By Matt Montgomery
After an hour-long debate Monday night from the Piedmont City Council and several concerned citizens, an agreement allowing several property owners to deannex from the city won’t happen this month.
Several Piedmont property owners who have leases to construct wind turbines on their land want the city to allow them to deannex. The council heard their case Monday night from an Oklahoma City attorney. However, the majority of the crowd of about 80 people appeared to voice opposition to letting them deannex.
Those who don’t want them to deannex were a group of property owners who would be both directly affected by deannexation and indirectly affected by deannexation.
Attorney Mark Henrickson, who was hired by the group of landowners wanting to deannex, told the council his clients aren’t receiving the same services the city offers as other Piedmont residents are receiving.
He told the council that his clients want royalties from a wind farm on the property their farms are on.
“My clients are receiving the restrictions and regulations of being in the city without receiving the same benefits people living in the developed, concentrated area of Piedmont are receiving,” Henrickson said. “There’s simply a disparity of treatment. That’s not a criticism of city government, it’s just a reality.”
Before leaving the podium, Henrickson also added that a lawsuit might be filed if the city doesn’t go through with letting his clients deannex.
Following Henrickson, were several concerned residents who also addressed the council but from the other side of the issue.
Piedmont resident Pam Suttles told the council most people on the petition list were annexed into Piedmont.
She expressed concern that if deannexation happens, where will it end?
She also expressed concern that now Piedmont residents need to be protected from their own neighbors.
“We should be annexing into the city,” she said. “I think we need to protect the citizens who live in this city.”
Piedmont resident Milton Byrd told the council that he lives at 206th and Cimaron and he would be most affected by deannexation.
“If we sit idly by and do nothing, we will not have any growth,” Byrd said. “I don’t want to be deannexed.”
When the residents and Henrickson were done with their comments, the council discussed the issue at length.
Ultimately, the council decided they needed more time to consider what to do.
Councilman Larry Gage said he wished both sides could sit down and work it out among themselves.