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The original item was published from 8/1/2023 3:28:00 PM to 8/1/2023 3:34:38 PM.

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Latest City of Siloam Springs News

Posted on: July 24, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Siloam Springs Annexation FAQ

A map of city roads.

We've got the answers to your questions!

The City of Siloam Springs is currently reviewing a proposal to annex 2,860 acres, primarily located to the north of Siloam Springs, into its city limits. To address any questions you may have about the annexation, we have compiled a FAQ based on the questions we've received so far. You can still submit your questions by following this link: https://bit.ly/3rx1M1X.

For a visual representation of the annexation, click here.
Click here to access a spreadsheet containing physical addresses and parcel IDs.
For a higher-resolution view of the proposed annexation properties, click here.

Please note: There will be a public board meeting on August 1, 2023, starting at 6:30 PM, at the Siloam Springs City Hall (located at 400 N. Broadway St., Siloam Springs, AR). Another public board meeting will be held on August 15, 2023, at the same time and location. During the board meetings, the topic of annexation will be on the agenda for discussion. We greatly value your insights and active involvement in this significant decision for Siloam Springs.

If the annexation is approved, a communitywide vote will be held on November 14, 2023. Both the residents in the proposed annexation area and current Siloam Springs residents will have the privilege to cast their votes on the annexation question.

Continue scrolling to read the questions and answers.

A picture of a map of roads.

What is the reason behind the City of Siloam Springs' desire to annex this property?
As the City is experiencing growth, it becomes crucial to incorporate land that can be appropriately zoned to accommodate new developments in accordance with the City's land use map. Utilizing undeveloped land is significantly more cost-effective for the City and its taxpayers, as it avoids the need to purchase properties from Carroll Electric. Given the circumstances, it is an opportune moment to contemplate expanding the City's boundaries to create ample room for future growth.

What factors or reasons prompted the city to consider this annexation?
In 2022, the City Board of Directors established annexation as one of its primary goals. The current annexation efforts are a direct response to that goal set by the Board.

What are the advantages to annexation? 
Access to City Services: Annexed areas typically gain access to a wider range of municipal services, such as water supply, sewage systems, trash collection, and road maintenance. This can lead to improved infrastructure and better living conditions for residents. 
Enhanced Public Safety: City police and fire departments usually provide more extensive coverage and quicker response times compared to rural or unincorporated areas. Annexation can lead to increased public safety and emergency services for residents. 
Increased Property Values: Properties within the newly annexed area may see an increase in value due to improved services and amenities offered by the city. City services and infrastructure can make the area more desirable for potential buyers or investors. 
Economic Development: Being part of a city can attract more businesses and commercial development to the area. Cities often have more resources and incentives to promote economic growth, which can result in job opportunities and increased tax revenue. 
Improved Education: Annexed areas may benefit from access to better-funded schools and educational resources provided by the city, leading to an enhanced educational experience for residents. 
Quality of Life Improvements: City governments often invest in parks, recreational facilities, and cultural programs to enhance residents' quality of life. Annexation can bring these amenities to the newly added area. 
Voice in Local Government: Residents of the annexed area gain the ability to participate in city governance, including voting in municipal elections and having representation in city councils or boards. 
Planning and Zoning Regulations: Being part of a city typically means being subject to more comprehensive planning and zoning regulations. This can lead to better-managed development and preservation of green spaces. 
Access to Utilities and Technology: Annexed areas may benefit from advanced utility services and access to improved technology infrastructure.

Is there an expectation or plan to build a school closer to or within the annexed area?
As part of the proposed annexation, the school district owns land located to the south of town. While this land is included in the annexation plan, there is potential for a new school to be built in that area in the future. However, it's important to note that there are no confirmed plans for constructing a school at this time. For more information, we suggest reaching out to the school district directly.

What are the intended uses for the land, and is there any interest in leasing or purchasing the property?
The land will undergo zoning based on the Siloam Springs 2040 Comprehensive Plan future land use map. You can refer to the map via this link: https://shorturl.at/tEXZ3. The future land use map is a guide for future development, it is not the final zoning. That is only established with a rezoning ordinance. Some properties may be suited for a different zoning than what is shown on the map based on current site conditions and land uses. The majority of the area is designated for residential use, with some commercial zones along major corridors such as HWY 59. It's important to note that the City's intention is to annex the property and not to purchase or lease it.

What advantages will the city gain from this annexation?
With the City's current growth trajectory, it is essential to plan for its future expansion. We aim to allocate land now to ensure there is ample room for future growth while maintaining control over development, land uses, and other community planning aspects. Delaying annexation until after the area is developed would result in significantly higher costs for taxpayers, making it much more expensive in the long run. Therefore, taking proactive measures now is vital to manage growth efficiently and economically.

