Antioch Council Agrees to Include Residential Viera Area in Annexation of County Land

By James Ott

The City of Antioch had decided to attempt to annex all of unincorporated North East Antioch after a letter from the Local Agency Formation Commission, (LAFCO), urged them to do so.

At the June 12 City Council Meeting council members voted unanimously to support the annexation after the recommendation of city staff. The city had previously only been working with the county and LAFCO to annex “Area 1” of unincorporated Antioch after residents in the remaining areas of “2a” and “2b” voted to oppose being annexed by the city.

That’s the residential area made infamous by the kidnapping and imprisonment of Jaycee Dugard by Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

In June, 2007 the city council voted to submit papers for annexation of “Area 1” after they asked residents and property owners in “Area 1” as well as areas “2a” and “2b” whether or not they supported being annexed.

Area 1” was and still is uninhabited so the few property owners in the area were polled and supported annexation overall.

Areas 2a and 2b both opposed annexation with about 60 percent of voters and landowners in 2a opposing and around 75 percent in 2b opposing as well.

The process of annexing Area 1 continued but was stalled within a year by the city and county not being able to come to terms on how to split taxes in the soon-to-be-annexed area.

Although the city now says that those issues are mostly ironed out and will be resolved and presented to city council very soon, on May 11 the city received the letter from LAFCO wanting areas 2a and 2b annexed along with Area 1.

LAFCO said that the reason that it wants all of the land annexed is that the original approval they gave to annex as well as their approval of a service agreement to provide power and electricity to the annexed areas by PG&E and GenOn, was contingent on annexing all of unincorporated North East Antioch.

LAFCO also said they do not want to leave parts of the area un-annexed because it would create unincorporated “islands” that the county has to stretch their resources to cover. They mentioned the 2009 Jaycee Dugard kidnapping as an example of the county having difficulty covering such “islands” with police and fire forces.

In their letter to city council, LAFCO also stated that GenOn previously pledged $1 million dollars to both the city and the county if the annexation of all of North East Antioch was complete by December 2012.

LAFCO said that these incentives and commitments as well as “an impending deadline with critical LAFCO statutes schedule to sunset,” were good reasons to annex the entire unincorporated area.

Normally state annexation laws say that any unincorporated area with more than 12 voters – which both areas 2a and 2b have – would have to have it’s residents approve annexation with a majority vote before it could be annexed. However, if LAFCO determines such areas to be unincorporated “islands”, which it has all but declared for 2b but not 2a, then they could go ahead with the annexation without a voter approval.

City staff said that annexing areas 2a and 2b would likely cost more in public services than it would gain in taxes from the small amount of residents in both areas, making annexation likely a “break even” prospect or perhaps a slight net loss for the city. This does not take into account the $1 million they could receive from GenOn if they annex before December 2012, however.

Also city staff said the city could incur an estimated $3 million in infrastructure improvement costs from 2b because of the significant sewer and water upgrades it would need to it’s “over 50-year-old” septic systems.

Those costs could be somewhat offset by tax revenues from Area 1, said staff.

While 2a may need future improvements for any new residents, city staff said that that would be paid for by future developer costs and so shouldn’t have much of an immediate impact.


One Comment to “Antioch Council Agrees to Include Residential Viera Area in Annexation of County Land”

  1. Skip says:

    This is simply outright theft on the part of the council and their cronies at the LAFCO. GenOn offers them a cool million and they’re willing to seize land that doesn’t belong to them imposing new taxation and restrictions on their residents. Even after the residents made it clear that they didn’t want to join, the city has still sought to use arcane rules to expand their power and collect a corporate gift that was given by one of the biggest polluters in the area. It’s good to know that if you have enough money, you can buy off Antioch’s leaders and have them trample on the rights of free people. When you look at this decision in the larger context of the cities plans to expand the hours of government employees to include Friday, it’s clear that nearly half of this $1 million windfall will ultimately go directly into city employees pockets.

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