At the April 23 board meeting, Paonia trustees voted, 4-1, to authorize town administrator Ken Knight to formally apply with Delta County for annexation of certain sections of county road contiguous with existing town boundaries. Those sections include Stahl Road from Samuel Wade Road to Highway 133, Samuel Wade Road from Highway 133 to the Samuel Wade Bridge, Price and Clock roads, Grand Avenue to the Highway 187 bridge, and unincorporated sections of Colorado Avenue.
The town announced it would seek to extend its boundaries last December through annexation (see Jan. 1 DCI, "Planning for when growth comes knocking"). "This is all part of our planning area... that we have always said that we want to bring into the town," said town administrator Knight at the April 9 board meeting. "This allows us to control development... to put our building codes into place."
Also to consider, said Knight, is that Delta County's newly-adopted master plan states "that it is the county's goal that all non-agricultural, commercial and residential development shall happen around the urban centers," because that's where the public utilities are.
The town has already extended its public sewer line to Stahl Road, and engineering for extending the line to Highway 133 is complete. Extending the line would allow the town to annex any properties whose owners choose to do so and who require town sewer services, said Knight. The town has already sold one sewer tap on Price Road, and others, including one property already annexed, have requested taps, said Knight. "We are not looking to forcibly annex any properties off of those roads."
Town attorney Bo Nerlin noted that authorizing Knight to apply with the county for annexation does not constitute a decision by the board to annex. To do so requires passage by the board of an annexation ordinance. Rather, it means that Knight has the authority to engage in discussion. "Any county discussion would be a public discussion, and thereafter, any findings or any sort of agreement" would have to come before the board, said Nerlin.
Trustee Dave Knutson cast the nay vote. Knutson told the DCI his main concern is that he hasn't had time to study the issue and is concerned with cost estimates associated with maintaining and repairing roads once they are annexed.
Knutson said he also believes the town has greater priorities. "Shouldn't the town be focused on water right now?" he asked.