What are the initial and yearly expenses related to providing emergency services and city utilities to the annexed area?
The combined cost of acquiring utility customers and offering solid waste pick-ups amounts to approximately $5,018,210.00. However, it's important to note that the City is already providing EMS (Emergency Medical Services) in this area, so there will be no additional expenses related to this particular service. There will be other ongoing operational costs each year, but as development occurs, new revenues will be coming in, so the final figure should wash out and eventually pay for itself over time.

Will the utilities transition from rural utilities to city utilities as a result of the annexation?
Residents currently receiving services from Carroll Electric will experience a transition to City Electric within the next three years. Over time, as development progresses, City Water and sewer will be extended to this area.

How does the city plan to handle the expenses associated with the additional roads and infrastructure required for the annexed area?
Every year, additional expenses will be thoroughly examined when creating the City's annual budget. The anticipated rise in tax and utility revenues, along with the introduction of new developments, should assist in balancing and offsetting these increased expenses.

What will be the financial cost for the residents in the affected area due to this annexation?
The property tax bill will increase by 5.5 mills, typically resulting in a few hundred dollars per year for an average single-family home and even less for a farm. Although there might be some extra costs for trash pickup, this expense would be offset by no longer needing the services of a private hauler.

How will existing residents benefit from the annexation, and what potential negative impacts might they experience?
Expanding the City's boundaries will contribute to its overall strength, providing ample space for future growth. Implementing improved land use control will prove beneficial for future residents, as it will ensure orderly and planned growth. Currently, the County lacks land use zoning, making this annexation significant in terms of bringing structure to development. However, it's essential to note that there may be some negative impacts for those being annexed. These include the potential for a higher property tax rate (5.5 mills) and possibly higher utility rates compared to Carroll Electric.

Will residents have the option to choose not to be part of the annexation if approved?
No, the only option would be to de-annex from the City, which requires specific criteria for approval, such as not being surrounded on all sides by City annexed areas.

What will be the impact on livestock and farmers' fields due to the annexation?
Livestock is permitted within the City, and there should be little to no impact on current farms. Ranches are allowed, and as long as they have a minimum of one acre of land, there should be no concerns or problems regarding this matter.

What benefits will residents in the proposed annexed area receive?
Through annexation, residents gain access to a range of City services, including trash pick-up, local road maintenance, representation on the City Board of Directors, animal control, code enforcement, and local police and fire services. If connected to City utilities, they can avoid out-of-City surcharges. Additionally, annexed residents receive benefits such as free access to the library, membership to the Family Aquatic Center, and local approval for building permits should they choose to construct anything on their property.

Will the city assume full responsibility for Airport Road and address existing issues with it?
Indeed, the City will have the responsibility to take over the maintenance of Airport Road.

Will residents in the proposed annexed area receive trash services?
Absolutely, if the area undergoes annexation, residents will receive trash services.

Does the annexation include Shady Grove Road?
The annexation does not encompass Shady Grove Road.

How will this annexation impact the residents in the affected area?
Upon annexation, the residents will become City residents and will be subject to local laws and regulations. However, they will also enjoy the benefits that come with being a City resident.

Why is the decision-making authority for this matter vested in the city rather than only allowing the affected residents to vote on it?
This requirement is mandated by the State of Arkansas Law for any community-wide annexation conducted through an election. Both landowners in the proposed annexation area and Siloam Springs residents will have the opportunity to vote in the election if approved.

Is the City of Siloam Springs' current infrastructure capable of supporting the newly proposed area?
Indeed, water and sewer lines will not be immediately added; however, they will be gradually extended over time as development takes place.

Will the city need to hire more employees to manage the annexed area?
Maybe in time, but not initially.

If your property is not entirely surrounded by the newly proposed city limits, can you still be compelled to undergo annexation?
At this stage, the annexation area is finalized. Anyone residing within that designated area will be included in the annexation if approved.

Currently, who is the owner of the land, and is Siloam Springs acquiring it through eminent domain? If this is the case, could this establish a precedent for other landowners who might face potential land seizure beyond the city limits?
The land in question is owned by over 300 individuals, and the City does not need to acquire this land for the annexation process. The ownership of the land will remain unchanged after annexation, meaning there is no requirement for eminent domain. Therefore, no new precedents are being set in this matter.

Will annexing that area lead to an increase in options for internet services?
As of now, the City does not provide internet services. To get information about internet pricing, residents will need to reach out to a local internet service provider.

How will the annexation affect the future federal plans to turn 412 into an interstate? Will the interstate have to bypass the city to the north?
The presence or absence of City limits will not influence the construction of a future interstate. As of now, there is no official decision regarding whether the future interstate would bypass Siloam Springs to the north or south. A study is currently underway to determine the recommendation, but no definitive decision has been made yet.

What would be the consequences for residents whose properties do not comply with the current city ordinances? For example, regarding structures like outbuildings, keeping livestock, or issues related to overgrown brush and trees, how would the city address such situations?
In general, existing conditions are grandfathered in, meaning buildings that don't meet setbacks and similar cases are exempted from changes. However, if the property is annexed into the City, any new use would have to adhere to City ordinances. Fortunately, livestock won't be affected, as the City ordinance permits keeping livestock as long as there's a minimum of one acre available on the property.

