The Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee on Monday endorsed a preliminary plan for annexing land to the west, south and east of Washington.
Members voted unanimously to support the proposal developed by the Washington Planning and Zoning Commission.
The commission’s recommendation to proceed with the plan has been submitted to the city council which has scheduled a workshop Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. to discuss it.
During Monday’s meeting, Darren Lamb, community and economic development director, gave an overview of the plan which the council could amend.
Lamb said if the council agrees to move the plan forward, work would begin developing a Plan of Intent that would outline specifics on how and when the city would extend services to the annexed areas if the plan is approved by voters. The council would hold at least one public hearing before voting to place the measure on the ballot.
Lamb said if the council proceeds, the earliest date that an election could be held would be in April 2013.
If the annexation plan is put to a vote, separate elections will be held within the city and areas to be annexed. If the measure receives a simple majority vote both in and outside the city, the annexation plan will be adopted.
If, however, it is rejected by voters in either area, the city would have the option to hold a second, combined election. At the election, the measure would require a two-thirds majority to pass.
Lamb presented maps of the proposed areas and directed people to the city’s website to view the full plan.
He noted that the city tentatively proposes to take over all streets that currently are paved and 16 feet wide or wider if they are dedicated to the city. There will be no requirement to add curb and gutter or widen the streets.
Jim Briggs, city administrator, said the city already has agreements with public water districts No. 1 and No. 3 to provide water and sewer service for some areas, but may have to negotiate agreements for other areas if they are annexed.
Part of the discussion centered on the city’s efforts to annex Highway 100 right of way to provide a consistent level of emergency response. Lamb noted that portions of the highway are inside the city limits while other parts are outside.
Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer and a member of the committee, said the state’s policy is to not approve voluntary annexation of right of way if adjacent landowners are in opposition.
Lamb and others said they disagree with that policy.
Briggs said adjoining property owners outside the city fear that if the city annexes highway right of way, their property will be next.
Bill Miller Sr., committee member, said people in Union, Pacific, and St. Clair must be different because they have not fought annexation in the past.
“There is a mindset in Washington that is very dangerous; that the status quo is OK,” Miller remarked. “Some people inside the city sympathize with annexation opponents outside the city. They’re not looking to the future. They’re not thinking about tomorrow.”
Bill Straatmann, committee chairman, said everything the transportation committee has worked on focused on future growth. “That can’t occur unless we have an orderly plan,” he commented. “Our whole philosophy on transportation is looking forward to the future. The same is true for annexation.
Mayor Sandy Lucy said the goal now is to speak to as many individuals and groups as possible and explain the importance of the annexation plan.
“We’re looking for input,” Lucy said. “To date, we’ve only heard from the opposition.”
Following are the general areas proposed for annexation:
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 the north side of Bieker Road and both sides of South Point Road 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.