In December 2013, Pelahatchie’s Board of Aldermen extended the city limits to include Sky Lake subdivision, an upscale gated community three miles west of downtown on Highway 80. When the city limits were extended, the Board also agreed to make improvements in the annexed area. Signed by Craig Slay, Board Attorney, and Bettye Massey, Town Clerk, the Board of Alderman minutes from the December 5, 2012, meeting state that “the Town agreed to provide the following within a reasonable time, not to exceed five years: Improve streets and drainage; Maintain water lines, water service, sewage disposal lines and street lighting, furnish police protection, fire protection, garbage removal, trash and debris removal, animal control, maintenance of existing streets…” and noted that Alderman Michael Adams, Frank Booyd, Megan Hall, Margie Warren, and Jerry Norwood voted in favor.
There was no opposition.
Now, more than five years later, homeowner Jordan Johnson and the residents and landowners say that none of the improvement have been made, and they are exploring de-annexing from the Town of Pelahatchie. Currently, the subdivision has bot used street lights, police or animal control, and they use septic tanks for sewage, according to Johnson. Rankin County and Pelahatchie provide police, fire and garbage services, and Evergreen associations provides water.
According to the residents, Sky Lake includes twelve home valued at an average cost of $350,000, ranging from 2,100 to 4,000 square feet, with lots from the three-acre minimum requirement to approximately fifteen acres.
Jordan said that the homeowners in Sky Lake collectively pay nearly $30,000 a year in taxes to the Town.
Sky Lake homeowners, including Johnson and McFarland, have been voicing the concerns of some of the homeowners to the Board of Alderman over the past five months in four regular board meetings and special meetings.
Johnson and McFarland say that the subdivision’s developer and part owner Mark McKay, who is an attorney, retains the rights to the neighborhood’s home owner’s association until the plat of the subdivision is submitted for approval. Per Craig Slay, Rankin County Board attorney, the road is private and will remain private until the plat is approved.
Johnson said McKay pays the electricity for the lights and water at the front entrance to the subdivision off Highway 80.l The homeowners have been having to maintain the road for more than five years, said Johnson and McFarland. They say homeowners have spent money out of their pockets to add gravel and provide the labor to maintain the road, which homeowners say currently needs further improvements. According to a quote provided by Souther Rock, LLC, to homeowners, it will take 26 loads of gravel, at $1,000 per load, plus labor, to upgrade the road.
At each Board of Alderman meeting, the Board had maintained that the Sky Lake road is a private road and that any issues homeowners have are with the developer, rather than the Town. Homeowners say they want to petition the Town to de-annex the subdivision, so that the residents can stop paying taxes for services, specifically road improvements, that they aren’t getting, and also to allow them to challenge the developer.
As of April 30, active engagement has been made between the developer, the Rankin County Board of Supervisors and the homeowners for a resolution. Facilitation has been made possible by Pelahatchie Mayor Ryshonda Beechem. Clarification had also been provided by previous Pelahatchie mayor Knox Ross, according to Johnson.