Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Growth is necessary, not always painless
By the Advocate Editorial Board
Feb. 8, 2014 at 4:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 7, 2014 at 8:08 p.m.
Victoria is a growing city. We have seen some positive growth in many different areas over the past few years, and much of that growth has occurred in the northern part of town.
To help prepare for more growth in that area, the city of Victoria is planning to annex more than 733 acres of land, 661 of which will be along U.S. Highway 77 North. This proposal will be what is known as an involuntary annexation, which O.C. Garza, the city's communications director, says is fairly rare for the city. Most are voluntary annexations, which occur when a party comes to the city and requests to be annexed in, he said.
Because this annexation is involuntary, it is receiving some pushback from businesses that have been operating outside of the city limits for years. At the last City Council meeting, several of these business owners expressed their concerns and objections to the proposal. Some objected to having to pay city taxes, and others did not want to become part of the city's water and sewage systems, including the Mexican restaurant La Fogata, which just spent $50,000 on a septic system.
Lynn Short, the city's public works director, said the city's current ordinance requires individuals to tie in to the city's water and sewer systems within three years of annexation. He gave three main reasons for the ordinance: first, to protect the natural underground resources within city limits; second, to protect citizens by ensuring they have access to a quality, regulated water supply; and third, to protect the city's investment through residents tying in and paying rates for the services provided. He did not know whether it would be possible to grandfather in those who already have a water and sewer system in place.
This may be seen as an unwelcome move by many in the county, but it should not be entirely unexpected. As the city has grown, the need for more room to expand has become more and more evident. This move will allow the city to prepare for future expansion by placing water and sewer systems in an area that is already seeing growth.
This process has taken place in cities across America time and again. If cities do not grow and develop, they wither and die, and eventually, growth becomes impossible without expanding the city limits.
But while this is a proactive step that can be considered good planning on the part of the city, it is intruding on the homes and businesses of people who intentionally chose to build outside city limits.
Because of this, we encourage the city to make an effort to make this transition as painless for these residents as possible. We encourage the city to consider allowing these residents to keep their own water and sewer systems if they choose.
Annexation by the city is not just a negative thing for residents. City services will be available to them, including curbside trash and recycling, and property values will also increase.
Growth is an inevitable result of success, but it's not always easy or painless. We understand the city's need to expand, and we hope residents who will soon be added to the city limits will experience as little inconvenience as possible during this process.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.