Monday, 26 September 2022

LAFCO delays Parallel Drive annexation decision

LAKEPORT – After nearly three hours of discussion by the Local Area Formation Commission Wednesday, a decision on the Parallel Drive annexation was postponed until July, with the commission asking the city for more information.


LAFCO consists of city and county representative and members of the public who decide on issues concerning formation of special districts and municipal boundary issues such as the proposed annexation.


The City of Lakeport asked the commission to approve a proposed annexation of 157 acres along Parallel Drive, as Lake County News reported earlier this week.


But the city's sewer capacity issues posed a concern for commissioners. Specifically, they wanted more information about the city's ability to provide sewer services to the new area, which currently includes 24 dwellings on about 30 parcels, according to Lakeport Community Development Director Richard Knoll.


There's also a 130-lot subdivision Tom Adamson has proposed for the area, said Knoll.


If annexed, about 100 acres of the land would be designated residential, with the rest slated for commercial development, officials explained.


Residential zoning in Lakeport allows as many as seven units per acre, but Knoll said the city's average is four. He said many of the lots in the area already are developed.


Earlier this year, the state placed a cease and desist order on Lakeport because of capacity issues that manifested last year in a treated wastewater runoff from the city's sewer facility. Part of that order included a temporary connection ban to the city's sewer system.


The state has lifted that ban on condition that the city meet certain requirements by November. Meeting those requirements also would give the city 77 residential unit equivalents – or 77 residential hookups to the sewer system.


Lakeport City Manager Jerry Gillham told LAFCO commissioners that he believes they have much more capacity even than that to cover the new annexation area and future development.


Since the connection ban, Lakeport officials have argued that the state water quality control board's calculations of the city's sewer capacity were faulty.


Annexation would give the city impact and development fees – to the tune of as much as $14,000 per residence that hooks up to the system, Gillham and Knoll explained.


But LAFCO Commissioner Denise Rushing said she was uncomfortable with Gillham's argument that the state's numbers aren't to be trusted.


Rushing said she wanted more information about studies of the sewer facility capacity issue the city has conducted.


Gillham pushed for annexation on the basis of contingencies – that the request would be approved based on the city fulfilling certain requirements by a certain date.


LAFCO Executive Officer John Benoit said the commission's five-page resolution on the annexation could be altered to include such requirements.


The resolution includes a condition that the annexation could only go forward if the city did, in fact, receive the 77 residential unit equivalents from the state.


Rushing, however, questioned if the city could meet the annexation area's needs. “I think LAFCO's job is to make sure the plan matches the annexation.”


Commissioner Ed Robey asked Benoit if it was typical for LAFCO to make a decision based on a contingency, because he didn't believe he had encountered that before. Benoit admitted the situation was “somewhat unique.”


Robey said he wasn't opposed to the project, but wanted a commission decision to conform with policy.


Gillham said he was concerned that holding the annexation too long would hamper the city's ability to get financing for a sewer facility expansion project, but he didn't object to the one-month delay.


Rushing moved to have the decision postponed so the city could provide more information on how many residential hookups will be added through the city's expansion projects, as well as a report on the current flows into the city sewer system versus the system's maximum flow capacity.


Alternate commissioner Jeff Smith said he also wanted the city to provide updates on what development projects it has approved so the commission can know how many hookups are available to the annexation area.


“We need those exact figures before we can make an informed decision,” said Smith. “That's the bottom line.”


Gillham said after the meeting that the one-month postponement shouldn't hamper their funding application to US Department of Agriculture Rural Development, which the city hopes will help fund its sewer expansion.


“If it had been much longer than that I would have been a little squeamish,” Gillham said.


LAFCO will return to City Hall at 9:30 a.m. July 18 to continue its consideration of the Parallel Drive annexation.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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