North Merced Annexation Feasibility Study (2019)

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Merced Theater Tower2nd Community Information Meeting: Wednesday, August 7, 2019

As part of the North Merced Annexation Feasibility Study process, a second set of public meetings was held on August 7. The primary purpose of the meetings was to provide information on how the Feasibility Study is progressing and to continue to receive public input and comments. These meetings were the second in a series of public meetings about the Feasibility Study. The first meetings were held on May 21, 2019.

The City has retained a land use planning consultant to prepare the Feasibility Study. The purpose is to provide recommendations to the City regarding possible future annexation (incorporation) of all or portions of an area north of the City. The 7,670-acre Feasibility Study area is generally near UC Merced and is currently in Merced County. It is partially rural and partially developed, mostly with homes. The area is already identified in the City of Merced General Plan as a direction for future urban growth.

In addition to providing a summary of the Feasibility Study process and purpose, the presentation include information about:

  • The topics presented at the first information meetings;
  • Summary of issues and concerns raised by participants at the May meetings;
  • Activities conducted since the May meetings;
  • Preliminary findings from technical analyses now in progress;
  • Examples of the annexation process for inhabited and uninhabited land;
  • Preliminary ideas for annexation/growth options (e.g. infill, traditional annexation, out- of-boundary services agreements, etc.) being considered ; and
  • Next steps and schedule.

A summary of comments, the agenda, and the consultant presentation from the May 21, 2019 community meetings are posted below. The agenda and consultant presentation for the August 7 meetings are also posted below along with a handout regarding water rates that was distributed at the meeting. A summary of comments from the August 7 meetings will be posted at a later date.

Additional Information

At the workshop, a number of questions were asked about other plans and studies that had been previously adopted within the study area or upcoming studies that would affect properties within the study area. Links to those documents are provided below. Please note that except for the Bellevue Community Plan and Merced Vision 2030 General Plan, these links take you to other agency's websites and the City of Merced is not responsible for their content.

Land Use Map for the study area

What Is the North Merced Annexation Feasibility Study?

City Planning

Two of a city’s fundamental purposes are to provide services and plan for the future needs of a community. Forward planning can help prepare for and identify where future growth (including housing and jobs) might occur, and what types of City services may be needed or required.

Considering Annexation

One of the future-planning activities currently underway by the City of Merced is to consider possible annexation (incorporation) of all or a portion of an area that is currently within the County. The area is generally located north of the City near UC Merced and encompasses approximately 7,670 acres. The area is partially rural and partially developed, mostly with homes. A document entitled "Annexation Questions and Answers" with more detailed information about annexations in general is available for download below along with information about the Feasibility Study.

Feasibility Study

The City has contracted with a land use planning firm (EMC Planning Group Inc.) to prepare a study about the northern area called the “North Merced Annexation Feasibility Study”. The main purpose of the Feasibility Study is to provide recommendations to the City for when and how it considers future annexations in this area over time for potential future development. A map of the Study area is above and is available for download below.

The Study will identify:

  • Potential constraints to development related to natural resources such as farmland, biological resources and flooding hazards that may exist;
  • Types of infrastructure and other City services that may be needed or required (such as sewer collection/treatment services and utility and road improvements), and options as to how infrastructure might be provided;
  • Future opportunities for development in the area based on economic analysis;
  • Options for ways in which annexation might occur; and
  • Examples of general costs for annexing and developing land within the area.

The Process

The Feasibility Study is expected to take about six (6) months to complete.

After the Feasibility Study is completed, requests for individual annexations and development within annexation areas would have to be formally submitted to the City by landowners or other interested parties. The City’s consideration of each individual request would occur as part of a separate, subsequent process. An annexation and development approval process can take up to several years.

Should the City determine it is interested in considering individual future annexation and development requests, there is a decision-making process that must be followed.

The City must:

  1. Formalize its interest;
  2. Receive an annexation/development application from a landowner or other interest;
  3. Review the proposed annexation and development plans;
  4. Prepare an environmental assessment; and
  5. Make a decision about whether to approve the request.

If the City approves a request for annexation and development, it must then submit an application for annexation to the Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO), which must also approve the request.

Subsequent steps then include:

  1. Review and approval by LAFCO;
  2. A vote of area property owners or registered voters; and
  3. Other steps as required by law.

Public Participation

Opportunities for the public to stay informed about and participate in the Feasibility Study process will be available.

Informational meetings and a meeting with the Planning Commission and City Council are planned as part of the process. Notices of these meetings will be posted on the City’s website. Public attendance at meetings is encouraged and welcomed. The first public workshops were held on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 3-5PM and 6-8PM in the Sam Pipes Room at City Hall, which is located within the Merced Civic Center at 678 West 18th Street. Another meeting is expected in late July 2019.

Study Documents