Winder ends moratorium, annexes 80 acres for homes

WINDER - The city of Winder ended a moratorium on annexing land and added nearly 80 new acres within the city limits.

The 79.51-acre tract will have 135 single-family houses built on it, Winder Planning Director Barry Edgar said. The city has not annexed any new land since April 2004 while Winder's voting precincts were redistricted.

Edgar, who described the annexation as a "fair-sized development," said one of the biggest benefits to becoming part of the city is access to sewer service.

Homes within Barrow County are built with septic tanks in many areas, while the city of Winder offers sewer service.

City Clerk Jane Skelton said before the moratorium, Winder only dealt with two or three annexations each year. The moratorium gave the city a chance to catch up from previous annexations while waiting for new voting maps to be approved.

The fact that the city can only annex land contiguous to the city limits helps keep the number down, Skelton said.

In addition to sewer service, she said, homeowners are lured to Winder because the city has no property tax. To offset the cost of the annexations on police, fire and other services, the City Council often requires homes to use gas, which homeowners must purchase from the city.

Skelton said she doesn't know what the advantage of annexing more land is to the city, except to enhance its tax base - if there ever is one.