This legislation would amend provisions in state law related to the processes to object to proposed annexations.
Current law states that for a county's objection to a proposed annexation be valid it has to the annexation must result in a substantial change in the intensity of the allowable use of the property or a change to a significantly different allowable use; or a use which significantly increases the net cost of infrastructure or significantly diminishes the value or useful life of a capital outlay project which is furnished by the county to the area to be annexed; and authorize or result in a land use that differs substantially from the existing uses suggested for the property by the county's comprehensive land use plan or permitted for the property pursuant to the county's zoning ordinance or its land use ordinances. HB 1461 would not substantively alter this threshold for a county's objection to determined to be valid.
The legislation would require that any impacted school systems recieve notice of any proposed annexations. The bill narrows the grounds for a county’s objection by allowing the provision of infrastructure within the vicinity of the annexation to be used in support of one of the three valid reasons for an objection.
The bill would change the law to allow municipalities up to 30 days to notify a county and impacted school system of the city’s acceptance of an annexation petition.
The legislation would expand the ability of annexation arbitration panelists to serve on up to four panels per year, rather than the current law limitation of two. The measure would require the Department of Community Affairs to develop and maintain a list of court reporters to assist the arbitration panel in formulating the record of its proceedings. Arbitration panels would be allowed to extend their 60-day deadline for ruling for up to 10 days at the discretion of the chair, and the participating parties in each annexation dispute may postpone the work of the arbitration panel for up to 180 days to negotiate a potential settlement. The arbitration panels would also be authorized to meet via teleconference.
The bill would change current law on the responsibility for paying the cost of the arbitration from 75% borne by the county and 25% borne by the city to a 50/50 split between the county. However, the legislation would require that if any objecting party’s claim is not found to be valid by the arbitration panel, the party would be responsible for 100% of the costs.
The Department of Community Affairs would be tasked with maintaining a record of each annexation arbitration panel’s findings and publish this information on its website.
Lastly, the proposed legislation would establish a two-year moratorium (an increase from one-year in current law) on rezoning which can occur if a panel decides to assign land use, zoning or density conditions, if the annexation is approved but changes to the service delivery strategy are not adopted by the county, or if an annexation is abandoned by either a city or applicant.