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Council hears ramifications of de-annexation

 


Electric City Council is considering de-annexing lands in the Osborne Bay area that were added to the city in 2009, and there’s a lot to consider.

Letting go of expanded city limits from that annexation would require a supermajority, or 60 percent of city voters.

Part of the reasoning for de-annexing the land has to do with hunting regulation. The area is designated as public land, so a hunter may be under the impression that they can hunt there until finding out the area is within city limits, in which hunting is prohibited. Currently, it is the responsibility of Electric City to provide police and other services to the area.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has stated, according to Electric City Clerk Russ Powers, that they would take back responsibility for such regulation, were the land de-annexed.

Part of the reason for annexing the land in the first place was to gain room to grow under the state’s Growth Management Act.

Currently, the population growth of Electric City is at one percent per year, according to city Planner Kurt Danison.

The one-percent growth rate, Powers explained, “isn’t enough to warrant having the land at the moment, but if a developer came in wanting to develop it, that would be good reason to keep it.”

The city has other areas in which it can grow, such as the Snyder Hill area, where an estimated 40 acres are available for expansion, but the city would have much less area for growth if the Osborne Bay area were de-annexed.

Danison addressed the council on the subject at the council’s April 10 meeting, explaining some of the ramifications of either shrinking the city’s boundaries or keeping the area, including the costs of providing utilities to the area, the ability to develop other growth management land, the long-term goals of the city, and more.

If the city council decided to move forward with de-annexation, the city would hold workshops for the public to both explain the effects of de-annexation, including the cost to do so, and allow the public to weigh in on the issue before bringing it to a vote further down the line.

Powers said that it is not common for cities to de-annex land.

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