Consultant: Annexation can control future growth

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Development along the fringes of Brookhaven and the need tocontrol potential future growth are reasons for the area to betaken into the city, an annexation consultant said Tuesday.

“The level of urbanization is a direct correlation to the needfor municipal level services,” said consultant Mike Slaughter whilediscussing water and sewer, fire protection and zoning under directexamination during the city’s annexation trial. “Over time, theneed for municipal level services is going to become greater andgreater.”

The City of Brookhaven wants to annex more than 16 square milesof the county, while about 200 objectors are trying to show thecity cannot meet its expansion-related obligations.

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Later Tuesday, Slaughter maintained his position under crossexamination from objectors’ attorney Jerry Evans.

Evans raised questions about the need for services in largerural sections of the proposed annexation area. Slaughteracknowledged that vacant land does not need as much services, suchas fire protection, but there is the potential for that need in thefuture.

“As it’s developed, it’s going to increase,” Slaughter said.

Slaughter said zoning and related activities are needed toprevent substandard development. He said after-the-fact zoning is aresult of poor planning and is more expensive to implement.

“What you’re talking about has already happened to a certainextent, with substandard development,” Slaughter told Evans inresponse to a question about growth in the proposed area.

Evans suggested the city had facilitated development byextending water services to areas along Highway 84. He indicatedadditional customers could be served without the need to annex.

Slaughter said areas in need had been extended water and sewerservices. However, extending services in hopes of development wasnot realistic.

“I know of no city that’s going to extend water and sewer justto see what happens,” Slaughter said.

In other areas, Slaughter said spill over growth was evidentpractically all around the city. Inside the city, he said there areonly 914 unconstrained acres available for development.

Slaughter said most of that is in small parcels spreadthroughout the city. He said larger land areas outside the city areneed to accommodate future development.

“We expect the growth that has occurred to continue to occur,”Slaughter said.