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Thread: Piecemeal annexation problems

  1. #1
    Member
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    Piecemeal annexation problems

    Hello community.

    I've had an issue for a while with a specific landowner who insists on piecemeal annexation as his land develops. Economically, I understand.
    However, we have a strong comp plan, a strong future transportation plan, and this owner's annexations blatantly oppose both. Parcels will come in offset 80' from adjacent city roads. Parcels will create 'remainder' land that is unusable (ie, 40'x1000' parcels zoned commercially).

    The property is about 500 acres, and is one heck-of-a county pocket (100% contiguous). Staff reports always suggest that a coordinated development plan be proposed and adopted before any future development actions are approved, but council passes them through regardless.

    The best argument I can come up with is: site by site infrastructure and transportation systems endanger HSW (health, safety,welfare) by creating negative impacts offsite, and jurisdictional inconsistency.

    Has anyone out there had this problem? Any advice or compelling arguments that have worked?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Logic does not prevail with a weak Council. Many see immediate gains and do not consider long term consequences.

    Rather than draft staff reports stating what is obvious to planners, try a grass roots education effort with elected officials. Do not brow beat. Hold 1-on-1 meetings with them and casually explain why these decisions are, in the long term, problematic.

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    Logic does not prevail with a weak Council. Many see immediate gains and do not consider long term consequences.

    Rather than draft staff reports stating what is obvious to planners, try a grass roots education effort with elected officials. Do not brow beat. Hold 1-on-1 meetings with them and casually explain why these decisions are, in the long term, problematic.
    That pretty much looks like your only real option. Ultimately, the only solution is for your Council to "grow a pair" and start acting in the best interest of the overall city.

    I wish there was a magic bullet to help you, but the only solution is probably the next election.

    "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 JimPlans's avatar
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    I think the key here is tax revenue. I assume that property taxes accrue to whatever jurisdiction the prperty lies in, and that property taxes are an important part of local funding.

    Just have the council imagine the possibility that unincorporated property could be partially or even completely surrounded by the municipality, and residents or businesses on that property would have access (just through proximity) to roads, parks, and other infrastructure paid for by municipal taxes. In other words, those residents would get a "free ride" from municipal taxpayers. How would other taxpayers feel, especially when they may be paying higher taxes than unincorporated residents for the privilege of living in the city?

    Now have them imagine that a 40x1000 strip of land is not mowed, cleaned, or otherwise maintained, and when the municipal government tries to do something about it they can't because it's really in the county though its surrounded by the city. Local residents complain, the city council can't do anything, and they look like fools to their constituents.

    Finally, public safety. Who responds when there is a fire on unincorporated property that is surrounded by incorporated property? When there is a police call? Would city residents tolerate it if their next-door neighbor's house was on fire and the 911 call was routed to the county fire department, which takes 10 minutes longer to respond? Or will the city respond on its own dime? Or will the city and county get involved in some annoying mutual aid agreement where it tries to charge the county for responding to calls on county property?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I usually have trouble getting multiple property owners to sign, but our best arguement is that by gaining the city services - fire especially, your insurance rating will go down. I don't think that arguement holds weight with vacant land, but maybe the property owner doesn't know that.

    You can also try the incognito public approach. Get some trusted residents that can complain to the council about the property. Get the people to talk to the council about the problems with the land and what can we do to annex all of it. Just make sure your name never comes up. Then it becomes the council's idea and you just have to facilitate it. Things always work better when it's their own idea and not someone feeding them - at least that's the case in my city.

  6. #6
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JimPlans View post
    I think the key here is tax revenue. I assume that property taxes accrue to whatever jurisdiction the prperty lies in, and that property taxes are an important part of local funding.

    Just have the council imagine the possibility that unincorporated property could be partially or even completely surrounded by the municipality, and residents or businesses on that property would have access (just through proximity) to roads, parks, and other infrastructure paid for by municipal taxes. In other words, those residents would get a "free ride" from municipal taxpayers. How would other taxpayers feel, especially when they may be paying higher taxes than unincorporated residents for the privilege of living in the city?

    Now have them imagine that a 40x1000 strip of land is not mowed, cleaned, or otherwise maintained, and when the municipal government tries to do something about it they can't because it's really in the county though its surrounded by the city. Local residents complain, the city council can't do anything, and they look like fools to their constituents.

    Finally, public safety. Who responds when there is a fire on unincorporated property that is surrounded by incorporated property? When there is a police call? Would city residents tolerate it if their next-door neighbor's house was on fire and the 911 call was routed to the county fire department, which takes 10 minutes longer to respond? Or will the city respond on its own dime? Or will the city and county get involved in some annoying mutual aid agreement where it tries to charge the county for responding to calls on county property?
    This should work... but from the sound of the original poster, logic has not gotten him/her too far with the Council.

    I've dealt with some very property rights councils, but I've never seen push-back on an annexation when you've got people trying to dodge city regulations while still getting city benefits, unless you've got an issue providing key services (police, fire, ems, solid waste, etc.).

    "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)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Identify comrades. Many times councils do not listen to planners, but will heed the fire or police chief. Take the chiefs out to coffee. Your city attorney may be a good resource as well.

  8. #8
    Member
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    Cheyenne, WY
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    Thanks all!

    Thanks for all the quick help! I think I'll try some of the guerilla tactics...and I'll keep checking back.

  9. #9
    You could get with the county to spite zone-- no issues of "takings" although spite properties are legally ambiguous.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    You may want to check with your state's law regarding annexations. I know from experience where I live it is illegal for a City to annex property if in doing so creates isolated islands of County jurisdiction. Now I may be misunderstanding your original post but it sounds as if the property owner will be creating islands.

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