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Phoenix may annex its 'islands'

PHOENIX ' Residents on county islands within city limits may see an end to the confusion about their addresses and emergency services.

Planning commissioners Dec. 9 recommended that the City Council annex 12 island parcels ' county areas surrounded by the city ' totaling 16 acres. A public hearing will be held at the Jan. 20 council meeting. The council annexed 15 similar sites totaling 8.6 acres in June.

There's always confusion on who's supposed to serve (the properties), said City Planner Denis Murray. The sheriff, police and fire departments have their agreements, but a lot of times the people don't even know who to call.

Properties within city limits that don't have city addresses confuse delivery truck drivers. It's not unusual for drivers to show up at City Hall while hunting for a location, said City Administrator Don Walker.

The city was providing a lot of service to those areas just because of the first response (agreements) with police and fire. It made a lot of sense because they were islands, said Walker. Although the properties technically were not in the city's police and fire jurisdiction, there's not a question they are in our fire service area and not Fire District 5, he said.

The annexation would bring new tax revenues to the city. Quite frankly, the neighbors were subsidizing services to those folks, said Walker. I wanted equity.

Revision of the city's comprehensive plan four years ago called for annexations of islands. Walker pursued the goal after he was hired in August 2001.

The annexation itself will not cost landowners anything because it comes at city request. Water and sewer lines are located around the properties, but many have wells and septic systems. The city will not force residents to hook up unless county health officials require it. Property owners would pay hook-up expenses. Annexed properties will fall under city zoning restrictions.

A six-acre parcel south of Phoenix High School owned by the Phoenix-Talent School District is among those recommended for annexation.

The high school is in the city, said Superintendent Bob Bergreen. It kind of makes sense to have it come under the same government agency.

The district purchased the land several years ago after leasing a portion of it for parking. The site could be used for school expansion in the future, but will continue to be used for parking now.

A one-acre site used by Norton Lumber for truss construction is also recommended.

It will continue the way it is, said Norton Corp. secretary-treasurer Cathy Prichard. Time will tell if there's an advantage to it.

Two owners of affected properties along Highway 99 south of the city center expressed a desire at the Dec. 9 meeting to hook into city water and sewer service. Apartments may be built on a portion of the land at 4345 S. Pacific Highway, said Dave Green.

Consideration of the 6.7-acre Horizon Mobile Home Park at 4074 S. Pacific Highway for annexation was continued to the planning commission's Jan. 13 meeting. New park owner Robin Dancey asked for the delay because she didn't learn about the proposal until the meeting day.

Reach Ashland bureau reporter Tony Boom at 482-4651, or e-mail