It likely will be a couple of months before the Washington City Council makes a decision on whether or not to proceed with a proposal to annex property to the west, south and east of the current city limits.
The plan, approved last month by the city’s planning and zoning commission, was on the council’s agenda Monday night and, as expected, the issue drew a large crowd of property owners opposed to the city taking in their land.
Council members, however, made it clear that they are not prepared to make any quick decision on advancing the plan with public hearings or placing it on the ballot.
Mayor Sandy Lucy, in a letter to the council, said she plans to ask members of various city boards and commissions to review the latest annexation proposal and provide input to the council over the next several months.
Lucy serves on the planning commission.
“Although we have heard opposition from residents who will be directly affected by the proposed annexation, those individuals in favor of annexation have been silent,” Lucy said in her letter. “It seems to me we need to hear from both sides.”
She said the city staff could make presentations to other boards at their regular meetings.
“The next two months should give us plenty of time for additional input. We could then proceed with out discussion at the first council meeting in September,” the mayor said.
“We need to go to school now and table this to a future meeting,” Councilman Steve Sullentrup said after listening to comments from property owners.
“We’ll take some time and look for answers,” said Connie Groff, council member.
Councilman Tim Brinker called the plan a “great footprint,” but he said the council should seek to adopt a proposal that is “amicable” to all parties. “I think that’s possible.”
The council can solicit input from other boards and officials, “but the final decision is ultimately up to the council to take in all, some or none” of the areas proposed for annexation, said City Counselor Mark Piontek.
Keith Ratcliff called the annexation plan “really aggressive,” and “incredibly expensive” to extend services to areas outside the city.
“The entire plan is not appropriate,” Ratcliff said. “It will disrupt the whole community,” he added, noting that it would result in a fight like the city has not seen in a decade.
Wayne Brinker, who lives off Betsy Lane, west of the Heidmann Industrial Park, said property owners in his neighborhood are “100 percent opposed” to being annexed. He said the reason given by the city for adding that area was to square off the city’s west boundary. “That’s a pretty poor reason,” he said.
Craig Walde, who lives in Meadowlake Farms subdivision off Pottery Road, said the subdivision had an informal meeting and 31 to 32 lot owners attended. Of those, 27 were against and only two were in favor of annexation. Others were on the fence, he said.
Bernie Westhoelter, 4871 South Point Road, said there is a lot of opposition in that area. An informal poll showed 22 of 28 property owners are firmly opposed, and only two were in favor of annexation. Four others were undecided.
“We need no annexation until development occurs,” Westhoelter said.
Steve Emke lives in Meadowlake Farms. He said he opposes annexation but wants to hear what the subdivision residents would get if the area is taken into the city.
Jim Briggs, city administrator, said that would be spelled out when the city writes up the actual Annexation Plan of Intent.
Others speaking at the meeting indicated they wanted their land removed from the plan.
Following are the general areas proposed in the latest plan:
This area generally includes Meadowlake Farms subdivision and large parcels east of the subdivision extending south from High Street.
The original south annexation area included Emerald City subdivision, Summer Hill Estates and Alexander Estates and lots along Pottery Road, all which were later removed from the plan.
The annexation area west of the Washington city limits includes a large tract of ground north of Westlink Industrial Drive and south of West Main Street, property along Betsy Lane to the northwest of Vossbrink Drive, a small parcel along the south side of Bluff Road just west of Heidmann Industrial Park and pockets of property north of Highway 100 surrounded by land that’s in the city limits as well as Highway 100 right of way along stretches outside the city limits.
The proposed east area includes large areas of agricultural property on the north and south sides of Highway 100, including parcels along Bieker and South Point roads and the 60-acre parcel purchased by the Washington School District that lies east of St. John’s Road and south of Old Highway 100.
The latest plan also proposes to take in property north of Old Highway 100 to the Missouri River, from the existing city limits to a point east of St. John’s Road.
Go to the Washington city website to view maps of the annexation areas.