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Citrus Heights moves ahead with next step to expand city’s borders

A map shows four areas of unincorporated Sacramento County that could become part of the City of Citrus Heights, if proposed annexation moves forward and is successful. // M. Hazlip, Citrus Heights Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
The City Council on Thursday voted 5-0 to seek bids from consultants to conduct public outreach and look further into the financial impact of annexing up to four areas that are located just outside the borders of the city.

In a brief remark prior to the vote, Vice Mayor Bret Daniels, who has been an advocate of annexation, said with a smile: “go faster.” No other comments were voiced, other than from Councilwoman Jayna Karpinski-Costa, who asked for clarification on whether a vote would be required by affected residents.

The city’s community development director, Casey Kempenaar, said a vote from those in affected areas would still be necessary, regardless whether the council opts to annex one or more of the areas. He said the current step in the process is “to test the waters,” regarding the feasibility of annexing one or more of the areas.

As previously reported, the areas being considered for annexation are:

Greenback Gateway. The area is located between Auburn Boulevard and Interstate 80, and would extend the city limit west to the freeway. Annexing the area would likely mean Century Theaters, East Lawn Cemetery, Verner Oaks Apartments, Country Squire Estates Mobile Home Park, and a Public Storage facility would become part of Citrus Heights.

Roseville Pointe. A largely residential area along Roseville Road just north of Antelope Road. The area includes 289 single-family residential units, along with 6.8 acres of vacant land zoned commercial, a 1.1-acre parcel with a water tank, and a 1.8-acre park.

Dewey Drive. The boundaries for this potential area to be annexed are unclear, but would include areas near Dewey Drive and Celtic Cross Church, possibly including Mercy San Juan Medical Center off Coyle Avenue.

Fair Oaks Blvd. The area includes the commercial center on the northwest corner of the intersection at Fair Oaks Boulevard and Madison Avenue.

The agenda packet for the council’s Jan. 26 meeting included a draft of the “Request for Proposals,” outlining the goals and requirements for any submitted proposals from consultants. The project goal is described as giving the city a comprehensive understanding of the fiscal impact of annexing each of the four areas, as well as the level of support or opposition of residents, businesses, and property owners in those areas.

For each area being considered, proposals will be required to include a fiscal impact analysis, community outreach plan, evaluation of specific boundaries, and an implementation plan, including next steps, costs, and decisions for consideration by City Council.

A timeline of the process for the city to select a consultant was included in Thursday’s agenda packet. The RFP was released Friday, the day after the council meeting, with the deadline for submission of proposals being March 3.

Of the received proposals, the finalists are to be notified on March 22, and then interviewed on March 29. The date for awarding the contract is tentatively set for April 14.

As previously reported, annexation would require at least three public hearings, as well as approval from affected property owners. During a protest hearing, if less than 25% protest the annexation, the process can move to completion without a vote. But if a majority protest, the proceedings would be terminated without a vote.

However, if between 25-50% protest, the annexation proposal would go to voters in the annexation area and require a majority approval. Negotiations involving Sacramento County and the Local Agency Formation Commission would also be necessary.

A prior report in 2006 found that annexing Greenback Gateway and Roseville Pointe would result in an annual deficit to the city, depending on conditions at the time. However, a current assessment could find a different result.

Revenue shortfalls could be compensated for through a special tax or benefit assessment on impacted properties, with residents voting on whether to tax themselves, according to a staff report.

Why annexation?
Annexation has been considered in the past, and the city’s General Plan has listed a goal to pursue possible annexation near Interstate 80 as a way to “gain better control of routes into the city and to establish a distinctive city presence along Interstate 80.”

Daniels has described the annexation proposal as “cleanup” of the city’s borders, to include areas that should have been included in the original incorporation effort 25 years ago.

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