Council frustrated with lack of annexation progress

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by Mike Knaak

Frustrated by lack of action on annexation, the St. Joseph City Council issued an ultimatum to St. Joseph Township at its meeting July 2: either act on previous promises or face legal action and enforcement of the entire orderly annexation agreement.

Council members expressed frustration and accused the township of dragging its feet after the city’s attorney, Susan Kadlec, updated the council on her communications with township attorney Mike Couri.

After meetings in April, the city and township had agreed to finalize a draft of an annexation agreement by July 1. The city still has not received the draft and outstanding zoning issues have not been resolved.

In addition, Kadlec’s letter to the township stated the township hasn’t provided building permit applications to the city and “sidestepped” the city on development issues as required by the agreement.

After the April meetings, the city and township agreed to a tiered approach, with some land annexed right away. The city and township also agreed to settle tax and zoning issues so the deal could be approved by the council at the July 2 meeting.

Council members discussed options to move the deal along including giving the township two more weeks to act.

“If they don’t act by (July) 16th, we revert back to original annexation process,” said Council member Bob Loso.

Mayor Rick Schultz expressed the general frustration. “I don’t want to keep drawing another line in the sand,” he said.

After discussion, the council directed Kadlec to inform the township that the outstanding issues need to be settled by July 16 and that the city is willing to meet anytime with township officials.

“It’s being dragged out too long,” Loso said.

City and township officials met on July 6 and the township has scheduled a meeting for residents for Tuesday, July 17.

The township mailed a letter to residents outlining the current proposal. It will be discussed at a public hearing scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the AMI Auction building, 30865 Kohler Court. 

After the public hearing, the board plans to vote on the agreement.

Read the township letter to residents here.

See the map of the proposed annexation plan.

photo by Mike Knaak
Members of the St. Joseph City Council listen to attorney Susan Kadlec explain the Council’s options to move ahead with annexation of St. Joseph Township. The large map shows proposed annexation areas with the pink areas indicating land to be annexed right away.

Author: Mike Knaak

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