A nearly 10 acre tract of land just outside city limits could officially join Sherman by the end of next month.

The Sherman City Council recently approved an annexation schedule for the 9.758 acres of land that are part of a larger 30 lot subdivision that is partially inside the city limits. As part of the schedule, the council will hold both legally required public hearings on the proposed annexation during its Feb. 18 meeting.

“You have to have two public hearings — they can be no more than 40 days from the action, but no closer than 20 days,” City Attorney Brandon Shelby said of the official annexation ordinance that is scheduled for the council’s March 18 meeting. “Normally we try to put those on regular council meetings, but there’s nothing in state law that precludes us from having both hearings at the same meeting and that would prevent us from having to call a special meeting for this annexation, which is voluntary and requested.”

Director of Engineering Clint Philpott explained the annexation was requested by Washington Bend LLC.

“They are the current owners and developers of what looks to be a 30 lot subdivision along Washington Street, just north of Timbercreek Road,” Philpott said. “The total development is 22 acres, about 10 of those acres are not within the city, so they requested to be annexed in so they could continue to develop that entire property.”

In a document prepared for the council, city staff wrote the annexation likely would not “elicit objection,” but council member Sandra Melton asked about holding both public hearings in the same meeting instead of different meetings, as the city has done for past annexations.

“I’m kind of concerned about the public hearings,” Melton said. “Isn’t there a reason for a public hearing?”

Council member Josh Stevenson pointed out there are currently no residents in the area to be annexed. Shelby explained this will be the first time for Sherman to hold both public hearings in one meeting but said after the meeting that, to his knowledge, it will not be the city’s policy going forward.

“In this case, it’s one property owner — I mean literally he is 100 percent of the people in the area,” City Manager Robby Hefton said.

The city manager said there have been two main reasons Sherman has annexed property in the past.

“One is at the initiation of property owners, which is what this is,” Hefton said. “The other is in larger groups, like we did Preston Club, where there had to be approval and a petition process. In that sense, it’s still considered voluntary if enough people sign the petition.”

In May 2017, the council approved the annexation of 459.6 acres of land, including Preston Club Estates, into the city. 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 a petition requesting the annexation. Sherman officials said the annexation request was spurred by homeowners’ need for assistance with their water and sewer system.

“Most of the time, the annexations we’ve done are because people request it, but there’s times when we go out and it makes sense for growth to initiate it on our side,” Hefton said of the other reason Sherman has done annexations. “From our standpoint, this one is adjacent to development and city limits on multiple sides, so it made sense to do that.”

If the annexation is ultimately approved by the council, the residents in the proposed subdivision would have access to municipal services such as police and fire protection, solid waste collection and construction inspections, among others.