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Thread: Annoying unincorporated places

  1. #1
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Annoying unincorporated places

    I don't know about you, but I think the only places that should be unincorporated are farmland, forest, and natural areas. It's getting particularly annoying...all these exurban neighborhoods popping up all over the countryside on our suburban fringe. What's more popular and more worrisome these days are the McMansinons on 2 acre+ plots of land. In the past, it used to be more condensed 50s style ranch homes and trailer-park trash areas. But now it's upper-middle class people living on multiple acres of land, and causing land to be eaten up much too quickly. It also puts a damper on the incorporated municipalities these unincorporated areas take advantage of. In unincorporated areas, it is representation without taxation, since they pay no utility fees, municipal taxes, but take advantage of all the services the nearby municipalities provide. So, what is your take on this? And what large-scale unincorporated areas near you do you think should incorporate??

    In CHICAGOLAND

    McHenry County:
    Wonder Lake
    Pistakee Highlands
    Silver Lake (should become part of Oakwood Hills)
    Burtons Bridge
    Harmony Hill/Knoll Top
    Nunda Township

    Lake County:
    Gages Lake
    Ingleside
    Long Lake
    Loon Lake
    Venetian Village
    Diamond Lake
    Lambs Corner (Gurnee)

    Kenosha County:
    Town of Salem/Trevor/Wilmot

    Kane County:
    Plato Township
    Campton Township
    Valley View
    Dundee Township (Carpentersville)
    Mill Creek (Geneva)

    Kendall County:
    Boulder Hill
    areas near Yorkville (Yorkville)

    Will County:
    Wheatland Township/Wolf's Crossing (Aurora)
    Lakewood Falls (Romeoville)
    areas near Louis Joliet Mall (Joliet)
    areas east and south of Joliet (Joliet)
    Fairmont
    Frankfort Square (Frankfort)
    Goodneow/Crete Township

    DuPage County:
    Glen Ellyn Countryside
    Butterfield
    Lisle Township (Lisle)
    Downers Grove Township (Darien)
    York Center

    Cook County:
    areas west of Streamwood (Streamwood)
    Leyden Township (Northlake/Franklin Park)
    LaGrange Highlands
    Palos Township (Palos Park)
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian ijustkrushalot's avatar
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    similar issue happens on a much smaller scale downstate.

    There are a number of rural subdivisions around Bloomington, and then just north of peoria there is the community of Rome.


    These people want to skip out on city taxes, and live on large lots... then they start writing the editor of the local papers and freak out when they figure out one of the following:

    1.) The roads get plowed whenever the township gets around to it.
    2.) Instead of the professionally staffed fire department that is 2 miles away in town comming to their aide, they have to wait for the volunteer department from the next town over (5-6 miles away) to get over there..
    3.) The cops don't leave the city limits... say hello to the county sherrif... eventually.

    the people who decide to ditch town, and then get upset once they realise the city isn't going to bend over backwards for them are always amusing.

    When possible, towns need to exercise control within their 1.5 mile enterprise zone... that can help

  3. #3

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    Hey, IP: Don't you realize these places asre prime habitat for your kind of people-the Reddest of the Red Patio Man?

    Let a thousand faux rural enclaves, bloom!

    My California county (Solano) has a fairly strict policy of "what is urban shall be municipal." You pretty much NEED urban water service here (and the clay soils can make perc a challenge for septic as well)-some of the rural homeowners near Vacaville run dry during hot summers.

    That's not to say that we don't have unincorporated enclaves. "English Hills" is a quite posh but still mixed (big houses plus blue collar country places) north of me (they just established a water system). Green Valley is west of Fairfield and is more posh and less rural/ and more suburban in character (the area's only private country club is in Green Valley). For some odd reason, the City of Vallejo (twenty miles south) provides municipal water (of questionable quality, it now turns out).