Is it feasible to develop a commercial and entertainment area on the North side of town to generate additional interest? Would the concept of bikeability and walkability be taken into account for this area to help minimize traffic congestion?
Absolutely! The potential for a commercial and entertainment hub hinges on the specific developments that take shape in the area. The future land uses will be dictated by zoning regulations, primarily guided by the City's 2040 future land use map. Additionally, the annexation plans align with the City's Walk/Bike Plan, encompassing certain parts of the area. As part of new developments, there will be a requirement to include sidewalks, and in certain instances, walking and biking trails as well. This will enhance the overall accessibility and pedestrian-friendliness of the region.

Do the residents living in the proposed area utilize city programs such as Siloam Springs public schools, police services, and fire/EMS facilities?
Indeed, every resident included in the annexation will enjoy the same rights and privileges as those who currently reside within the City limits if the annexation is approved by voters.

Does the annexation include Oak Crest Drive?
Certainly, Oak Crest Drive, along with the Oak Crest Estates subdivision, has been encompassed within this annexation.

Does this annexation include Russell Road, west of Benton County Foods?
No, Russel Road is not included with the proposal.

If the annexation is approved, would residents still be allowed to keep their mobile homes on their land?
Absolutely, any current land use will be grandfathered in.

 Will this annexation contribute to attracting industries to Siloam Springs?
Certainly, the possibility of expanding the City's area offers the potential for more land that could be utilized for future industrial purposes, which, in turn, may attract industries to the area.

Why are the areas between Lawlis and Hwy 43, between Neck and Stubbs Ct, between Trinity Church and Country Ln, as well as Raines Road and north, not included in the annexation plan? Meadow Hill Rd, Timber Ct, Rim Crest Rd, and Reed Drive are also not included in the annexation plan. Why is there no connection planned to the City Lake Park?
Areas excluded from the annexation are deliberately limited to avoid burdening taxpayers excessively. The City aims to avoid annexing all peripheral areas simultaneously, but the proposal will add a substantial amount of needed area to the City. Stubbs Court has recently been annexed into the City, although the maps haven't been updated yet to reflect this change. Furthermore, other areas bordering the City limits will have the option to annex into the City through a petition process, granting landowners the flexibility they desire.

To which ward would the new residents be added after the annexation?
If the voters approve the annexation, the wards and zoning will be assigned accordingly, and a new ordinance will be implemented in December or January of next year.

Can you confirm whether Russell Road and Star Road are part of the annexation plan?
It is not part of the annexation plan.

Is hunting on the property or discharging a firearm to kill pest animals grandfathered in?
According to our code, it is prohibited to discharge a firearm within city limits. While hunting and pest control through firearm use are not defined land uses, it's important to note that they are currently being practiced on the land. However, to be grandfathered in, a Code amendment would be required. As of now, it is not grandfathered in without such an amendment.

Who will be eligible to vote on the annexation?
Only residents of the City and the proposed annexation area will be eligible to vote.

Will there be any restrictions on driving ATVs, UTVs, tractors, or other farm equipment on city streets?
Those rules won't change. The City adheres to State law concerning the operation of vehicles on public streets. Existing regulations and restrictions for driving ATVs, UTVs, tractors, and other farm equipment within city limits will continue to be in effect.

Can you explain the reasoning behind including parcels 18-13995-000, 18-13992-001, and 18-13992-002 in the annexation? These parcels are located due north of the airport on the north side of Bill Young Road.
The administrative staff was tasked with drafting a proposal for the annexation, and they decided to include this area for specific reasons. The objective was to extend the annexation north of Bill Young Road and align it with Davidson Rd., which led to the inclusion of the referenced parcels in the proposed annexation.

Is it possible to de-annex the parcels mentioned above?
De-annexation is subject to specific statutory requirements, typically preventing the use or benefit of City services on the property. It can only be considered within the first eight years after the annexation is finalized. For de-annexation to occur, the City Board would need to pass an ordinance to initiate the process. The decision to approve de-annexation lies within the Board's discretion.

For a lot with existing chicken houses, would being grandfathered in permit the construction of more chicken houses on that lot, or would they only be grandfathered in for the number they currently have?
Chicken houses are permitted in the agricultural zone, so no special grandfathering is required for them. However, if there are other aspects or uses on the property that do not entirely align with the A-1 zone's regulations, these nonconforming aspects may be eligible for grandfathering under the City ordinance.

After being rezoned to agricultural, what is the process for constructing additional chicken houses? Specifically, are chicken houses required to go through the SDP process? Are there any exemptions in the process for agricultural uses?
Any chicken house exceeding 5,000 SF would necessitate a formal approval process, unless the City decides to introduce a Code amendment that allows for exceptions specifically for chicken houses.

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