Airport annexed into city; Ordinance passes by 3-2 vote

Published 10:50 am Thursday, February 17, 2022

The Danville City Commission passed the second reading of an ordinance to annex the Danville-Boyle County Airport and several nearby homes at their meeting on Monday.

The ordinance to annex approximately 583 acres passed by one vote. Commissioners voted the same as in the first reading. Commissioners Jennie Hollon and Kevin Caudill voted no. Mayor Mike Perros and Commissioners Denise Terry and J.H. Atkins voted yes.

The passing comes after much deliberation and public hearing at previous meetings. The airport board stated that they were uniformly against annexation. In a Boyle County Fiscal Court meeting on Feb. 8, magistrates spoke against the annexation.

Commissioners have said that the goal of annexation is economic development. Marshall Wilt, member of the airport board, said before the vote, “Why does the city envision economic development that requires the airport to be annexed? We have asked this question several times, the answers in my mind are vague and unconvincing; many of our tenants share this feeling.”

Other members of the airport board expressed concerns in previous meetings about the city’s interest and involvement in the airport.

City Attorney Stephen Dexter emphasized that annexation simply means extension to the city’s service boundary. Annexed properties now have access to the city’s water and sewer rates, garbage pickup, police and fire protection, and other city services.

“To the extent that it affects the airport board, I would say it does not affect them whatsoever in regards to the annexation of the airport; annexation has nothing to do with operations,” Dexter said. “To the extent that it affects the county, I don’t see any negative impact to the county whatsoever within that area.”

Hollon remarked that she was not happy with how the annexation process went and had hoped for more collaboration with the airport board.

Atkins said he voted in accordance with what is best for his constituents.

“For the record, there has not been any issue before this commission that I can recall in my tenure that has allowed this much public comment, input, or transparency,” Dexter said. “People might not like the process, but this is what it is by law. Conversations on issues of this particular matter of public importance and purpose are designed by law in our constitution to occur in this chamber.”

He continued, “When we say we have issue with process, I take some angst at that, only because we have afforded more opportunities in this case than ever before on any particular issue, out of great respect and deference to the public and the input that people wish to give, which is what the government should do.”

Terry thanked the public for their input and for taking the time to answer commissioners’ questions throughout the process.

In other business, the city commission:
• Approved the second reading of ordinance number 1988 to change the zone for approx. 56 acres at 0 S. Danville Bypass from agriculture to multi-family residential and highway business.

• Appointed Kathy Fuqua to the cemetery committee. Her term will expire March 1, 2025.

• Appointed Gary Nogle, an architect, to the architectural heritage board.

• Appointed Ella Johnson to the human rights commission; her term will expire Feb. 1 2025.

• Approved an insurance broker to be Peel and Holland in conjunction with Johnson Pohlmann.