PLEASANTON – The Pleasanton City Council voted on Monday, May 23, to proceed with exploring an option to annex an additional portion U.S. Highway 69.
City Attorney Burton Harding has been directed to research the process the city needs to take to do what is described an an involuntary annexation.
Discounting claims by critics, including Linn County Commissioner Rick James, that the point of annexation is to increase city revenue by issuing citations for speeding, City Administrator Teresa Whitaker said the purpose was to stop the flow of illegal drugs into Pleasanton.
A written proposal to annex more of the highway included the area of U.S. 69 already within city limits and the area of proposed expansion. Currently on the southbound portion of the highway, a portion from 1200 Road to just north of 1000 Road is in city limits. On the northbound side, the highway from 1000 Road north to 1100 Road is in city limits.
Once annexed, both north- and south-bound lanes from 850 Road and 1350 Road would be in the city limits. It would increase from about three miles total currently to about 10 miles. The addition would cover both exits that lead into the city.
An informational packet prepared with the help of Police Chief Tristan Snyder revealed that from 2018 to date, 76 arrests have been made on or near U.S. 69, most of those were for illegal drugs. Included in the packet was a synopsis of all of those cases.
According to city officials, the number of drug cases in the city has increased multifold over the past few years. So this year, the police department has been involved in 26 cases and is on pace to outstrip the 86 drug cases handled by city police in 2020, a record year. In 2016, there were only eight drug cases in the city.
One of the drawbacks to annexation would be the need to run sewer line to two properties on the east side of Tucker Road north of Mid-State Rental, where the Golden Arrow vehicle tow lot and a residence are located. Whitaker said neither property had facilities, and yet the cost to install sewer lines there would be about $12,000 excluding labor.
Because it would be an involuntary annexation, Whitaker said, there would be costs to publish legal notices.
It was evident that the council continued to harbor some resentment about the tow lot, which gained county approval last year. However, then as now, city officials said the use of the property as a tow lot ran counter to the city’s wishes to develop the area into more of a commercial zone.
Councilman Jake Mattingley deemed the county’s granting a conditional-use permit for the lot as “underhanded.”
Discussion about the tow lot also triggered a conversation about the city’s application to gain control of its growth area. In a separate interview, Whitaker said that about two decades ago, the city filed an interlocal agreement with the county to control zoning on the outskirts of Pleasanton city limits. And while Pleasanton chose areas close in to city limits, the county’s planning commission never formalized the paperwork.
In the meeting, Whitaker told the council that annexing the additional portion of U.S. 69 would not commit the city to any liability to maintain the area.