Today, the Supreme Court of Arkansas, in Case No. CV-16-840, affirmed the decision of the Garland County Circuit Court in the matter of George Pritchett, et al vs the City of Hot Springs. In January of 2016, the Hot Springs Board of Directors adopted an ordinance annexing certain property that was surrounded by Hot Springs city limits and Lake Hamilton. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s decision that the statute followed by the city was constitutional and that the annexed area met the requirements set forth in A.C.A. §14-40-501. Pritchett argued that the property owners had a constitutional right to vote on annexation and the city could not annex unincorporated areas by ordinance alone. The Supreme Court rejected this argument, holding that there was no such fundamental right.
Pritchett next argued that the two tracts annexed by the city failed to comply with the statutory framework of an enclave. However, the Supreme Court held that the phrase “completely surrounded,” as used in the statute, includes an area which has no borders other than those with a single municipality and a lake. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the Circuit Court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the city.