Dandridge Council Moves Question of Annexation to Planning Commission for Recommendation

The Town of Dandridge Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously voted to send a request for annexation into Dandridge to the Dandridge Planning Commission for recommendation. The request for annexation was brought by the Darrell and Lori Miller who are currently the owners of Bootleggers Distillery in Hartford, Tn. The Millers purchased an expanse of land outside the town limits and have requested to be annexed into the town largely for the purpose of sewer availability. While a definitive plan is not yet in place for the property and a best land use has not been determined, the Millers have the intention of a commercial use for the property. Lori Miller stated that she would like to see a distillery, wedding venue and the possibility of a hotel on the property but, according to Darrell Miller, they are waiting to see if they will have town sewer access before proceeding to get a professional best land use plan.

While the initial request for annexation brought protest from some in neighboring areas both inside and outside the town limits, and there had been an opposition presence at previous meetings, no one in the audience spoke against the annexation request. The Millers have the ability to have a commercial venture on the property as it currently sits in the county, with or without annexation. Shady Grove Utility will be providing the water for any development on the property as it sits in their district of coverage, therefore Dandridge would make no proceeds from the sale of water. Property tax and sales tax, with a minimum charge for sewer would be the only revenue generating aspects of the annexation. With the few sure means of financial recovery for annexation off of the table and the land use ( and potential sales tax revenue and property tax increase) still up in the air, Board Member Kesterson cautioned that the Board must consider if annexation is a good financial move for the town, regardless of any potential ties to the issue. Alderman Depew requested confirmation that the cost incurred to run the sewer would be the responsibility of the requestors. Town Administrator Matt Rudder stated that should the annexation be postponed the town would have to wait 15 years to collect the full amount of sales tax ( split with schools) and would only receive the increase in sales tax over the base at the time of annexation. He also informed the Board that the agenda item at hand was to refer or not to refer the issue to the Planning Commission for further review and recommendation. Referral would not stand as a recommendation from the Board but simply as the next step in the process to the consideration of annexation. With a Motion from Board Member Elder and 2nd from Reese the Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously voted to send the issue to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation. The item will then come back to the Board, with a recommendation from the Commission, for action.

Source: K. Depew, News Director