Photo courtesy of Bluff Park Drone
Berry High School campus
The Vestavia Hills City Council is in the process of annexing the 38.5-acre campus on Columbiana Road formerly home to Berry High School and later Berry Middle School.
The Vestavia Hills City Council on Monday took the first steps toward bringing the former Berry High School campus into the Vestavia Hills city limits.
The Hoover City Council de-annexed the 38.5-acre campus on May 17 to allow the Hoover school board to sell the property to the Vestavia Hills Board of Education.
Annexations can go through two processes, a resolution that brings the property into a city over 180 days or an "overnight" ordinance, which brings the property into a city right away.
Vestavia Hills City Clerk Rebecca Leavings said the property needs to be annexed as quickly as possible because there is an urgency to close the sale between the Hoover and Vestavia Hills boards of education.
However, due to state law concerning annexations near other city limits, Vestavia Hills can annex only half the distance to the Hoover city limits in an “overnight” annexation, Leavings said. That means, in this case, it will take three separate meetings to annex enough of the property for the city to have access to the campus.
The Vestavia Hills City Council on Monday annexed about 975 feet into the property, which Leavings said will largely cover the buildings on the campus. At the Wednesday meeting, the ordinance will address the next roughly 487 feet, bringing in most of the athletic fields. At the final meeting Thursday, about 244 feet will be brought into Vestavia, leaving only the embankment to the interstate unaffected.
Leavings said this will allow city employees to access the property in order to do maintenance or improvements, which will be important as the location will be utilized in the November general election as a polling place.
Vestavia Hills City Attorney Patrick Boone said while annexations are common and a matter of routine, they still have to be done within state law, and that is why the city has to use the "50-yard line" method of annexation in this case.
Boone also explained that one of the stipulations for the sale of the property from the Hoover Board of Education to the Vestavia Hills Board of education is that it has to be annexed before the sale can be finalized.