MARTINEZ -- City leaders will take another shot at annexing North Pacheco and examine the feasibility of bringing additional areas into Martinez.
Last year, North Pacheco residents narrowly rejected Martinez's proposal to annex a 111-acre area stretching along Interstate 680 from Highway 4 north to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad overcrossing.
Council members began the annexation process in 2009 because they believe the area -- which sits at the intersection of Highway 4 and Interstate 680 -- holds enormous potential for economic development. They also want an opportunity to clean up a blighted gateway to Martinez.
A group of North Pacheco residents opposed annexation because they believed they would face poorly maintained roads, longer police response times and higher property taxes. They forced the city to hold an election and they could do so again.
Noting that the city lost its bid to annex North Pacheco by only one vote, Councilman Mike Menesini said the council should, "give the folks a second opportunity to take a look at the annexation issues."
The council decided to resubmit the city's application to annex North Pacheco to the Contra Costa County Local Agency Formation Commission, the county agency that regulates local government boundary changes.
They also tentatively agreed to spend $28,000 to update the economic analysis of the original North Pacheco area and for three other areas they are considering annexing -- nearly 530 acres around Vine Hill and Arthur Road, the 185-acre Mountain View neighborhood and 110 acres along Blum Road near the original North Pacheco site. The areas are a combination of residential, commercial and light industrial properties.
In addition to projecting the sales and property tax revenue the potential annexation areas would generate, the council also wants an estimate of the cost to Martinez of providing police protection and road maintenance to those areas.
Councilwoman Lara DeLaney expressed concern about finding funding to make the infrastructure improvements the areas may need and to hire additional police officers if the city expands its boundaries.
But Councilwoman Anamarie Avila Farias pointed out that many of the people who live in the areas the city is considering annexing send their children to Martinez schools, use the city's parks and shop in town.
LAFCO encourages cities to annex areas where the cities provide services. Last year, the agency approved the city's annexation of 316 acres in the Alhambra Valley, where Martinez provides water service.
Although the council wants to bring the remainder of the valley into the city, they didn't make a decision last week about its strategy.
Councilman Mark Ross wants to annex the entire valley at one time, but others have pushed for a phased approach.
Mayor Rob Schroder said they will have to address the issue soon.
"We also did tell LAFCO that it was our intent to move forward with the annexation of the balance of the Alhambra Valley," he said. "Based on that, LAFCO has approved a handful of what we call out-of-area service agreements with property owners allowing those property owners to receive water from the city of Martinez."