms subdivision are now officially citizens of Alabaster after Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister signed an annexation order on Aug. 8.

As a result of Fuhrmeister’s order, the about 450 residents in the neighborhood are residents of a city for the first time. Fuhrmeister’s order came about a week-and-a-half after the neighborhood’s residents voted 210-54 in favor of annexing into Alabaster during a July 29 election.

The annexation means the neighborhood is now zoned for the Alabaster City School System starting with the upcoming school year. If Saddle Lake hadn’t annexed into the city, some students in the neighborhood would have been rezoned for Columbiana schools as a result of separation negotiations between the Alabaster and Shelby County school systems.

With the annexation also comes some changes in services for the neighborhood’s residents. The neighborhood will be covered by the Alabaster police and fire departments, rather than the Saginaw Volunteer Fire Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Alabaster will not assume maintenance of the neighborhood’s roadways, however, as Saddle Lake Farms is legally a condominium complex. Because of the neighborhood’s legal status, Saddle Lake’s roads are part-owned by every resident in the subdivision, and are maintained by homeowners’ dues.

Because Saddle Lake has been connected to the Alabaster water system for several years, the neighborhood’s water provider will not change. No city sewer line currently connects to the neighborhood, so residents will not be required to connect to the city’s sewer system, city leaders said previously.

The July 29 vote came after Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister approved a petition – the second one submitted to the Probate Court by Saddle Lake homeowners – to call the election. In May, Fuhrmeister ruled the original Saddle Lake petition did not have enough signatures to allow him to set an election on the matter.