The Market of Marion, a flea and farmers market located just outside the Belleview, Fla., city line, is working with the local government on a deal in which the market will gain access to the city water supply and in return will sign an annexation covenant.
The initiative resulted from an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project that let the city extend its water line to the south. “It was part of a stimulus grant from the federal government to extend those water lines,” says Belleview city clerk Sandi McKamey.
The city commission in charge of the project agreed to discount connection fees to new users, according to McKamey, if users outside the city agreed to sign an annexation agreement. The market is actually not contiguous with the city, since there is intervening undeveloped land between the city and the market. The covenant would require the market to agree to annexation when land next to the market is annexed in the future. That would be likely in the event that the land is developed.
But the deal is not a sure thing, since the market is requesting some zoning changes, according to a local news report on Ocala.com. “The market is interested in receiving our water services, but they did have some reservations about annexing,” McKamey confirms.
However, she is optimistic. “At the meeting last night, the commission did instruct the staff and the city attorney to work with their attorney to reach an agreement,” says McKamey.
She added that she does not think the obstacles were particularly steep. “It’s not an unusual procedure for cities to require an annexation covenant to receive their services. It’s just pretty routine.”
The Market of Marion is open Saturdays and Sundays year round, and Fridays October through April. It offers 1,200 covered booths and 200 outside spaces.