The Expansion of Boise: Annexation of Rural Areas into Cities [%new%]
11th August 2014
News Courtesy: Sakhi Shah
In July, rural inhabitants living north-west of the city of Boise (the Ada County) in Idaho protested against the inclusion of the city in the borders of the city.
Idaho’s Local Land Use Planning Act, 1975, requires cities and counties to negotiate areas of impact outside city limits where a city can reasonably be expected to grow, and prepare for long-term growth with the planning of parks, water lines, sewer lines, roads, and fire and ambulance stations.
The area in question was identified in 1978 as an area of impact for Boise. Boise’s areas of impact have remained largely the same since the 1980s. Ada County passed a law in the 1970s allowing developments that are of city-level density in the areas of impact as identified by Boise, so as to plan for the future annexation of the area by the city.
The unrest among the citizens of the county can be attributed to the increased taxes that city dwellers have to pay as opposed to those outside the limits of the city, despite the fact that there is no significant rise in the facilities available. Many people outside the city already have their own water and irrigation lines, which makes the additional services provided by the city completely redundant. It is therefore not surprising that they are unwilling to be part of the city. At the same time, the city is no longer willing to subsidize the infrastructure of the rural areas without them paying taxes, and annexation is required for the proper and planned growth of the city.
The element of consent is extremely important as a legal requirement. The law of the State requires consent from the owners of at least 50% of the property. Till 2008, the law allowed for implied consent if they connected their homes to the city sewer. However, after 2008, explicit consent via signature is required, and only then would they be connected to the city sewers. Both need to be taken into account at this juncture. This is better as a system since it allows homeowners outside the city to give informed consent, and increases transparency.
Annexation outside the limits of the city is important for long-term planning, but the element of informed consent is extremely important to ensure transparency and accountability to all stakeholders.