Our View: A couple of new examples illustrate the topic of government annexation and the number of strange twists and turns it has taken in the East Valley over the past decade.
The topic of government annexation has taken a number of strange twists and turns in the East Valley over the past decade, and Tribune writers reported on a couple of new examples last week.
In Chandler, a 40-year-old dairy has operated successfully on a county island near the city's Tumbleweed Park. But Creamland Dairy now will reluctantly accept annexation into the city, and an incompatible zoning overlay, just to stop a costly legal fight that the business never should have needed to endure.
Originally, Chandler wanted to condemn a swath of the dairy's property to extend a street that would serve as a bypass route for garbage trucks traveling to and from a privately owned trash transfer station. The family-owned dairy relies on that land for cattle pens and waste ponds, elements that are critical to staying in business. So the family acted to defend their property and discovered an obscure law that would seem to protect Creamland Dairy from any eminent domain.
Rather than test that law in court, the dairy agreed to a compromise with the city - annexation and a change in zoning to light industrial. The new zoning won't affect the dairy's day-to-day operations but could limit the owners' options if they decide to sell the property some day.
We have mentioned before on these pages that we understood the city's concerns about the close proximity of the trash transfer station to a public amenity regional recreation park. But those concerns didn't entitle Chandler to threaten the future of a longtime, viable business that didn't create or contribute to the situation. The end result for the dairy will be more taxes and government regulation, while Chandler doesn't get its street.
Meanwhile, a new hospital in San Tan Valley is caught in a tug of war of sorts between the unincorporated area's residents and nearby Queen Creek.
Banner Ironwood Medical Center, scheduled to open later this year, has long planned to annex into Queen Creek. But San Tan Valley activists now are lobbying the hospital to tie its identity to their evolving community instead. That could help San Tan Valley recruit other businesses, and that community would benefit from the hospital's local taxes if the area incorporates. The Pinal County Board of Supervisors could even come to San Tan Valley's aid by lowering development impact fees for the hospital and similar medical facilities.
The San Tan Valley bid could prompt Queen Creek to offer more favorable terms for annexation. So, unlike the Chandler dairy, Banner Ironwood finds itself in the enviable position of picking its government poison.