    Otherwise, the County is not very interested in "development." It's very pro-agriculture/anti-sprawl-despite the pressures to build more hobby farms and rural escapes. There is one gigantic property owned by a car auction website founder that is simply enormous. The garage alone is equal to four of my houses. At least he kept a rural/winery look to the architecture and landscaping, I guess.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    That's not to say that we don't have unincorporated enclaves. "English Hills" is a quite posh but still mixed (big houses plus blue collar country places) north of me (they just established a water system). Green Valley is west of Fairfield and is more posh and less rural/ and more suburban in character (the area's only private country club is in Green Valley). For some odd reason, the City of Vallejo (twenty miles south) provides municipal water (of questionable quality, it now turns out).
    You missed the less lovely space between Suisun and Fairfield -- starts with a T and I can never remember the name of it, which is funny since I used to live catty-corner to it. It looks a lot like scruffy semi-rural development in Simcity. (and, yes, sigh, you have supplied me with the name for it before )

    EDIT: Tolenas????

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    So, what is your take on this?
    We have the same issues here in Wisconsin. Our state leads the USA in number of units of local government to population ratio and Illinois leads the USA in raw number of units of local government.

    It is terribly wastefull, while those whom run those local governments think that the worst possible disaster would be for their units to disappear.

    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    And what large-scale unincorporated areas near you do you think should incorporate??

    In CHICAGOLAND

    McHenry County:
    Wonder Lake
    Pistakee Highlands
    Silver Lake (should become part of Oakwood Hills)
    Burtons Bridge
    Harmony Hill/Knoll Top
    Nunda Township

    Lake County:
    Gages Lake
    Ingleside
    Long Lake
    Loon Lake
    Venetian Village
    Diamond Lake
    Lambs Corner (Gurnee)

    Kenosha County:
    Town of Salem/Trevor/Wilmot
    IMHO, everything in Kenosha County east of I-94, plus those parts of Kenosha and Pleasant Prairie that are west of I-94, should become one city.

    Ditto Racine County.

    (yes, I know that I'm likely dreaming here)

    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Kane County:
    Plato Township
    Campton Township
    Valley View
    Dundee Township (Carpentersville)
    Mill Creek (Geneva)

    Kendall County:
    Boulder Hill
    areas near Yorkville (Yorkville)
    Neither adjacent city wants that area and the residents would be financially screwed if they become a seperate city, so I would say 'incorporate' to that one.

    Also, The City of Joliet's comp plan has them going all the way west to IL 47. I see them eventually getting the entire south half of Kendall County.

    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Will County:
    Wheatland Township/Wolf's Crossing (Aurora)
    Lakewood Falls (Romeoville)
    areas near Louis Joliet Mall (Joliet)
    areas east and south of Joliet (Joliet)
    Fairmont
    Frankfort Square (Frankfort)
    Goodneow/Crete Township

    DuPage County:
    Glen Ellyn Countryside
    Butterfield
    Lisle Township (Lisle)
    Downers Grove Township (Darien)
    York Center

    Cook County:
    areas west of Streamwood (Streamwood)
    Leyden Township (Northlake/Franklin Park)
    LaGrange Highlands
    Palos Township (Palos Park)
    Everything south of the City of Chicago and 'inside' of I-294, perhaps extending south along IL 394 for a ways, should be annexed to the City of Chicago. Also the northwest suburban areas that are completely surrounded by Chicago.

    Also, what other existing incorporated places should be merged?

    Here, I would merge the entire Fox Cities metro area (Neenah Twp. to Kaukauna and Greenville to Sherwood, a total of about 15 or so seperate municipalities) into one city under a neutral name (ie, 'City of Fox Valley'). And yet, it would STILL be smaller than the present-day City of Madison.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Our county is nearing buildout and even with 7 cities there are vast unincorporated areas of varying densities. The county provides a full range of services commensurate with the cities: libraries, professional fire dept, parks system, roads, stormwater, garbage pickup, central water/sewer, etc. About the only thing I can think of that some of the cities provide that the county doesn't is kids' summer camps and kids' sports leagues, all of which are open to non-city residents for a slightly higher fee.

