Editor: Mayor Potter’s lengthy discussion of annexation is misleading. She offers 3 options specific to a single annexation, that of the area known as the North Villages. She’s exactly right that the county has granted considerable density to that area. She goes on to list 3 options.
1. (1) The developer can do nothing and remain part of the county.
2. (2) The developer can annex into the city with the same level of density.
3. (3) The developer can band with others and form their own city.
She omitted the forth option. They can annex into the city and then work with the city on a new plan that would include density that may or may not resemble the density already granted by the county. If they don’t expect higher density, which translates simply into a better business case, there is no reason to request annexation. Annexation requests are driven by money. There is no other advantage in this case. The county provides all of the services any neighborhood, including mine, needs.
The Wave ran a front-page column on the issue of annexation mentioning that Councilman Wayne Hardman had planned to change his vote on the annexation planning map Mayor Potter mentioned. Indeed, he did. Think of a flash bang grenade going off.
The Wave did not mention that a developer sought annexation of a tract of lane off US40. It was a small parcel but the density would be far higher than the county would grant. After considerable discussion, Councilwoman Franco noted that the property did not qualify for the zoning that would allow the density. After some back and forth, councilmembers Crittenden, Franco and Hardman voted against the annexation. Someone wasted a lot of time and perhaps money to get that far in the process only to be denied. I have to believe they were getting positive signals somewhere.
I have twice collected signatures to challenge even modest increases in density in the county. In doing so I often got an earful from residents who are sickened by what they believe is overdevelopment. They talk about traffic and how difficult it can be to turn left onto Center. They talk about now having to wait more than one turn at a stop light, which wasn’t even there 15 years ago. What I hear over and over again is that those of us who live here are far less important to those in power than developers or those with certain last names.
I’ll repeat, the only reason for an annexation petition to the city council is money and density is money. The challenge for the mayor and the city council is to recognize that enriching some must be balanced with protecting the character of our valley. In that sense, all of us have property rights. Those rights include pubic safety, mobility, clean air, lack of overcrowded schools, and not being pushed into higher and higher property taxes to accommodate poorly managed growth.
Thank You, Thank You!
Editor: My lawn clippings bag was heavy. Then rain and more rain, and it was heavier. I couldn’t lift it into the garbage can.
I thought I could catch a neighbor - one of which had already put their garbage can out on the road. Everyone thought I was a bag lady or a friend waving at them. After 30 minutes more, I was a bit more aggressive.
Thank you to a young man in a red truck! He stopped, turned around, and helped me.
Kindness, caring and awareness - I was so grateful.