Leduc County says they're surprised by news that the Town of Beaumont wants to annex 24 quarters of its land, saying the proposal - and how it was presented - “amounts to a hostile land grab.”

In a statement issued Monday, Leduc County Mayor John Whaley said he only learned of Beaumont’s plans for annexation when county residents called for clarification on the matter.

“It is puzzling to say the least, why proper protocol was not followed or failing that, why simple courtesy didn’t prevail. This is not how to treat neighbours, especially when so much is at stake,” Whaley said in a news release.

Beaumont wants to annex 24 quarters, or 1,536 hectares, of land from Leduc County, expanding the town’s north, south and west ends.

The proposed annexation is a response to a shortage of space and expected population growth in the area.

“We're really, really limited as to the amount of land that we have for commercial development in our community,” Beaumont Mayor Camille Bérubé told CTV News on Sunday.

“Even on the residential side we’re seeing our inventory decreasing as well and we know it takes time to go through the process, we know it takes time to get the servicing there and we don’t want to stall or delay the development of our community because we don’t have space to accommodate what the businesses and individuals are looking for.”

Leduc says Beaumont did not follow proper procedures and protocol for growth discussion.

The county says before any discussion of land transfers is had, the area’s taxpayers and residents first need to be heard.

The issue is set to be discussed at a council meeting on Tuesday.

Bérubé had told CTV News he anticipated there may be concerns with how much land Beaumont is requesting, but says it’s necessary as the town is planning for the next 50 years.

“I suspect that there will be concerns about the amount of land but when you're looking at 50 years out, we need to be strategic in our planning,” Bérubé said.

Open houses discussing the annexation proposal are expected to be held in early 2013.