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Thread: Planning's role in annexation (and vice versa)

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Aug 2007
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    SC
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    Planning's role in annexation (and vice versa)

    I work in a medium sized town that is experiencing basically stagnant population growth. Some of the areas within 1/2-3 miles outside of our corporate limits to the Northeast and Northwest have experienced some growth in the past 5-10 years.

    Additionally, there is some industrially used land immediately Southeast of town that has been industrially active for 20+ years, but has never been annexed.

    At our staff meeting last week, our PD mentioned that we (the City and our department) will be looking into annexation.

    Of course we'll have to look at state statute and what we can legally annex, but aside from the legal "can"/"cannot", I'm not sure how to approach the "should"/"shouldn't". (My current planner co-worker has already asked that we not annex any more zoning violations! )

    So, a few questions:
    1. Is your planning department involved in the annexation process?
    2. What is your role for properties that wish to be annexed?
    3. What is your role for City-initiated annexations?
    4. Do you include an annexation survey/plan in your Comp. Plan?
    5. What types of areas does your department encourage annexation for?
    6. What types of areas does your department try to avoid annexing?

    The clincher: If you're looking to increase tax revenues with minimal increases in expenditures, can annexation achieve that goal? What types of annexations make fiscal sense, and which types will likely add to your budget woes?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Colorado
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    Most of this will be theoretically how things are done around here. However, out west, in the name of sales tax revenues and growth for the sake of growth some of the ideals of fiscally sound annexation are ignored.

    1. Is your planning department involved in the annexation process?
    Yes, as governed by the Colorado Revised Statutes (typically annexation is state regulated rather than Town regulated).
    2. What is your role for properties that wish to be annexed?
    We will take their application (provided they have provided the correct materials, and take them through the review and annexation process. Pretty much anything in our growth management area that asks to be annexed is accepted for annexation.
    3. What is your role for City-initiated annexations?
    Ummm, we only have on cop for police protection of staff in town, and he works part time. A town initiated annexation is not a good idea from a PR standpoint here.
    According to state law; however, a town can initiate annexation on County enclaves, but right now staff, budget and time prevent us from doing this (that, and we're not really interested at this time).
    4. Do you include an annexation survey/plan in your Comp. Plan?
    No, well, maybe, what do you mean by this? We have a Growth Management Area in our Comp Plan that shows a "future town area". Other surrounding towns have the same GMA. This typically tells a landowner where he/she could annex if they so choose.
    5. What types of areas does your department encourage annexation for?
    We would love to grab some commercial/industrial land along the three state highways near us (within our GMA). I, personally, would like to see the town annex land directly adjacent to town limits (no "flag-pole annexations) so that public works can save $$ in gas and travel during snowplow season.
    6. What types of areas does your department try to avoid annexing?
    Nothing really, we have a lot of residential and in Colorado towns typically lose money with residential development. But if you want to come in, we'll let ya.
    If you're looking to increase tax revenues with minimal increases in expenditures, can annexation achieve that goal?
    I think if the annexed land is contiguous to town limits and the developer foots the bill for many road/water/sewer extensions and improvements. (In Colorado, development "should" pay its own way, but Wal-Marts are getting built in towns that have "sold their souls" in order to attract such a retail leviathan).
    What types of annexations make fiscal sense, and which types will likely add to your budget woes?
    We must annex good sales tax generators from a town stand point, good job generators from a living standpoint. Any more residential (which the market has slowed) will bury the town in money loss.

    Hope that helps.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
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    Location: Texas


    1. Is your planning department involved in the annexation process?

    Yes. We pretty much run the show. We prepare the case, service plan, DOJ stuff, draft hearing notice, etc. City Clerk takes care of posting notice properly and in a timely manner; legal department sets the calendar, hearing dates, & prepares the ordinance.

    2. What is your role for properties that wish to be annexed?

    Answer 1 pretty much describes my role.

    3. What is your role for City-initiated annexations?

    Process is similar to Answer 1, but with a few extra steps resulting from state law.

    4. Do you include an annexation survey/plan in your Comp. Plan?

    No. Cities in Texas, under some circumstances, have to prepare a 3-year annexation plan as a kind of fair warning thing. That said, my prior city did have priority areas identified for annexation.

    5. What types of areas does your department encourage annexation for?

    Strong tax base. Request for utility extension (developer pays way and must consent to annexation). major quality of life issues need to be addressed, like a large area of failing septic systems, water systems, etc. That last one is the most dicey, as it may not be cost-effective but it is the right thing to do. In addition, it is wise to annex areas that already affect your other services. For example, a residential area just outside the city limits that uses your roads to commute and frequently visits your city parks. If they use them, they ought to pay taxes.

    6. What types of areas does your department try to avoid annexing?

    Prohibitively expensive to provide services or can't meet minimum legal threshold to provide equal service levels for similarly situated properties. Also, cases where an area creates a donut around a minority/poor area rather than annexing them, which will piss off DOJ (never had it come up).

    The clincher: If you're looking to increase tax revenues with minimal increases in expenditures, can annexation achieve that goal? What types of annexations make fiscal sense, and which types will likely add to your budget woes?

    If done properly with careful analysis. For developed properties/properties where we know what the end use will be, we perform fiscal analysis reviewing the amount of tax base increase compared to the cost to provide adequate services.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jan 2008
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    Grand Rapids, MI
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    Make a call to either the Town of Bluffton or the City of Hardeeville. Both are located along the coast in SC and have annexed a lot of land in the past few years. They would be able to answer most of your questions and as both are in South Carolina, they would be able to comment on the legality and validity of annexation in your state.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    133
    Thanks for the responses guys, it's all been helpful. Seymour, I no longer live in SC (need to figure out how to change my profile), but I may try to contact those towns just to see what their experience has been like.

    I'm fairly new to planner land, so I'm interested in stories from my area (the middle of the middle - Kansas) as well as from everywhere else. I know a lot of things are based on state statute and the unwritten "well, around here we do things THIS way" rules, but I find it interesting to see what sort of themes tend to emerge when you talk to people from all over - hence my love of cyburbia.

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