When the city needs to grow, it annexes land currently outside the city limits. But a proposed annexation is causing debate amongst a group of business owners. The owners want to stay inside the county.
It all began when a farmer in Northwest Lubbock approached the city to voluntarily annex his vacant farm land for future use. The farm land lies in a triangle between North Clovis, Ursuline Street and North Quaker. The problem is if the farm land is annexed, the 26 businesses that lie along these roads here would also be annexed.
"The annexation is made available to every city to enable it to grow and it's the only way a city can grow," explains Lubbock Senior Planner Randy Henson. He says growth is always positive for the city. Though 26 business owners would agree that in this instance the city's plans are entering un welcomed territory.
"They're not in favor of paying taxes for police protection and fire protection, that's probably the main reason they would have objection is increased taxes," says City Councilman Jim Gilbreath. He has met with the business owners twice to discuss their options. "The city decided that it might be a good idea while we're annexing this much land to maybe bring the perimeter in also. And we found that the businesses are not in favor of this annexation so we're trying to work with them," said Councilman Gilbreath.
Yet their options are limited. Thanks to recent legislature, a contract can be negotiated where the city plans to recommend the businesses not be annexed at this time. "It would dictate to them what they could or couldn't do with their property, similar to zoning but they still wouldn't be in the city they may be able to achieve the best of both worlds," says Henson.
It would be a temporary arrangement, up to five years without being annexed. But in the long run the land will be annexed, with or without the business owners consent. "They understand that in the long term they are eventually going to become part of the city," explains Henson.
If the business owners decide they do not want to negotiate with the city, the city council has the power to annex them anyway since there are less than 100 home owners on the land. A public hearing will be held on the matter in Thursday's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
You may remember in 1999, a similar battle was fought in Southwest Lubbock where 400 people opposed annexation of land, they however, were annexed anyway.
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