Sherman may soon grow by more than 450 acres near the intersection of Highway 289 and Highway 82.
The Sherman City Council recently held the second public hearing on the annexation of 459.6 acres of land on Preston Club Drive into the city. No one from the public came forward to speak during the public hearing.
“We talk a lot about Sherman growing and we’re annexing nearly 500 acres into our community, so that’s a lot of folks we’re bringing in,” Mayor David Plyler said. “We are growing. And I’m looking forward to future growth.”
In a document provided to the council, city staff noted 78 percent of the property owners for the 331 individual tracts of land in the area signed the petition requesting the annexation. City staff previously said the annexation request was spurred by homeowners’ need for assistance with their water and sewer system.
When the annexation schedule was presented to the council in March, it also approved an engineering contract with Freeman-Millican Inc. for the design of sewer main revisions, lift station construction and force main construction to serve the Preston Club area and the northwest portion of the city.
“There’s one more final action that will be taken in a special called meeting on May 22,” City Manager Robby Hefton said.
The special council meeting will consist of a public hearing on the official annexation ordinance and then the council will consider that ordinance for adoption.
“We’ll probably have a noon meeting that will last about — it will take you longer to drive here than it will for the meeting to happen,” Hefton said to the council. “But that will be our final action on May 22. This is just an opportunity for anybody interested in the public to speak to this issue.”
In a document prepared for the city council, city staff explained to provide proper sewer service to the Preston Club area, improvements such as gravity sewer mains, a lift station and force main will need to be constructed to transport the area’s wastewater to Sherman’s collection system. While the engineering services are going to cost the city $194,000, Hefton estimated the whole project will be in the range of around $2 million.
City staff said the planned improvements will eliminate Preston Club’s need for an on-site wastewater plant and will provide wastewater services to the subdivision and the surrounding areas.
During a discussion about adding personnel to city staff at the council’s budget planning meeting in April, Hefton said the Preston Club annexation is an example of staff members taking on more duties without the city having to hire additional personnel.
“We’ve asked them to do more with less,” Hefton said. “We’re going to be picking up trash at Preston Club here, likely, in the next six weeks. We’re not adding any staff in the next six weeks — we’re going to have to make due for a little bit with what we have and that’s going to be a little bit of a strain because that’s way out there.”
Public Works Manager Kevin Winkler said the trip to Preston Club would be a 22-mile round trip for the city’s solid waste services personnel.
“We take our trash out to the Sadler-Whitesboro area to the landfill,” Hefton said. “With where Preston Club is it may literally be closer to Whitesboro than it is to our south plant back in Sherman. From a time standpoint, it probably is for sure. Mileage wise, it may be about a push.”
Hefton said the addition of city services, such as trash pickup and animal control in that area can put a strain on the city’s current employees.
“All of these things put pressure on the city to be able to continue delivering services,” Hefton said, bringing the conversation back to talk of adding additional employees. “We want to do it in the right way and in a way that minimizes the impact to the taxpayers, which is why we do it only when we need it.”
If approved, the annexation will be the first major expansion by the city in over a year. Over three months in late 2015 and early 2016, Sherman expanded by about 470 acres. In December 2015, Sherman brought 186.244 acres of land — including Lamberth Road Estates, Carriage House Estates, Shady Oaks Subdivision and various unplatted tracts on Montclaire Drive — into the city limits. Then in March of last year, Sherman annexed approximately 274 acres along Friendship Road and Highway 56.