Schroder: Clarification on waiving annexation fee

With all of the misinformation out there about the city council’s decision to waive city fees on the Vaca Creek property I through It might shed some light on the issue by restating my comments made at the meeting.

In 2010 the City of Martinez annexed  the Stonehurst and Alhambra Valley Ranch neighborhoods after consideration of all parcels  in the city’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) in the Alhambra Valley. After several public meetings it became apparent that the city would not be successful in any LAFCO protest hearings  that included all of the valley. It was decided to annex the contiguous parcels with Deferred Annexation Agreement that were required by LAFCO in order to obtain water service from the city. We also included other contiguous parcels of willing property owners. Not one of the property owners that were annexed into the city in 2010 paid any City or LAFCO fees. All were paid by the City of Martinez.

The Dunivan property was originally included in the 2010 annexation application, but had to be removed as it is bifurcated by the Urban Limit Line (ULL). Under Measure J (1/2 cent sales tax used for transportation projects and roads and administered by CCTA) any city that annexes property outside of the ULL will lose their share of the Measure J funds, which for Martinez is millions of dollars over several years. It was not the property owner that removed their property from the 2010 annexation application.

Now that the city can make minor adjustments to the ULL if 30 acres or under, we can move the ULL to include the entire 10 acre Dunivan parcel and eliminate what the LAFCO Executive Officer calls an “ illogical boundary and service challenge”. It also eliminates a “cherry stem” and creates a logical boundary that eliminates confusion on what agency is providing municipal services.

Although the annexation of multiple parcels at the same time is preferred, it is my position that the city continue to waive all city fees on individual parcels if the property meets three criteria:

1)      The parcel is contiguous to other parcels in the city limits

2)      The  parcel is developed

3)      The parcel has existing Martinez city water service

If a parcel, or parcels, are undeveloped and does not have Martinez city water service I do not support waiving city fees to annex the property.

The goal of the city is to eventually annex all parcels in our SOI, including the balance of the Alhambra Valley, Mt. View, Vine Hill, and North Pacheco. In fact,  we have passed resolutions stating our intent to annex the remainder of the valley which convinced LAFCO to approve Out of Area Service Agreements which allowed the city to provide water service to new developments in the Alhambra Valley including the new subdivision at the “T” of Alhambra Valley Road and Reliez Valley Road. Unfortunately we are not able to annex this development at this time as the parcels are not contiguous to other parcels that are in the city limits.

As we move forward with the annexation process in the Alhambra Valley a great deal of communication and education will be needed. If we are successful in convincing a majority of property owners to annex into the City of Martinez, charging each of them upwards of $10,000 in city fees and another $10,000 in LAFCO fees will certainly kill that effort.

– Mayor Rob Schroder

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