OLDSMAR — Oldsmar had more voluntary annexations last fiscal year than any other city in Pinellas County, according to a report released this week.
Between Oct. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2010, Oldsmar acquired 165.9 of the 273.7 acres annexed by all Pinellas municipalities, said Michael Schoderbock, who prepared the report presented on Wednesday to the Pinellas Planning Council.
"For 2009, they only annexed 4.07 acres," said Schoderbock, a program planner with the agency.
Two large annexations put Oldsmar at the top of the list this year: 100 acres of Tampa Bay Downs-owned land formerly in unincorporated Pinellas County and nearly 60 acres of Southwest Florida Water Management District land previously in the Palm Harbor Special Fire Control and Rescue District.
Officials with the racetrack tried for two years to pull 100 acres out of the East Lake Special Fire Control District and annex it into Oldsmar.
The property, which is across the street from the Hillsborough County racetrack, is surrounded on most sides by Oldsmar, they said.
Before the annexation, Tampa Bay Downs officials wouldn't have been able to develop the land. Now, they can build resorts, restaurants, hotels and other developments.
"It'll be sort of a mixed-use development," city planning and redevelopment director Marie Dauphinais said during a May City Council meeting. "Commercial uses. Industrial uses. They're not really sure at this time what they're planning to do."
The Swiftmud property is part of a larger plan to construct a trail along the east bank of the Lake Tarpon Outfall Canal that will link Canal Park, Harbor Palms Nature Park and Sheffield Park. The project, which is in the design phase, has been in the Oldsmar's Master Trail Plan for years.
City officials unanimously approved the annexation at Tuesday's council meeting.
"City's getting bigger," Oldsmar Mayor Jim Ronecker said after the vote.
But while cities such as Oldsmar annexed more land last year than in the previous five years, the taxable value of the properties was lower.
"This appears to be due to annexation of some large areas of tax-exempt land (government or church owned) and also to the decline of taxable value of property in the county," Schoderbock said.
The value of Oldsmar's property, for example, stood at $2,536,327 and much of that was the racetrack property.
The Swiftmud property was tax-exempt. "So that's zero," Schoderbock said.
Rodney Thrash can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4167.