City paves way for expansion

Roads End tops list for annexation

The News Guard

A new law that could boost Lincoln City’s ability to annex adjacent areas, starting with Roads End, received a warm welcome from Lincoln City Council at its Monday, July 26 meeting.

The proposed ordinance would allow Council to designate any area outside its limits but within the urban growth boundary, or UGB, as an annexation target.

The area’s residents would then have 60 days to sign a consent to annex or risk having the City shut off their water supply.

“This is the first step in enabling Council to do what I believe should have been done a long time ago,” City Manager David Hawker said.

Hawker said Lincoln City has, for many years, fueled development in areas like Roads End and Neotsu by providing water to areas outside the city limits without requiring that they annex to the City.

More than 20 percent of the City’s water customers are outside the city limits.

All water customers outside the city limits pay double the regular cost of the service but Hawker said these increased payments don’t come close to covering the additional costs of that larger service area.

“We have spent a huge amount of money,” he said, “A huge amount of money. Just recently, $9 million we’ve spent for water improvements.”

The City claims Roads End residents also reap the benefits of other facilities funded by the taxpayers within the city limits, such as roads, parks, open space and, increasingly, coverage by City police.

If Roads End is annexed, the City expects the increased revenues to outweigh increased service costs, although it has yet to produce a firm estimate of the expected gain.

Other arguments listed by Hawker in favor of putting Roads End at the top of the annexation list include its contiguity with the rest of the city and the existence of a 1978 water services agreement that he said made it “quite clear” the area would join the City within 25 years.

After that agreement expired in 2003, the City adopted a policy of requiring all new water customers within the UGB to sign a consent to annex in order to receive water.

In 2008, that policy was declared “valid and lawful” by U.S. Magistrate Court Judge the Honorable Thomas M. Coffin.

However, after six years in place, the policy has secured consents from just 258 of the roughly 715 developed properties in Roads End, leaving it some way short of the “triple majority” required by the state.

State law requires that, in order to annex, the City obtain consents from a majority of property owners, representing a majority of the acreage and value of the area in question.

Council asked staff to accelerate the consent-gathering process in May after authorizing a $224,000 bypass of a failing booster station at N.E. Port Drive, which brings water to Roads End homes.

Hawker reminded councilors that if they approve the proposed ordinance and go on to designate Roads End as the City’s first annexation target, it will still take some time to gather the consents.

If the City obtains consents from a triple majority of property owners, Council would be able to annex the area after a public hearing.

Hawker said the City wants to retain the residential character of Roads End and has no interest in allowing hotels to intrude on the area.

Mayor Lori Hollingsworth said Council has been talking about annexing Roads End for many years.

“I think we’re ready,” she said.

The proposed ordinance will be brought back for approval at Council’s Monday, Aug. 9, meeting, 7 p.m. City Hall

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Filed under Annexation, City Actions, Lakeside

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