Voter approval of annexations

Senior Jefe

     
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#1
I was down the road over the July 4th holiday and was visiting friends in Boulder, Colo. While I was there at the local farmer's market I was asked to sign a petition that would require voter approval of annexations of 5 acres or more. I had a short discussion about the issue with a former city council person who was collecting the signatures. The best reason she had for such a requirement was that some current city council members have gotten campaign money from some local developers. My response was that was a totally different issue.

I think the real reason is a group of citizens is trying to keep Wal-Mart out of Boulder and to keep the University of Colorado from expanding their southside campus. A local developer would like to annex a property that could make a suitable site for a bigbox retailer however a city study found that only Wal-Mart would be interested in it. The University owns an area the the City and County has designated as open space in their Comp. Plans from may understanding.

Does anyone work for a community that requires voter approval of annexations and how has that worked or not worked? Do you think its a good or bad idea?
 
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#2
It's been a touchy subject in Florida, so is outlined in the statutes and must be approved by voters. We've had developers try to sidestep ordinances by trying to annex into adjacent areas, and voting has been a pretty good way to control that kind of nonsense (pursuing annexation to avoid regs seems to be an M.O. of Walmart, imo). While Fla is currently considering a bill that would require voter approval of all comp plan amendments (which is a horrible, nightmarish idea for this planner), voter approval for annexations has seemed reasonable. It will more than likely have an influence on the tax base one way or another, and the residents' future taxes and city/county services. If the site really is an appropriate place for a big box, then they can apply to amend the comp plan and can't really deny it just because they don't like Wal-Mart.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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#4
Annexation by vote seems like a bad idea. You have a representative government for a reason. If it does occur, then the municiplaity had better have very precise and defenisible enabling legislation.
 

Globe

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#5
I think it is a bad idea. What if it is an area the City can not serve? I wonder how common that is. I have not run into that, most of the people I deal with don't want to be messed with.
 

teshadoh

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#6
That is one aspect I'm cautious of when I move to Boulder in 2 weeks. This 'active democracy' comes out more like some liberal tyranny, anti-growth folks in Boulder have a simply selfish motivation to 'stop growth'. There is a reason we elect politicians & there is a reason we have zoning boards - to make those decisions on our behalf.
 
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