MARTINEZ -- About a year after losing its bid to annex North Pacheco, the city may try again to expand its boundaries.Last year, North Pacheco residents narrowly rejected the city's proposal to annex a 111-acre area stretching along Interstate 680 from Highway 4 north to the BNSF railroad overcrossing.
On Wednesday, the City Council will consider two options. The first is annexing the same area in North Pacheco. The second is expanding that area by about 110 acres along Blum Road, plus nearly 530 acres around Vine Hill and Arthur Road and the 185-acre Mountain View neighborhood.
The council meeting is at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 525 Henrietta St.
Acting as the Annexation Subcommittee, Councilmembers Mark Ross and AnaMarie Avila Farias came up with the two proposals.
"I think we should go ahead with the annexation piece we have in place and then seek further annexation opportunities, not only there, but also in the Mountain View area, where we have a chunk of residents that are encircled by Martinez," Ross said.
"Why isn't that area in Martinez? It doesn't make sense to me," he continued. "It's probably a couple thousand people that are basically surrounded land locked by the city of Martinez boundary."
Farias could not be reached for comment.
City leaders have had their eyes on North Pacheco since 2009 because they believe the area is ripe for commercial development. A short distance east off of Highway 4, thousands of housing units and 6 million square feet of commercial space are planned for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station land. They also relish the opportunity to clean up an entrance to Martinez.
But a group of North Pacheco residents who believed annexation would lead to poorly maintained roads, longer police response times and higher property taxes forced the city to hold an election. Other critics said the annexation would be a bad deal for Martinez, as costs to provide police protection and other services to North Pacheco were initially projected to exceed the property tax and sales tax revenue the area generates.
In August 2012, the Contra Costa County elections division mailed 150 ballots to registered voters and landowners in the proposed annexation area The vote was 40-39 against becoming part of Martinez.
The city spent nearly $105,000 on consultant fees and other costs associated with the North Pacheco annexation effort. While some of that work would still be useful if an application for annexation is resubmitted to the Contra Costa County Local Agency Formation Commission, city staffers estimate it could cost $25,000 to update some of the studies.
LAFCO commissioners could approve the North Pacheco annexation a year from now if residents don't force another vote. If they do, the election likely would happen in spring or summer 2015, according to city staff.
Pursuing the second option of annexing all three areas would mean starting over from scratch. Staffers estimate it would cost $155,000 to $180,000 and take at least three years to put together.
Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.