City annexes businesses
Published 4:23 pm Wednesday, March 3, 2004
By By Chuck Bodiford Publisher
When the city of Atmore annexed property near I-65 to create an industrial park, it did more than annex stands of pine trees.
Two local businesses were included within the new city limits, and two more businesses fell within the city's expanded police jurisdiction.
The Atmore Campus of Jefferson Davis Community College was also included in the new city limits, which now stretch beyond I-65.
The only location out of the five to ask to be included in the expanded city was the college.
For most of the other businesses north of town, it was a surprise when they received notices from the city recently that they were to apply for business licenses and start paying city sales taxes.
Chris Terry, who owns Terry's Corner Store with his father Joe, said he was assured the city wold not annex the businesses along S.R. 21.
Mayor Howard Shell said the city never made such assurances when it bought and annexed the property for an industrial park.
The new lines skirt Terry's Corner Store and Royal Oaks Bed and Breakfast, but take in Best Western and Creek Family Restaurant, R.J.'s Interstate Fuel Stop and Atmore BP.
Shell did say in a 2003 interview with the Atmore Advance that the city had no intention of annexing any residential areas, and none were annexed, though several residential areas now fall within the city's police jurisdiction.
Terry said he has heard from other businesses in the area who were not expecting to be taken into the city limits and are just as upset as he is.
Terry said he believes the city violated the state constitution with its annexation, but legal representatives have maintained that the city acted legally. Still, Terry said he is considering taking legal action.
"I don't want to be part of the city, and most of these other places don't either," Terry said. "If I buy property in the city, I can't do what I want with it, but the city can buy property and do whatever it wants, regardless."