CRJ recently sat down with Castle Rock Mayor, Paul Donahue, and Mayor pro tem, Jennifer Green, to discuss the concerns over annexation in Castle Rock. Hosted by community member Michael Brumbaugh, CRJ wanted to ask members of the Town’s government just how annexation works and how it affects the growth of Castle Rock.
In order to better understand how annexation works and how it will serve to change Castle Rock, we spoke with Mayor pro tem, Jennifer Green. “Annexing is the process by which a property within a specific jurisdiction could possibly change jurisdiction from a county property into another municipality,” she explained.
Simplified, it works like this. Whether or not land is annexed by us or to another municipality, the property will still be developed, eventually. Annexation is the legal process by which some property located in an unincorporated area of a township may become part of a neighboring city, village, or in our case, Town.
The property must be ‘next to and touching’ the existing city or Town boundary lines to qualify for annexation. The city or Town of former ownership is then relieved of impact fees (approximately $30,000 per property) which are then written into the agreement between the developer and a city/Town that has chosen to acquiesce the land. Those fees then help ensure that infrastructure grows and develops alongside new projects.
Mayor Donahue added: “If a property is currently in Douglas County, and it’s not part of the Town, that property can be developed by another entity just as easily as annexing it into the town of Castle Rock. The problem with that from our perspective is that we get to deal with the problems that come with development and growth, where we do see increased traffic which I think is the main point. Castle Rock receives no impact fees… Those fees go to Douglas County.”
When those fees go to Douglas County versus Castle Rock, that means Castle Rock still has to find a way to deal with traffic, water, and other public services that are strained due to the growth. This is why it becomes imperative for the Town to have the resources and money to control nearby development the best they can for the future of the Town.
Castle Rock resident, Bill Placke, is heading up an initiative which would require a vote for a Town annexation of over 5 acres.
According to local real estate group, Douglas County Real Estate, “Taking annexation to a vote would cost the town money and time, in a process that is intended to benefit the town, not stifle it. The building boom and development that is taking over the open land in Castle Rock is almost necessary in order to maintain the current infrastructure, as well as that of the future.”
“If open land in Castle Rock is not annexed, it is left as unincorporated Douglas County. This means that residents will continue to use the town’s roads while the town has no control over improving the roads or expanding the infrastructure, because the county holds that power. By annexing in Castle Rock, the town then has more control over what is built, and how it’s built, while expanding the town’s tax base.”
Mayor Donahue said, “We want to be able to control development in our community. We want to be able to get the impact fees coming into our Town so we can help pay for water infrastructure, public safety, so we can pay for public infrastructure which is important to our community.”
As far as the process of annexation and how the town currently hears these issues, Green explained, “I look at this as a property right. These property owners have the right to create some kind of vision for their property.”
But while the Town won’t make much money on property taxes, they will recoup on sales tax. When new development comes to the area surrounding Castle Rock and the Town doesn’t see any money from it because it has not been annexed to us, both the Town, and its residents will feel the squeeze.
If you would like to voice your opinion on the issue and learn more about how the Town of Castle Rock’s involvement with annexation, join the Jimmy Sengenberger show on 710KNUS, Saturday March 12, 2016 at 7:00PM.
How to listen or join the conversation:
- Tune your radio to 710KNUS or,
- listen online at www.710knus.com.