Apparently we are not the only ones who question the Gardner City Council’s annexation methods.
In September the council approved a Consent for Annexation for the Hillsdale Water Plant, 22705 Moonlight Rd., in Miami County. At that meeting, the council determined that because the city owned the property it did not need to go before the Miami County Commission.
We were concerned at the time that the city could not arbitrarily annex noncontiguous property in another county. But Ryan Denk, city attorney, assured the council that it was okay, as noted in the city’s September minutes: “Attorney Denk said no, the initial communication with Miami County was that an island annexation has to go before the county commissioners, except on city-owned land. If it’s city-owned property, we approve a consent or petition to ourselves. At the next meeting, you’ll approve an ordinance, and per Kansas Statute KSA 12 5282, an ordinance is all that’s needed, not county commission approval.”
Apparently Miami County disagreed, asking why Gardner city had circumvented the commission and began work before receiving commission approval.
And Denk, according to media reports, assured them at a December Miami County Commission meeting that it was all a misunderstanding and that he thought Gardner had filed an annexation petition in October.
Denk said Miami County’s code enforcement people had a different interpretation from Gardner’s views regarding work that began without proper permits or annexation.
Quite a flip flop.
Gardner has egg on their face.
And that’s why we’re concerned with the more recent “summary annexation” notices.
Gardner has annexed about 800 acres in the last six months. Those annexations have been shrouded in secrecy, with one major annexation not even posted on a published agenda.
For landowners to agree to one annexation, Gardner’s council had to approve their development plans within 30 days. They did. With very little public input.
Growth costs money. It requires infrastructure: roads, sidewalks, utilities.
We need to quit taking shortcuts to save pennies, especially when shortcuts can lead to spending thousands to correct mistakes.
Gardner council said last September they would save $150,000 in permit fees if they annexed the water plant, but how much has that shortcut cost in terms of goodwill, attorney fees and delays?
Healthy growth requires experienced leadership, good legal advice and respect for the rights of our neighbors.