Woodbury Takes Business-Friendly Approach To Annexation Proposal

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Located on the west side of Woodbury on Hwy. 70S are three businesses situated on adjacent property - Higgins Moonlite Drive-in, Higgins Car Wash and Mini-Storage, and Higgins Flea Market.

One might assume that all three were located within the town's borders, but in reality only one - the car wash - is. And that situation won't change, at least in the short term.

The Woodbury Planning Commission deferred action on annexing the drive-in and flea market property located on the east side of town during its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

The property in question is owned by Jimmy Higgins, who also owns the car wash that is located inbetween the drive-in and flea market. The car wash is already zoned within the city.

Woodbury Mayor Harold Patrick urged planners to delay any action on annexing the property, saying that he had had considerable discussion on the matter with the owner of the property, and that he (Patrick) felt it would cause Higgins additional financial hardship during these tough economic times.

"That is one of the things I first brought up when I became mayor.

Why isn't the drive-in on this side of the car wash and the flea market on the other side not part of the town of Woodbury," Patrick said.

The car wash was the first of the three businesses to operate.

"Naturally the purpose of the annexation is the property tax. We're looking to expand our base, and it makes sense that those three businesses there be in the town of Woodbury," the mayor said.

However, Patrick said the town wants to be as business-friendly as possible, especially to those that are struggling.

"The owner there (Higgins) called me and we had a long discussion and he said to me 'if these were normal business times and we were not in a recession you wouldn't hear a word from me (against annexation). But these are not normal business times, my business is off 35 percent, and we are struggling, and I just ask that you hold off until things get better.'"

Patrick said the Planning Commission and the town would hold the annexation in abeyance until "we see how the economy does. I understand that and I see where he is coming from."

In other business, the planning commission continued a discussion about a problem which first was brought to light at its July 21 meeting concerning residents engaging in new construction without acquiring building permits.

"You have to have a building permit to do anything ... build a garage, build a carport or anything. It is a requirement and we just want to see that it is done," Mayor Patrick said.

It was determined that the planning commission and the town council will look into ways of beefing up enforcement of the building codes. "What we will probably end up doing is putting more of a responsibility on the public works director to notice these things and see if they (people doing construction) have come and applied for a permit."

The possibility of imposing fines on violators is also being considered.
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