Solvang Council OK’s ordinance limiting annexation for 20 years
Friday, June 9, 2020
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Published by Santa Ynez Valley News
Council members voted 4-1 Monday night with Council Member Chris Djernaes dissenting, to adopt the Urban Growth Boundary Ordinance which will expire in December 2040.
Mayor Ryan Toussaint said that as much as citizens are opposed to urban sprawl, during various workshops and meetings held on the proposed limitation they also agree “the much needed capital infrastructure cost for the aging infrastructure the city has far exceeds our ability to pay for it.”
“This isn’t a time to be looking to push out to pay for it. This is a time to be developing from within,” Toussaint said.
The initiative amends the Solvang General Plan to establish an Urban Growth Boundary beyond which the city will not permit new “urban development,” with certain exceptions. The boundary is the existing city limits and does not affect county land use decisions.
During a series of hearings on annexation that occurred prior to the sitting council’s election, Toussaint said a study showed annexation would lead to “nothing but taking away some of the things we value most about this community and throwing down a bunch of homes and expanding our infrastructure which today, especially after economic damage of COVID, I really don’t think we have the capacity to be expanding services in some of these ways.”
Until Dec. 31, 2040, the Council may reduce the boundary “if such amendment is in the public interest,” “by an affirmative vote of the people,” or to comply with state or federal housing requirements. The council may also amend the boundary, following at least one public hearing, if the boundary taking a certain property “would be an unconstitutional taking for which compensation would be required.”
The city was pushed to consider the initiative after a group of Solvang residents known as Save Our Solvang submitted a petition with 499 valid signatures. The group needed 10 percent of voters, 367 valid signatures, to place the proposal on the ballot.