Landowners Reject AV’s Annexation Overture

APPLE VALLEY—The owners of more than 2,700 acres on Apple Valley’s doorstep have turned down an invitation to be annexed into the town.
Town officials were pushing to have Apple Valley gobble up 2,774 acres referred to as the Golden Triangle, an area between Interstate 15 on the west, Dale Evans Parkway on the east, Johnson Road on the south and Morro Road on the north.
Last July, the town quietly proposed annexing the property, calculating that by taking over jurisdiction of what is now unincorporated county land, it could eventually impose up to $55 million in developer impact fees when the property is developed and that it would realize $1.3 million or more in property tax revenue over the next 20 years. The annexation would also have resulted in the area’s sales, property transfer and highway user taxes, and motor vehicle in-lieu fees accruing to the town, and it would have cleared the way for the Apple Valley Fire Protection District to net more than $5 million in fire developer impact fees. At a public hearing held last summer pertaining to the proposal, only one resident of the area objected to the annexation and the council unanimously approved initiating the annexation process.
The annexation would have provided the 2,774 acres and its residents with the full range of municipal services currently overseen by City Hall, including but not limited to law enforcement, road maintenance, street lights, code enforcement and animal control. The city further intended to allow for a mixture of housing and factories in the currently rural area with 168 residents, such that low density estate residential single family units would be allowed on 778 acres and industrial uses would have been permitted on 812 acres.
While town officials maintain the area’s residents were given adequate advance notice of the annexation attempt, many residents claimed they were not kept informed of the town’s intentions. Upon learning of the town’s application, many of the Golden Triangle’s residents objected to the takeover.
The county’s Local Agency Formation Commission, known by the acronym LAFCO, oversees such jurisdictional matters. An important criteria applied in annexation determinations is the willingness of the property owners to be annexed. By standards applied by LAFCO, if fewer than 25 percent of the landowners are opposed to the annexation, the town could proceed with the merger. If more than 25 percent but fewer than fifty percent express opposition to the annexation, the matter must be put up for a vote if the annexation is to proceed. And if more than fifty percent oppose the annexation, the annexation process must be suspended for at least one year.
A certificate of the termination of the annexation consideration dated May 3 signed by Rebecca Lowery, LAFCO’s deputy clerk, was received by the Apple Valley Community Development Department on May 10, informing town officials well over half of the area’s residents are opposed to the annexation. According to Lowery, the annexation consideration was terminated “due to protest by a majority of the registered voters within the reorganization area.”
The Golden Triangle in Apple Valley’s sphere of influence should not be confused with another area in the High Desert formerly referred to as the Golden Triangle, consisting of the property between the I-15 Freeway on the east, Highway 395 on the west and Bear Valley Road on the north. That property was the subject of an annexation war between Hesperia and Victorville in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a battle eventually won by Victorville.

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