TIFTON — Tifton City Council came to a decision on the longstanding Carrington Drexler annexation issue, but of the two applications received, only one was approved.
City Council voted 4-1 to approve annexation and rezoning of the Boyd property, while the motions to annex and rezone the Carrington property were denied 3-2.
Suggested by Beltline Energy, the annexation would be a two-pronged process of annexing more than 130 combined acres on Carrington Drexler Road, then rezoning it from county R-1 to city suburban agriculture.
The larger project actually consists of two individual annexations, one annexing and rezoning two tracts of land of 10.82 and 29.294 acres, referred to collectively as the Carrington property, the other being another two tracts measuring 96.317 acres combined, referred to as the Boyd property.
If the city annexed and rezoned these tracts, Beltline would be allowed to place solar farms on them, which Ryan Sanders, a representative of Beltline, claimed would result in up to a $25 million economic impact on the City of Tifton.
Tifton residents and Carrington Drexler Road property owners were present at the meeting. Some spoke in favor of annexation while just as many opposed it.
Jeff, Julia and John Walters, co-owners of a property north of the Boyd Property, spoke in favor of the annexation, believing it would result in excellent tax revenue for Tifton.
Dustin Griffin said he worried the installation of solar farms would make it difficult to sell the land, while Mike Drexler cited concerns about environmental hazards he expressed at previous meetings.
Ned McGinnis, a newer Tifton resident, said he purchased property on Carrington Drexler Road eight months ago with the intent to retire there. He added that he fears further development on the land would completely undermine his intent to move there.
City Attorney Rob Wilmot informed City Council of the letter sent by the Tift County Commission, outlining its objections with the city moving forward with the annexation. Commissioners claimed they did not receive adequate time to be informed.
However, Wilmot said the county seems to only have an issue with the Carrington property, with no objections raised regarding the Boyd property annexation.