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City rolls out red carpet for Wrens Way

Annexation of Wrens Way _ take two.

The setting _ City Hall _ was the same. So were the players.

But this time, commissioners did more than vote to annex the subdivision _ again. They also agreed Tuesday to honor promises to provide the residents with incentives.

The 6-1 vote concludes the saga of the troubled annexation, which has divided the 42-home subdivision. The county voted 4-3 Tuesday not to contest that annexation.

"I've seen neighbor pitted against neighbor," resident Dana Bauer said. She said she opposed the annexation because of "the deceitful tactics employed to effect its passing."

The president, vice president and board director of the Wrens Way Homeowners Association recently resigned, accusing the city of reneging on its promises.

They said Largo had promised the community several months of free garbage service, a Wrens Way entry sign and scheduled stormwater retention pond maintenance.

Regardless of whether the city did make those promises, officials said they want to make things right with the neighborhood.

The city will maintain the ponds, pay for the sign and offer up to three months of free garbage service to the 14 homeowners not receiving Largo trash service.

"That would be a good-faith effort on the part of this commission," Mayor Bob Jackson said.

Largo first attempted to annex Wrens Way and adjacent properties in January, but that referendum failed.

Then commissioners passed an ordinance in August bringing the subdivision into the city. But instead of notifying residents individually, the city ran a public hearing notice in the Tampa Tribune, and some residents complained. The county voided that annexation last month.

The city announced it would start over again.

But in the meantime, residents were left in limbo. Largo trash cans were delivered and then taken away.

"I thought it was wrong for us to go in and pull the garbage cans out of there," Jackson said.

The city has tried to fix those mistakes.

One commissioner has asked that legal notices be made available on the city's Web site.

Another commissioner wants residents to be notified if their address is included in an ordinance.

But not everyone is satisfied.

"Aggressive annexation _ that's what you guys are doing," resident Deborah Fulton said.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to annex approximately 90 acres west of 49th Street and south of 150th Avenue N. The county plans to contest that annexation.

The City Commission also approved, 6-1, sewer service to several properties outside city limits, including Bayside High School.

The city wanted to annex the school property at 49th Street N and 145th Avenue N, but the county objected to the annexation.

Sewer service will be provided as long as the county does not breach a 2000 interlocal agreement by contesting or suing the city over sewer indenture or annexation agreements.

The School Board contends it's not fair that their sewer service could be shut off because of a dispute between the city and the county.

But Commissioner Charlie Harper pointed out that the city has never shut off sewer service to public facilities.

_ Shannon Tan can be reached at shtansptimes.com or 445-4174.

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