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Policy: City of Santa Rosa Southwest Area Annexations

For purposes of this policy, the Southwest Area of Santa Rosa is defined as the area generally bounded by California State Highway 12 to the north, South Wright Road to the west, the City of Santa Rosa Sphere of Influence to the south, and U.S. Highway 101 to the east.

  1. The Commission will consider annexation to the City of Santa Rosa of any parcels located within the Southwest Area of Santa Rosa, as defined in this policy, only after a plan to annex all the unincorporated islands, located within the policy area and completely surrounded by the City, has been prepared by the City and reviewed by the Commission.
  2. The Commission may consider annexation of unincorporated islands completely surrounded by the City and of fewer than 150 acres prior to the completion of the plan prepared by the City, provided that the annexation boundary includes the entire unincorporated island.
  3. The annexation plan prepared by the City is not required to include those unincorporated areas within the City’s sphere of influence that are only partially surrounded by the City, referred to as “fringe islands.” Fringe islands have various shapes and individual characteristics, and the Commission understands that annexation of these areas maybe an incremental process. However, the Commission encourages that annexation proposals for these fringe islands include logical and uniform boundaries.

Legal Authority

The Knox-Cortese-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 encourages the logical extension of services.

Section 56001 states in part:

“The Legislature finds and declares that it is the policy of the state to encourage orderly growth and development which are essential to the social, fiscal, and economic well-being of the state. The Legislature recognizes that the logical formation and determination of local agency boundaries is an important factor in promoting orderly development and in balancing that development with sometimes competing state interests of discouraging urban sprawl, preserving open-space and prime agricultural lands, and efficiently extending government services. The Legislature also recognizes that providing housing for persons and families of all incomes is an important factor in promoting orderly development. Therefore, the Legislature further finds and declares that this policy should be effected by the logical formation and modification of the boundaries of local agencies, with a preference granted to accommodating additional growth within, or through the expansion of, the boundaries of those local agencies which can best accommodate and provide necessary governmental services and housing for persons and families of all incomes in the most efficient manner feasible.” (Emphasis added)

The numerous “unincorporated islands” within City boundaries do not constitute logical boundaries or provide for efficient delivery of services.

Background and Discussion

In 2005, the Commission denied a proposal for a reorganization involving 58 parcels located in Southwest Santa Rosa. The reorganization would have reduced the overall size of an island but created two additional islands. Prior to denying the annexation, the Commission requested that the City amend the proposal to include additional territory. The Commission-recommended annexation boundary would have created a more logical City boundary, provided more effective delivery of City services, and shown a proactive approach, by the City, to the annexation of the entire Southwest area. The City declined to amend the boundary.

The Commission made the following findings and determinations with respect to the proposal:

  1. Commission policy encourages orderly growth and development and discourages the creation of islands of unincorporated territory surrounded by City territory.
  2. Annexation of the affected territory to the City of Santa Rosa would create two additional islands and create an illogical boundary.
  3. Annexation of the affected territory to the City of Santa Rosa may impose service delivery problems and confusion for residents and affected agencies.
  4. Annexation of all, or a large portion of, the Southwest Santa Rosa area would promote a more cohesive, logical City boundary and more effective delivery of services.

This policy reflects the Commission’s desire to encourage orderly growth, create logical boundaries and eliminate service delivery problems. This policy will require the City of Santa Rosa to prepare a comprehensive plan for annexations. Until such a plan has
been reviewed by the Commission, proposals to annex to the City in the Southwest area will not be approved.

Adoption Date: September 3, 2014