While it cannot be exactly called “annexation mania,” Gardner has started the process of annexing two properties in quick succession.
The city approved the immediate annexation of its water treatment plan on Hillsdale Lake and kicked off the process on a 261 acre property north of Interstate 35 during a Sept. 3 council meeting.
City officials say that by annexing the Hillsdale Water Treatment plant, the city will save money on permit fees which it would otherwise pay Miami County for the recently approved expansion project.
It remains unclear why the city has waited this long to annex the plant which first went into operation more than 20 years ago.
Although officials say the city does not need to consult anyone on the process, it is nonetheless noteworthy that the plant is located in a neighboring county, and the land is not contiguous to the city.
The annexation of the property north of the interstate is also noteworthy because the highway has for years appeared to be a barrier to the city’s expansion eastwards.
This annexation may be the catalyst to bring services to the area and spur development to the unincorporated lands between Gardner, Olathe, Spring Hill and Edgerton.
We applaud the council for this foresight.
It is, however, concerning that in the consent to annex agreement between the city and the property owners, the city was given a little over a month to come up with a development plan agreeable to the property owners or the deal is off.
We are cognizant of the fact that the city is growing, and more land is needed and that this may spur economic development and grow the tax base.
For that we applaud the city.
However, it’s important for officials to realize the consequences of annexation – ability to provide necessary services.
It’s also a bit surprising the city has only one month to come up with a development plan that is agreeable to the property owner.
We ask that the city please exercise the same caution and due diligence they would with any other developer and that any official- elected or appointed-who may profit from this recuse themselves.
We also caution that in the rush for development several decades ago, a technicality led to some industrial properties that are still not on the tax rolls.
It pays to exercise caution.