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FARMINGTON -- Rausch Coleman Homes is "pulling the plug" on a request for Farmington land to be detached and then annexed by the city of Prairie Grove for a new residential subdivision, according to an email to Prairie Grove officials.

Prairie Grove City Council approved an ordinance at its July 15 meeting to detach 27 acres from Farmington and then annex that land into Prairie Grove. The title of the proposal is the 2019 Barker Detachment and Annexation Ordinance.

The annexation ordinance, however, could not take effect unless the Farmington City Council approved its own ordinance to detach the land and allow the annexation to move forward.

In July, City Attorney Steven Parker told City Council members Rausch Coleman was interested in purchasing and developing land behind David Rose Gun Shop on U.S. Highway 62. Of this land, 27 acres is in Farmington and about 12 acres is in Prairie Grove.

Parker said Rausch Coleman preferred to deal with only one city when developing the property and wanted to connect the houses to the Valley View sewer system, which is in the process of becoming a customer of Prairie Grove's wastewater system. Prairie Grove officials told Rausch Coleman the subdivision had to be in Prairie Grove city limits to get sewer service from the city.

Parker received an Aug. 20 email from Josh Carson, Rausch Coleman's executive vice president and general counsel, that said the company was having problems working out details for a development, such as utilities, and also did not want to "cause any riff" between Prairie Grove and Farmington.

Carson wrote, "so I am told we are terminating this week and pulling the plug. No need to proceed. Thank you for all of your help with this and sorry we couldn't make it work."

Farmington Mayor Ernie Penn first learned about the detachment-annexation ordinance from an article in the Enterprise-Leader on July 24. He was not happy about it, he said at the time, because no one called to give him a heads-up about the proposal.

Friday, Penn said a decision to detach land would have been the council's to make.

"You have to look at it from the standpoint of what's your benefits going to be," Penn said.

For instance, he said if the land was annexed by Prairie Grove, Farmington would lose property tax revenues from the houses but at the same time, most of those residents probably would have shopped in Farmington, paying the Farmington city sales tax on purchases, Penn said.

Another factor to consider, he said, is that Farmington owns and maintains the streets that would have been adjacent to the proposed subdivision.

"We don't necessarily want to lose any more land to de-annexation but it's an analytical decision. What's it going to cost us?"

He added, "There's going to be plenty of other developments in that area."

Prairie Grove did not have an opinion one way or the other about the annexation, according to Mayor Sonny Hudson. He said last week that Prairie Grove was just doing its part for the annexation to happen and then was going to let Farmington make the final decision.

General News on 09/11/2019

Print Headline: Rausch Coleman Withdraws Annexation Proposal

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