  7. #7
    Cirrus's avatar
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    Virtually all of Washington and Baltimore's suburbia is unincorporated. There are a handful of incorporated cities, but for the most part everything is done at the county level.

    ... And you know what? After living in Colorado, where most developed land is incorporated, I think the county-based model works better. You don't get nearly so much competition for sales tax dollars and pseudo-regional planning actually has teeth.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    The "annoying" unicorporated area I grew up in incorporated last week (after a 30 year try).

    My mother and my childhood home are now part of Sandy Springs, Ga.

    http://www.sandysprings.org/

    http://www.11alive.com/news/news_art...?storyid=65000

    I will have to change the way I mail letters... no more Atlanta address ... but also no more Fulton County cr@p

    We are happy about this and SS is MUCH better off.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  9. #9
         
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    We just did our first involuntary annexation of approximately 10 different areas around the city. It went pretty well, we got quite a few areas into the City that we could not get in before. Our city map is crazy, there are large pockets of unicorporated areas and then there are some where it is just one lot or so that isn't within the city limits. We need to continue the involuntary annexations until the city doesn't have these large parcels right in the center of the city that are unincorporated.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    You missed the less lovely space between Suisun and Fairfield -- starts with a T and I can never remember the name of it, which is funny since I used to live catty-corner to it. It looks a lot like scruffy semi-rural development in Simcity. (and, yes, sigh, you have supplied me with the name for it before )

    EDIT: Tolenas????
    Ah...how can I forget Tolenas? Tolenas has been there for decades, of course.

    English Hills/Allendale is a weird combination of Tolenas and Green Valley

  11. #11
    Cyburbian ijustkrushalot's avatar
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    Illinois leads the USA in raw number of units of local government.
    The suburbs have quite a bit to do with that... but you also have to figure that number includes all of the:

    1.) Towns, cities, villages
    2.) Townships
    3.) Counties
    4.) Fire Districts
    5.) Park Districts
    6.) Sewage districts
    7.) Library Districts
    8.) Community College Districts
    9.) Most schools up by chicago have seperate elementary school and high school districts... which further adds to the # of units (most downstate schools are unified districts)
    10.) and so on...

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ijustkrushalot
    The suburbs have quite a bit to do with that... but you also have to figure that number includes all of the:

    1.) Towns, cities, villages
    2.) Townships
    3.) Counties
    4.) Fire Districts
    5.) Park Districts
    6.) Sewage districts
    7.) Library Districts
    8.) Community College Districts
    9.) Most schools up by chicago have seperate elementary school and high school districts... which further adds to the # of units (most downstate schools are unified districts)
    10.) and so on...
    Many of these districts at least levy taxes equally among residents of incorporated and unincorpoated areas. The problem in Wisconsin is that cities provide so many amenities for the people outside of their boundaries, who pay nothing for them. Libraries and parks are a couple examples. Then there is the double-taxation problem. City residents provide their own police departments, but also pay taxes to support county police who typically only patrol the unincorporated areas. City residents pay for their own roads, but also pay taxes to the county to maintain county roads, which end at the city borders.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Lewis and Clark County has three incorporated municipalities: Helena, East Helena and Gilman. Funny thing is Gilman was incorporated about 100 years ago and the railroad and the town got in a dispute, so they bypassed them and the town of Augusta got the railroad. As a result there are a dozen or so folks in Gilman. All the other communities in the county are unincorporated. That is Montana for you.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

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  14. #14
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The majority of population growth in cities is from annexation of unincorporated areas around that given city (yes, we know that). “Whole” cities pop up over night, like Highland Ranch and Centennial, Colorado. I guess my point is that development inside the city limits isn’t necessarily what increases a cities population the most. It’s the annexation of new and old development areas around the city that increases population. The development doesn’t come to the city; the city comes to the development.
    I heard some mention about cities annexing neighboring cities? How can an incorporated city annex another incorporated city, unless there is some sort of agreement/ merger at hand? Does this happen a lot? It sure does not happen here in Kansas.
    Mgk920 noted some areas south of Chicago down to I-294 should be annexed by the city. Doesn’t that area include several independent incorporated cities (Burbank, Oak Lawn, ect)? Don’t these cities provide services for the citizen within their city limits and function separately from one another? I understand that being part of a metro area they use the services of the metro as a whole, too. Just babbling.

