Walnut Ridge & Hoxie Fight Over Same Piece of Land

Lawrence County, AR (KAIT)

- Two Region 8 cities are fighting over the same property.  Forty-six acres in Walnut Ridge along the Hwy 63 bypass are in question after property owners asked it to be annexed into neighboring Hoxie.

"The city of Hoxie was approached by landowners in the city of Walnut Ridge about annexing their property into Hoxie," said Hoxie City Attorney Bobby Gibson.

After being approached almost six months ago the city of Hoxie voted to annex a portion of property into their city limits from Walnut Ridge.  Now that annexation is being fought by Walnut Ridge.  According to their attorney David Tyler of Lyons, Emerson, and Cone of Jonesboro the landowners want to develop the land and need sewer and water run to the property.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Michelle Rogers said they have tried to give the land owners what they want within their city limits.

"The city has every intention of doing that.  The only thing we've asked them in return is they tell us what you're going to do with the property so we can run adequate sewer and water to the property," said Rogers.

Gibson said the landowners were following a law that allows for property to be detached from one city and annexed into another city if they agree.  When the city of Walnut Ridge declined, Gibson said the attorney for the landowner found another law.

"The city has to provide those services in a timely fashion and the city of Walnut Ridge didn't do that in a timely fashion so we proceeded with annexation under that statute," said Gibson.

"They said that we failed to meet a deadline.  We notified their attorney which has represented them this whole time," said Rogers.

As for now, both cities consider the property to be part of their city limits.

"I consider it to be Walnut Ridge and I have retained outside legal counsel to help with this situation," said Rogers.

"At this time we consider the property to be within the city limits of Hoxie," said Gibson.

Hoxie Mayor Donald Roberts said this is one of many disputes that happens in cities as close as these two.

"Anytime you have two cities with joining property lines like Hoxie and Walnut Ridge or Little Rock and North Little Rock they're going to have problems with property lines and they'll be worked out the same way we're working it out," said Roberts.

Both sides hope the issue can be resolved soon.  Mayor Roberts told K8 News he thinks the case will go to court in the next several weeks.