Town Council Regular and Study Session


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  Item # 2.       
Meeting Date: 07/01/2020  
Submitted By: Amanda Jacobs, Town Manager's Office
Department: Town Manager's Office  

This item is for information and discussion only.
One of the objectives in the Town Council FY 19/20 - FY 20/21 Strategic Leadership Plan is to develop a comprehensive annexation blueprint to guide the Town's strategic growth and economic expansion.

Annexation is the process by which municipalities incorporate new territory into their municipal boundaries, and is one of the most lasting actions a city or town can take. In addition to benefits to local businesses, annexation may bring additional services and public funds to invest in the community. Potential additional revenues include sales tax, bed tax, and a portion of state-shared revenues, such as state income tax, highway user revenue, vehicle license tax and state sales tax. These additional revenues should ensure services, such as police, parks & recreation and transportation, are continued at current or improved levels of service.
The purpose of the Oro Valley Annexation Strategy is to identify, prioritize and prepare for future annexations that are economically beneficial to the Town while also considering the impacts to residents and the social, aesthetic and environmental quality of the Town. The proposed Annexation Strategy is a reference document and a blueprint to facilitating future decisions regarding annexation. It is intended to be used by Town staff and the Town Council, in conjunction with the voter-ratified Your Voice Our Future General Plan, to gain a thorough understanding of the implications of annexations and provide a framework for proceeding with annexations that are beneficial. The following goals identified in the General Plan will be used when considering future annexations: 
  • Develop a diversified and robust economic base to support long-term economic stability. (Economy Focus) 
  • Maintain financial and economic stability and sustainability. (Community Goals)
  • Provide the community with a wide range of services, amenities, shopping and dining opportunities and housing types that meet the needs of current and future residents. (Community Goals) 
  • Provide diverse transportation choices that are safe, user-friendly, efficient and accessible, that maintain the lifestyle of residents, and that support employees, visitors and the local economy. (Development Goals) 
  • Support the development of diverse housing types within the community. (Community Policy)
On February 5, 2003, the Town Council adopted a policy that updated the established guidelines for future annexations to ensure they are logical, practical, financially feasible, and in the best interest of the Town (Resolution No. (R)03-06 - Attachment 1). This Annexation Strategy is intended to consolidate and replace all previous policies and resolutions into a single, comprehensive document with the recommendation of reviewing the strategy every five years.
The Town was originally incorporated in 1974 with a small 2.4 square mile area, and through a series of annexations since then, has resulted in the community that exists today. All but three of the 20 subsequent annexations since incorporation have been less than three square miles, 12 of which were less than one square mile. The largest annexation incorporated nearly 13 square miles, an area that includes most of the Rancho Vistoso planned area development. A copy of the Annexation History can be found on page 5 of the Proposed Annexation Strategy (Attachment 2).

Future annexations will continue to be carried out in accordance with state law, which includes:
  • The annexed area must be contiguous to (directly bordering on) a current Town limit for at least 300 feet.
  • The annexed area must be at least 200 feet in width in all places.
  • The annexed area's length (extending out from the Town limit) may be no more than twice the distance of its width (adjacent to the Town limit). For example, if the area is contiguous for 300 feet, the annexation can extend outward for up to 600 feet from the current Town limit.
  • More than 50% of property owners in a proposed annexation area, representing more than 50% of the assessed valuation of that area, must sign a petition in favor of annexation in order for it to be successful.
Determining priority areas for annexation is necessary in order to identify for the community which areas are most beneficial for Oro Valley.  In order to evaluate those areas and determine priorities, the following criteria were developed by which opportunities would be assessed:  
  • The Town’s ability to provide the full range of Town services and facilities, and the ability for the area to financially support those services.
  • The potential of the area to accommodate job growth.
  • The opportunity to incorporate existing commercial enterprises that would generate revenues for the Town.
  • The opportunity to control urban growth using Town development standards in areas where future development is likely.
  • The importance of the area in terms of key multi-modal transportation or open space corridor.
  • Creation of logical Town boundaries and service areas.
  • The perceived level of support for annexation by affected property owners/residents.
  • The area’s importance in terms of it being a gateway to the Town.
  • Consistency with the Town’s Your Voice Our Future General Plan goals and policies.
Using the above criteria, the priority areas that Oro Valley will focus include both developed and undeveloped (vacant) land. Annexation of developed residential areas allows the Town to capture some state-shared revenue that those residents pay to the state that are returned only to incorporated cities and towns based on population. In some cases, these areas serve as connectors to potential future annexations. Additionally, annexing commercial areas allows the Town to collect sales taxes and, in some areas, bed taxes. Annexing land that is primarily undeveloped enables the Town to properly plan for future development, including the phasing of infrastructure. Staff has proposed four priority areas for future annexation, which can be found on pages 9 - 13 in the proposed Annexation Strategy.

Annexation has been an important tool for the Town of Oro Valley since it was incorporated in 1974. The Town has increased its corporate boundaries by 32.52 square miles through 48 annexations and has gained a diversified and robust economic base. Continuing to annex developed and vacant land will provide Oro Valley with a wide range of services, amenities, housing, shopping and dining opportunities that meet the needs of current and future residents, thereby maintaining the financial and economic stability of the community.

Next Steps
Based on Council's feedback, the Annexation Strategy will be considered as a resolution for adoption at a future regular Town Council meeting.

This item is for presentation and discussion only.
Resolution 03-06
DRAFT Annexation Strategy
Proposed Annexation Strategy - staff presentation


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