Island annexation not happening … for now

By From page A1 | February 20, 2013

Island annexation does not include a beach and a Corona. It’s a process by which property within city limits, but belonging to the county, is reclaimed by the city by annexation. It’s a lengthy process and one that the Placerville City Council, looking at too much opposition and too little benefit, decided to scrap at the Feb. 12 City Council meeting.

In 2009, the exceutive  director of the Local Agency Formation Commission made a presentation to the City Council about “island properties”— those small islands with illogical boundaries that are part of the county yet are within the city and surrounded by city property. The presentation spoke to a streamlined process for doing away with islands with total areas of less than 150 acres by making them part of the city to promote boundary efficiency and provision of services and to give residents a voice in the city.

One hundred and eight properties totaling 140 acres were identified for possible annexation in five areas: Andler Way, Panning Way, Cebu Street, Debbie Lane and Middletown Road. Strong Andler Way resident opposition to annexation got that area removed from consideration and properties on Texerna Court were added.

Public workshops were organized to answer questions such as whether annexation would force residents to connect to city water and sewer (no), to  have mandatory garbage services (yes), affect property tax rates (no), give up animals allowed by the county (no).

At the meeting, city staff asked for direction about whether to continue to the next step of the annexation process, submission of a preliminary application to LAFCO. The six-to nine-month process would then include a formal application to LAFCO for their analysis and decision, accompanied by a fee, and possible environmental documents, the cost of which would be borne by the city. The streamlined process to approve island annexation without requiring protest proceedings or popular vote ends January 2014.

Benefits of annexation to the city are clearer delineation of city borders, a greater share of property tax revenue for the city and a greater consistency of land use and regulations.
“The property tax redistribution is the only real benefit for the city and it would only be about $5,000 to 7,000 a year,” said City Manager Cleve Morris.

Benefits to the residents would include police services (currently served by both county and city) and governance by the City Council.

Public input, from previous City Council discussions of island annexation and from a Neighborhood Chat on Jan. 29 where island annexation was the topic, has been mixed said Development Services Director Michael Webb — either neutral or negative. No one stepped forth in support of annexation, but plenty of residents of the neighborhoods in question spoke to the lack of any appreciable benefit to being part of the city.

Judy Madison, a Panning Way resident said, “I see no benefit for the city or for us and I’ve yet to talk to any of us who want this.”

Norton Freeland presented a petition signed by all property owners on Prescott Street in opposition to annexation and residents of Cebu Lane, Debbie Lane and Stone Lane also voiced opposition at the meeting.

“This annexation idea has been around for a long time and it pops up from time to time,” said Councilwoman Patty Borelli. “We’re not trying to shove this down people’s throats. This process is an expense for the city and we don’t have the money for it.”

“I’m not sure we need to spend more money on this with the opposition we’re hearing,” said Vice Mayor Carl Hagen.

“There are no supporters and no real benefit,” said Mayor Wendy Mattson. Both Councilwomen Carol Patton and Trisha Wilkins also indicated a lack of benefit and acknowledged resident opposition.

The council voted 5-0 to cease exploring island annexation at the current time, but directed staff to maintain maps of potential annexation areas for future consideration.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

Wendy Schultz

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