An annexation that would bring four parcels of land in the Saul/South Hill road island neighborhood into the city limits has been tabled for further investigation.
The Sunnyside Planning Commission last week heard a request to annex property along South Hill and Saul roads. The South Hill Road property belongs to Curt and Cynthia Butler, Glenn and Norma Shinn and Leon and Daphne Stewart. The Saul Road property belongs to Jose and Blanca Madrigal. All four families want their property zoned R-2, medium density. Their property all abut R-2 zoned land already within the city limits.
The neighborhood, which is just north of I-82, is currently under review by the Boundary Review Board. It is expected the Board will rule that the neighborhood in question must be annexed into the city limits.
A nearby neighbor of the four families seeking the R-2 annexation, Manny Ledesma, said he is concerned that the owners of neighboring land, not currently being considered for annexation, will seek R-2 zoning in the future as well. The 12-acres, on the southwest portion of Saul Road, is not currently being considered for annexation.
Although the 12-acres is not being annexed at this time, the planning commissioners said it is their intention to eventually recommend zoning the large parcel as mini ranchettes, a zone that was created specifically for the neighborhood. A mini ranchette zone combines the rural lifestyle with the benefits of city living. In general, the mini ranchette zoning would establish one-acre parcels of land.
Ledesma said he is also concerned that at the time of annexation the residents will have to pay a substantial amount of money to tie into the city's water and sewer system.
Planning Commissioner Brent Cleghorn said the idea that residents would have to pay money to be annexed is a misnomer.
Assistant City Manager Mark Kunkler explained that the land would be "grandfathered" into the city and as long as the present water and sewer systems operate efficiently residents there would be allowed to use the systems already on their property.
Curt Butler, who has a rental house on South Hill Road, said one of the reasons why the petitioners want the R-2 annexation is that they are close to the city borders and are surrounded by the city, but they still have to call the county for help.
Butler said the reason they have requested an R-2 zoning is because his parents, the Shinn's, have a modular home on the back of their property where his grandfather lived. His grandfather died earlier this year.
"They would like to keep the trailer, but it's not possible without the R-2 zoning," he said.
Ria Van Dyken, who lives across the road from the Butler's property, told the planning commissioners she is concerned about the petition that was submitted to the city. She pointed out that one of the signees is deceased, one has since moved and one is not a registered voter. Kunker responded, saying being a registered voter is not a requirement to sign a petition.
The annexation process has been in the works for nearly a year and reflects the residents of the property at the time the petition was signed, said Kunkler. He said that it is still a valid petition.
Van Dyken said she would prefer it if the property across the street from hers was zoned mini ranchette. Her concern, along with that of Kent and Kathy Tramel, who live behind Butler's property, is that a duplex will be built on the property.
Mr. Tramel said he feels the entire area should be zoned mini ranchette.
Mrs. Tramel said if their property is annexed, they would want to be zoned mini ranchette, even though their property is smaller than an acre.
Marv Meyers, another nearby neighbor, said that in a meeting held a year ago the neighbors of South Hill and Saul roads were promised or guaranteed that when the property was annexed it would be mini ranchettes.
"I don't think you should go back on your word," said Meyers. "We were promised that was what we were going to get."
The next door neighbor to Butler's rental on the west side is Norma Guerra, who also opposes the R-2 zoning in her neighborhood.
"The reason Mr. Butler wants a duplex there is to put money in his pocket, not mine," said Guerra. "We worked very darn hard for what we have.
"We have a very nice little community there," she said. "The only one who's going to profit here is Butler, not us," she added.
Cynthia Butler said that she and her husband are trying to open up future possibilities for their land.
"Down the road we maybe will put up a duplex," said Mrs. Butler.
In the end, the commissioners asked for more information on what was promised the residents in the neighborhood before making a decision. The issue was tabled until a later meeting.