HIGH SPRINGS – Within 20 minutes of the start of the Nov. 29 High Springs City Commission meeting, commissioners had completed the process of annexing more than 100 acres of land into the city.

Each annexation was petitioned by the property owner and included a 58-acre parcel on which the owners, Phillip and Janice Hawley, plan to begin the year-long process of seeking approval to develop a subdivision.

“Some of these annexations were originally submitted during the time the Boundary Adjustment Act was in place,” said City Manager Ed Booth. “It was doubtful some would be approved by the County at that time, so the owners' requests were put on hold.”

When Booth was hired by the City of High Springs, he and staff members went through city records and discovered some requested annexations that were never completed for a variety of reasons. Since that time some of the property owners have withdrawn their annexation requests while others opted to pursue annexation.

Addressing the lack of progress in this area until recently Booth replied, “There were so many other issues to tackle with much higher priority earlier in my tenure. Now that some of those items have been addressed, we were able to turn our focus to this issue.”

Assistant City Attorney Courtney Johnson has contacted each property owner to determine the owners' current intentions and the City has worked with North Central Florida Regional Planning Council to move citizens' requests forward.

“This is the culmination of all that work,” said Booth, “and we're delighted to see the citizens' requests approved by our commission.”

In addition to the Hawley’s 58-acre parcel, other property owners have annexed much smaller parcels. Charlotte R. Ponzio annexed 23.37 acres, Craig P. Hawley annexed 18.04 acres, James F. and Julia D. Jones annexed 2.89 acres and Andrew and Katherine Weitz annexed 6.21 acres. All five annexations together total 108.41 acres.

Within the next 10 years, Booth estimates the city will double in size. “We are at about 6,000 now. We could easily be at a population of 10,000 within the next 10 years,” he said. “We need to be careful how we grow during this period to make sure we have the infrastructure in place for the type of growth we are expecting.”

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