    Bill
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  15. #15
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    We have a lot of development going on outside of our city, and it all looks pretty bad, save from a few okay country residential subdivisions. Truly gross. Some of the worst development I've seen is in Clark County just north of the Vancouver (WA) city limits. Hwy 99 was (as of a few years ago) some of the worst unincorporated landscape I've ever seen. Bleh.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Thankfully, except for teh northern part of the province, everything is incorporated here. In my past life, pretty much everything was unincorporated.

    I have to totaly disagree that farmalnd and trees don't need local government and regulation as the people who live there still need services and it leads to problems. As an example, the City of Fredericton has a population of 47 000 and a census agglomeration of 810000, meaning that nearly 35 000 people have no form of government, other than provincial, and almost no land use planning and other services.

    I can provide many examples where unincorporated areas in NB are environmental and financial disasters. Just think of 1200 driveways along a 100 km road requiring the transcanada highway be rebuilt at a cost of 100 million dollars.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nerudite
    We have a lot of development going on outside of our city, and it all looks pretty bad, save from a few okay country residential subdivisions. Truly gross. Some of the worst development I've seen is in Clark County just north of the Vancouver (WA) city limits. Hwy 99 was (as of a few years ago) some of the worst unincorporated landscape I've ever seen. Bleh.
    Along the same lines, I honestly think a lot of the subdivisons popping up in both Pinal and Maricopa Counties in Arizona are awful. Neither have architectural guidelines so you get box-on-box homes. I drove past one two-story yesterday with a single window on the upper floor. It's disgusting. Problem is, they keep building mroe because you can buy a lot cheaper in those areas and people aren't so concerned with how their home looks as they are with being a home owner. Johnson Ranch and the surrounding areas come to mind as the worst offenders out here. Blech.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    Along the same lines, I honestly think a lot of the subdivisons popping up in both Pinal and Maricopa Counties in Arizona are awful. Neither have architectural guidelines so you get box-on-box homes. I drove past one two-story yesterday with a single window on the upper floor. It's disgusting. Problem is, they keep building mroe because you can buy a lot cheaper in those areas and people aren't so concerned with how their home looks as they are with being a home owner. Johnson Ranch and the surrounding areas come to mind as the worst offenders out here. Blech.
    What about Home Owners Association dictating what you can and can’t do to your home? A lot of times they may keep a homeowner in check as far as up keep or what one’s house looks like. I would say that the large majority of homeowners take pride in their homes, no matter what architectural design it is and where it is located. I’ve seen a lot of urban and inner city home’s where it appears the owners didn’t care what the house looked like. Maybe they’re more concerned with being a homeowner, too?
    Architectural design of homes has always changed. Not to many people living in sod house today. Housing, street design in unincorporated areas are monopolized by developers. They own the land and design it how they see fit. IMHO millions of people are not moving there because they don’t care what it look’s like.

    Bill

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  19. #19
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    both sides now

    Quote Originally posted by Cirrus
    Virtually all of Washington and Baltimore's suburbia is unincorporated. There are a handful of incorporated cities, but for the most part everything is done at the county level.

    ... And you know what? After living in Colorado, where most developed land is incorporated, I think the county-based model works better. You don't get nearly so much competition for sales tax dollars and pseudo-regional planning actually has teeth.
    I've wondered about this, moving from a county built out edge to edge with 59 municipal governments (Cleveland at the center) to a region where Baltimore is a hole in county and all the surrounding area -- including Columbia has no local government at all. Strong State and County planning seems to have kept some of the worst develpment in check.

