Residents of Highland Lakes concerned over Chelsea annexation talks

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CHELSEA, Ala. (WIAT) — The city of Chelsea plans to annex several communities in the unincorporated areas of Shelby County, including Highland Lakes.

The plans have drawn a lot of outrage online from residents who are demanding answers from city leaders and the developer of the neighborhood.

According to the city of Chelsea’s website, the purpose of the plan is to set up future growth and development in the area, but residents at Highland Lakes are fighting back.

“That somebody is attempting to change that, without notifying us first is extremely frustrating,” resident Robert Hill said.

Hill emphasized frustrating is putting it mildly on how he feels about the situation.

“That this has been going on for months without any of us as residents knowing this was happening,” Hill said.

The other areas impacted by the idea are Shoal Creek, Stonegate farms, and Mt. Laurel. Shoal Creek and Stonegate have reportedly hired attorneys for help.

Residents like Hill have taken their frustrations online. He created a website and neighbors have created a Nextdoor group called StopHLAnnexation which has more than 200 members.

“My wife and I moved here specifically to be unincorporated Shelby County in a gated, private community,” Hill said.

Before moving to the area, Jack Little says his old neighborhood in Indiana was also annexed by the developer, which ended up raising property tax for his home.

“He (developer) gave away the subdivision we were building in and our property taxes went up an immediate $3,000,” Little said.

Doug Eddleman is in charge of Eddleman Properties, Inc. Highland Lakes sent an email to most residents stating they do not have the ability to annex anyone’s property and the neighborhood will remain a gated community. But residents still have questions and believe Eddleman isn’t sharing all the details.

“But I think he needs to step up for us other than his individual concerns or the city of Chelsea’s concerns,” Little said.

Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer tells CBS 42 he plans to address the annexation plans after the city council meeting on Tuesday. Hill and Little say a group from the neighborhood is expected to attend.

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