By TOM FINK
Cambridge Estate residents who call for a law officer will be seeing a Rogers County sheriff instead of Claremore Police officer again, as City Council members last night approved to de-annex the property.
In 1999, the city annexed the county road leading into the (Cambridge Estates) addition — one mile west of the Heritage Hills Golf Course — a decision that has since long been a point of contention among residents and council members.
Claremore City Council members Monday night voted to “undo” a decision which some felt should not have been made in the first place, returning the property to “unincorporated status.”
“Shortly after I became the city attorney, questions started arising, regarding Cambridge Estates,” said City Attorney Randy Elliott. “Those questions centered around why Cambridge Estates was part of the city to begin with.
“Apparently there was situation presented that at one particular time, perhaps involving a city employee who lived out there and it was felt there was a need to have him living in the city limits, so the city annexed that property,” he said. “Had I been city attorney at the time, that would have never happened — there is no property (in Cambridge Estates) that is contiguous to the city, so the question becomes, ‘How are we going to fix this situation?’”
In discussions that followed, annexing the nearby (public) road was considered, but ultimately, it was decided instead to detach the property containing Cambridge Estates from the corporate city limits.
“Property owners have been notified of this, and I have the proof of mailings to indicate this — but this is basically the public hearing on the matter,” he said. “Whether or not the city wishes to pursue (detachment) is up to the council.”
In addition to the public hearing on “de-annexing” a property, council members also heard on the proposed “annexing” of another real property, located east of Claremore on Highway 20, at and including the entrance to the Will Rogers Turnpike.
The intention of the property annexation was to incorporate the property into city limits to eventually participate in a project with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to place a signal light near the turnpike entrance.
Although nearby property owner Swan had no objection to the annexation, City Engineer Steve Lett said a problem arose when he asked ODOT to provide the city with right-of-way maps.
“ODOT’s description of (Swan’s) property didn’t match the legal description he had for it — there was something of an ‘overlap’ in the legal descriptions,” Lett said. “We suspect the error to be on ODOT’s part, but until it’s corrected, I would recommend us tabling approval of annexing this property — to ensure it’s annexed correctly, according to the proper legal description.”
Following both public hearings, council members unanimously approved the detachment of property at Cambridge Estates and tabled the annexation of the property near the turnpike until the discrepancy with ODOT’s legal description of the property is corrected.
By TOM FINK