|Do you know what an unincorporated “enclave” is? Also called a “pocket” or a “finger” in some cases. There is one here in the City of Lake Worth. Learn more about this important issue below, following these minutes (two excerpts) from the TCRPC:|
Richard Reade, Village Manager [note: links and emphasis added], and Kim Glas-Castro, Land Development Director, from the Village of Palm Springs provided an overview of legislation currently being proposed to address the issue of majority voluntary property owner annexation consent.
Mr. Reade indicated because his community is built-out and there has been a large population growth they do a lot of infill redevelopment and annexation. He stated there are a number of ways to annex property that are allowed by statute, but in areas that are more developed the involuntary annexation process is a key economic development tool.
This type of annexation requires a 50 percent or more vote of property owners to agree to the annexation. Mr. Reade explained that this becomes a problem when there is a registered voter living on a parcel and they are not the owner. He stated it essentially takes away the property owner’s right, even though they are paying the taxes for that property, to make the decision of whether or not they would like to be annexed into the municipality.
Mr. Reade indicated Representative David Silvers and Senator Jeff Clemens are sponsoring identical bills that propose to revise the text of Section 171.0413 of the Florida Statutes to remove the restriction that the presence of non-owner registered electors places on the use of the property owner majority consent procedures in 171.0413(6) of the Florida Statutes.
and. . .
Mr. Reade noted they have received support from the county staff in this process and they work very closely with the county on all annexations.
Mayor Gerwig [Anne Gerwig, Mayor of Wellington] stated this type of annexation can be a very helpful tool when trying to annex small areas into a municipality, especially when they are completely surrounded by the municipality. She noted the Village of Wellington annexed two communities and there was a bit of an issue, but were able to get the measure approved by the property owners with the assistance of the County.
Mr. Reade indicated the involuntary annexation process is critical for annexing in the small pockets of land, because within these pockets there are code enforcement and policing issues that the municipality cannot handle until the areas are made part of the city. He said it is very important to give back the authority to make decisions to the property owner and not to the tenant or person who may be living on the property.
If you’re familiar with District 1 here in the City of Lake Worth, there’s an “enclave”, or an area of unincorporated County, surrounded by the municipality of Lake Worth (see image above). The concern among a growing number of Lake Worth residents is whether these County residents are getting services for which the City is not getting reimbursed.
This was addressed at the TCRPC in October 2016. Use this link to read a blog post published shortly thereafter.
Staff provided an overview of annexations and enclaves. Staff indicated annexation is the process whereby property that lies outside of the boundary of a municipality is brought within municipal limits; and an enclave is unincorporated land surrounded by a municipality or a barrier such as a canal that prevents access to the area, except through the municipality. Staff indicated there are five types of annexation: voluntary is when the property owner requests to be part of the city; majority voluntary is for non-residential properties whereby a majority vote of the owners determines annexation; referendum where the citizens of the affected area vote on the annexation; legislative when the Florida Legislature adopts a special bill to make that area part of a city; and enclave interlocal where the municipality that surrounds an enclave, and the county work together to transition the area into the municipality. Staff noted some of the concerns with enclaves is an inefficient service delivery for the city and county; difficulty in planning for orderly development; jurisdictional confusion; and unfair benefits without tax payments.
Stay tuned as they say. Expect to see this issue on an upcoming agenda for the City Commission here in Lake Worth.