James Bright, Managing Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chickasha City Council, in a 6-1 decision last night, voted not to de-annex property behind Morris Motorsports, ending any chance of owner Mark Morris building a temporary RV park on the lot.
"Chickasha sells people property and then holds them ransom," Morris said after the vote.
Morris Motorsports General Manager Steve Danieley said building in the city limits would cost the company an additional $385,000 more than what they initially budgeted for, which would scrap the construction.
"We can't move forward with it now," said Morris. "The project is done."
Morris pleaded with the council during the meeting to do the right thing and vote to de-annex, stating he'd been told months before that the property in question belonged to the county.
Morris said he spoke with City Manager Stuart Fairburn late in 2012, who told him his construction plans wouldn't concern Chickasha, since the property sat on Grady County land.
"When I went to him, he said 'Absolutely, go ahead and build it,'" Morris said of Fairburn.
After further review, Morris noticed the construction would cross a 300-foot strip of frontage road that belonged to Chickasha. He said he spoke with Fairburn again who told him in light of the new information, Morris would need the land to be de-annexed before building.
"This is someone who is supposed to represent the city," said Morris. "If that's not good enough, who are people supposed to talk to in Chickasha?"
Located at 4400 S 4th St., Morris Motorsports sits on the southern border of Chickasha, and the original interpretation came from a 1996 map that showed the 300 foot strip as the dividing line between the city and the county.
Fairburn said he traveled to Morris Motorsports last year, where he was shown a map of the property by Morris. The map, which Morris printed from the city's site, was not up-to-date, according to Fairburn, who said he then gave Morris several options on how to continue the construction, aside from de-annexation.
"I wasn't just jumping up and down saying you have to de-annex," said Fairburn.
City Council Member Howard Carpenter was the lone dissenting vote. Carpenter said he did not like the language of Option 4, which involved voting against de-annexation instead of voting for it.
The extra cost that comes with building in the city is from ordinances detailing issues such as proper water, sewer and road construction, said Mayor Hank Ross in a previous interview with The Express-Star.
"Other RV parks in the city have paid these costs," Ross said.
Danieley said he and Morris planned to put permanent housing on the property if de-annexed, and look to be re-annexed in three to four years.