Arcata Moves To Annex Boyd Road – August 2, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kevin L. Hoover & Jack Durham

Mad River Newspaper Guild

BOYD ROAD – The Arcata City Council has allocated $80,000 to begin work on the annexation of more than 66 acres into the City.

Already in the City’s “sphere of influence,” the two separated areas are 16 parcels in 58 acres along Boyd Road in northernmost Arcata, and 17 parcels composing 8.4 acres on Shirley Boulevard.

The two spots were selected by the council in March from among a dozen or so areas suggested for annexation. Annexation requires multiple studies and approvals, and is expected to take four to six months.

Adding neighborhoods via annexation has been the method by which Arcata has expanded from the core town of Union to include areas as far-flung as Sunny Brae and Valley West.

The new acquisitions will make additional demands on City services and will require some on-site infrastructural investment. But they will also create revenue.

Boyd Road will need road, water and sewer improvements, but will yield property tax, sales tax and utility tax monies as well as income from stormwater and other fees.

A Fiscal Impact Assessment indicated that the Boyd Road acquisition will become “cost neutral” after eight years, and at full build-out will add more than $1 million per year to the City’s bottom line.

Boyd Road, stretching from Giuntoli Lane to the SR299 Mad River Bridge, includes a mix of commercial and industrial parcels with low residency, other than the Arcata Night Shelter.

Annexation satisfies a General Plan economic development goal. A staff report calls it “critical to the City’s long-term plans for orderly growth and development.”

As with the Shirley Boulevard area being annexed, sewer improvements will allow parcels on Boyd Road to upgrade from failing septic systems.

The McKinleyville factor

The McKinleyville Community Services District presently serves 16 water customers on Boyd Road with its 18-inch water line.

Although the Boyd Road area is outside of the MCSD’s boundaries, the district began serving the area in the 1970s because its water line is nearby.

Because the Boyd Road area is outside McKinleyville’s “sphere of influence,” the district is technically out of compliance with Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) policies.

LAFCO regulates the boundaries of local governments and tries to discourage overlapping jurisdictions and duplication of services.

In March, the MCSD Board of Directors voted to pursue annexation of the Boyd Road area into the district. However, the MCSD has not submitted an annexation request to LAFCO and is not challenging Arcata’s bid to take over the area.

MCSD Manager Norman Shopay said the district had planned to pursue annexation because it wanted its water service to the area to comply with LAFCO policies.

The MCSD board also thought it made more economic sense to utilize the MCSD’s existing water line rather than have the City of Arcata extend a new line to the area, according to Shopay.

If Arcata annexes the area, the MCSD would be open to selling its water lines and meters to the City. Shopay said he doesn’t know how much the MCSD’s Boyd Road facilities are worth.

He also noted that the customer base in the area is so small that losing them wouldn’t have any significant impact on the MCSD’s budget.

Plenty of paperwork

Of the $80,000 allocated by the City Council, something over $50,000 is earmarked for planning consultants LACO Associates to create a CEQA environmental document, apply for boundary changes with the City and LAFCO and otherwise shepherd the application through the process.

Another $17,000 is allocated for application fees and public notices.

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