POOLER, GA (WTOC) - Here's a term we don't hear very often, "de-annex".
But that's what's happening to a major piece of land in the City of Pooler. The council is giving it back to the county, and the decision could bring hundreds of high-paying jobs.
The de-annexation process has practically taken all year, and the land itself has gone relatively un-developed for more than a decade.
The swath of industrial property is known as the 1,500 acre Pooler Megasite. But it will now be referred to as the Chatham County Development Site. Starting Jan. 1st, the land will no longer be in the city limits and will become part of unincorporated Chatham County.
"You think long and hard when you de-annex anything, but at the same time you don't want to be the person holding something back that may be able to move forward in getting some businesses here," said Pooler Mayor Mike Lamb.
Since the land was acquired, only one company has moved there - Mitsubishi Power Systems, which opened a plant in 2011. Officials with the county and the Savannah Economic Development Authority say they can offer better tax incentives to businesses if the land is unincorporated.
"That's the reason we're doing this and working with them. We were not getting the jobs and we wanted to get jobs, and the bottom line was the best way to do it would be to de-annex and then try to sell it as unincorporated in Chatham County," said Mayor Lamb.
Plus, the Pooler mayor sees this as a win-win. The move will hopefully bring more jobs to the area without the city having to maintain the property.
"End of the day, we will probably come out ahead, because there's a lot of expenditure in maintaining a road and the sides of the road, and that's quite a long road that would be in the city limits of Pooler, versus what you might get out of it. And it sounded like the direction we were heading in was we were not going to be getting anything out of it as far as taxes goes," said Mayor Lamb.
The City of Pooler will still provide fire service to the development site - they recently built a fire station nearby. Chatham County will take over policing, drainage and road maintenance.