    On the other hand I heard about Maine communities unincorporating (discorporating?) because they bear such a heavy tax burden. Will they endanger community character once the tax load is leveled?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ICT/316
    Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The majority of population growth in cities is from annexation of unincorporated areas around that given city (yes, we know that). “Whole” cities pop up over night, like Highland Ranch and Centennial, Colorado. I guess my point is that development inside the city limits isn’t necessarily what increases a cities population the most. It’s the annexation of new and old development areas around the city that increases population. The development doesn’t come to the city; the city comes to the development.
    I heard some mention about cities annexing neighboring cities? How can an incorporated city annex another incorporated city, unless there is some sort of agreement/ merger at hand? Does this happen a lot? It sure does not happen here in Kansas.
    Nebraska allows some larger cities to involuntarily annex adjacent/nearby smaller incorporated cities.

    Here in Wisconsin, the bigger city/smaller incorporated suburb annexations that I am aware of (ie, City of West Bend/Village of Barton in the 1960s and City of Milwaukee/Village of Bay View in the late 19th century) were actually considered 'consolidations', where it had to pass seperate referenda in both municipalities.

    Quote Originally posted by ICT/316
    Mgk920 noted some areas south of Chicago down to I-294 should be annexed by the city. Doesn’t that area include several independent incorporated cities (Burbank, Oak Lawn, ect)? Don’t these cities provide services for the citizen within their city limits and function separately from one another? I understand that being part of a metro area they use the services of the metro as a whole, too. Just babbling.
    In that case, that area is nearly entirely covered with incorporated cities and villages, but many/most are in such dire straits that I cannot see them continuing to function as independant entities. This area includes such places as the severely economically distressed City of Harvey and Village of Phoenix. Burbank and Oak Lawn are north of the area that I am referring to. Perhaps I should have said 'Everything south of the City of Chicago and generally 'inside' of I-294 and I-57'.

    Mike

  21. #21
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    The City of Chicago has no interest in annexing those areas.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    The City of Chicago has no interest in annexing those areas.
    I don't blame them, I wouldn't have any intertest in annexing them, either, as that area would be a serious drain on the city's resources. OTOH, how close are some of those local governments, like Harvey and Phoenix, to going insolvent? Would they just become wards of the state instead (assuming that they haven't already)? What will 'rock bottom' be for them and what will happen then? (just trying to do some forward thinking here)

    Mike

  23. #23
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    Detroit!!! Problem solved!

    Actually, with all this talk about annexing other incorporated area’s DETROIT could actually increase in population if it annexed Highland Park and Hamtramck! And it would work out, because all three of them have insufficient governing bodies!
    Disclaimer: This not to offend any one from the Detroit area. It is just humor.


    Bill

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  24. #24
    Cyburbian drucee's avatar
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    Every so often, the south-suburban municipalities agitate to break away from Cook County and form their own county, Lincoln. And the ones surrounded by the city of Chicago (Harwood Heights, Norridge, Evergreen Park) have remained enclaves because Chicago has tried to annex each of them about three times and failed.

    I really dislike the unincorporated areas in Lake and Cook counties. Their strange sort of rural development in developed areas is unhealthy and aesthetically displeasing. Deerfield, Des Plaines, Oak Lawn, I'm looking at you... would an annexation be possible?

    Maybe Rosemont could use its mafia money to help some of those distressed south-suburban municipalities, instead of building goofy roadside monuments and more hotels.

    I have to go... Mayor Stephens' goons are knocking at my door.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    I think it is a sin for a city to annex another city. Only unincorporated places should a municipality be allowed to annex, unless there is a ridiculously large majority in favor of consilidating two municipalities together. I think it is more natural for places like Campton Township, Wonder Lake, and Ingleside to form their own towns, much the way Homer Glen and Prospect Heights did, as well as other places like Centennial, CO and Miami Gardens, FL. Some annoying putsy neighborhoods that aren't big enough to be a town but blend in with a nearby town like the areas around Gurnee Mills or Louis Joliet Mall should be annexed to their respective nearby cities, especially considering high densities and current services provided to these areas.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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