Township, residents oppose annexation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 12, 1999

Once described as &uot;orderly,&uot; the possible annexation of 21 acres and a surrounding subdivision into the city is meeting resistance.

Thursday, August 12, 1999

Once described as &uot;orderly,&uot; the possible annexation of 21 acres and a surrounding subdivision into the city is meeting resistance.

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All available property owners in the Hoeger Lane Subdivision signed a petition asking the City Council not to annex the subdivision and the 21 acres owned by Richard Stadheim.

Hoeger Lanes is about one mile north of Hy-Vee on County Road 22 in Bancroft Township.

&uot;The people who live out there moved out there for the peace and quietness,&uot; said Bancroft Township Chairman Steve Overgaard. &uot;We don’t want anyone to tell us what acceptable housing is.

&uot;Our feeling is the land south of Interstate 90 has to be completely developed before there’s a move north of the interstate, outside of serious environmental concerns,&uot; Overgaard added. &uot;The township is not in favor of this.&uot;

Stadheim plans to develop his property into a middle income, $100,000 to $150,000 housing development, and asked the council to annex it to provide city utilities.

He said he can develop the property whether it’s in the city, or in the township. But if the property remains in the township, Stadheim can only sell much larger lots.

&uot;Everybody has a right to their opinion,&uot; Stadheim said. &uot;I’m not mad at them. I’m not out here to pound this through. I’m only asking for my inner circle. I have people interested who want to be in the city limits.&uot;

The surrounding subdivision was added to the possible annexation to provide utilities to the entire area.

But, at this time residents say they don’t want the annexation for a variety of reasons, mainly economics. They also asked the council not to annex Stadheim’s property because the population density will increase with smaller lot sizes.

It would increase their property values and tax burdens, said Mike Breuer, who delivered the petition to the City Council Monday.

&uot;Some parties don’t want to do it because they’re concerned about the population density and their property values,&uot; he said. &uot;Some want to delay the process so they have all the information. It’s a combination of things. For part of the parties, it’s an economic issue.&uot;

Breuer said the residents understand that the city is growing to the north and west, but for now, he said all the neighborhood septic systems are working well and there’s no reason to join the city.

The petition was delivered to the council not out of anger, but as a means to tell the council how they feel, he said.

&uot;We would want to build it so it could serve the entire area,&uot; Albert Lea Mayor Marv Wangen said of sewer and water utilities. &uot;We would go into it with lines that have the potential to serve Holger Lanes.&uot;

But Wangen said the council won’t consider the annexation as a way to &uot;grab land.&uot; The annexation was requested, not dictated by the council.

Because of extensive utility costs, Wangen said he prefers to either annex both the subdivision and Stadheim’s property, or annex neither.

He said private sewer systems in the subdivision are functioning well, but will eventually fail, or need expensive improvements.

Extending the utilities with about $7,000 in assessments now will save the property owners larger future expenses, he added.

&uot;If it’s going to be a hassle, why do it?&uot; Wangen asked. &uot;We’re not out to grab property, but on the other hand, there are certain areas that are hard to serve economically.&uot;

If the property is annexed, Overgaard called the annexation &uot;leap frogging,&uot; passing over other rural areas to bring the subdivision into the city.

Land must border the city before the city can annex it, but in this case, city utilities reach the neighboring Good Semaritian Center, which is in Albert Lea.

The council can annex both Stadheim’s property and Hoeger Lanes, but at least one council member said he would vote against annexation.

&uot;I don’t think we will force the issue at all,&uot; said Councilor David McPherson. &uot;We’re not seeking that area. We’re only acting on the request of a property owner. That’s my opinion.&uot;