City and township could sign annexation agreement next month


Greenvale Township meeting on 12/16 from Bonnie Obremski on Vimeo

Brian O’Connell, Northfield community development director, and Joel Walinski, interim city administrator, discussed the remaining details of a proposed annexation agreement with Greenvale Township‘s three supervisors for more than an hour on Tuesday night.

In the accompanying video, O’Connell and Walinski are on the left side of the table. Township supervisors Robert Winter, Bernard Budin and Chairman Richard Moore are on the right (Moore is the furthest in the background). The woman at the end of the table is Edith Nelson, the township’s secretary.

The annexation agreement, among other things, indicates how much Northfield would reimburse Greenvale for the property taxes the township will lose when 530 acres of undeveloped farmland goes onto the city’s tax rolls. Northfield is annexing the land to attract industrial developers.

The discussion led to two clarifications in the draft of the agreement. Walinski said he will release a copy of the final draft of the annexation agreement in his memo on Friday. The first clarification, which is shown in the video, addresses Greenvale’s request to prohibit Northfield from annexing any more of the township’s land for a period of five years following the current annexation deal.

O’Connell and Walinski said, in order to keep with the goals of Northfield’s comprehensive plan, they would not prohibit annexation across the next five years, but agreed to a restriction that Greenvale landowners who petition the city for annexation within that period must get written consent from the owners of every neighboring property.

The next clarification had to do with how Northfield will calculate its tax reimbursement payment to Greenvale. The proposed payment plan would reimburse Greenvale in the amount of about $3,854 a year for five years. That figure is the amount of money Greenvale currently collects in taxes on the property. According to the agreement, the reimbursement amount would change year-to-year as the property tax rate changes. In the sixth year, Northfield would pay a “balloon payment” that would equal 20 more years of annual payments. In all, Northfield would pay Greenvale about $96,362, using today’s property tax rate figure.

At Tuesday’s meeting, O’Connell and Walinski said the city would calculate the balloon payment by using a tax rate figure equal to the average of tax rates in the previous five years.

At the end of the meeting, the Northfield and Greenvale representatives agreed to allow their respective lawyers to look at the final draft of the agreement before signing the document. Three Greenvale residents attending the meeting said they were not completely satisfied with the way their supervisors negotiated the annexation agreement. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 19 in the Township Hall on Guam Avenue.


  1. kiffi summa said:

    Well, what happens now? With Greg Langer beating out the incumbent in Greenvale, actually, I think two of the incumbents being unseated………what is the status of the annexation agreement?
    Can the new Greenvale supervisors protest to the State Office of Boundaries before the annexation agreement is ratified?
    What are the possibilities?

    March 11, 2009
  2. norman butler said:

    I was under the impression (misunderstanding?) that the annexed land was to be an industrial park. Now I hear that 20% of the land has been dedicated to housing and retail. Any explanation/clarification?

    March 12, 2009
  3. Norman, you’re right that the annexed land is intended for industrial development. Creating a master plan for the new business park will be a major part of the EDA’s work along with Council members and relevant boards and commissions, public, etc.

    The infamous 20% residential is by no means guaranteed or even on the table at this time. The rationale is that it would be unwise to contractually eliminate the possibility of residential or retail uses. I’m somewhat dubious about this rationale as I am about most aspects of the NW annexation, but there are no plans to build housing.

    March 12, 2009
  4. kiffi summa said:

    Betsey is, of course, completely correct that there is no plan to build housing at this time…….. However, why did the staff who negotiated the annexation agreement take it upon themselves to feel that that option had to be in the agreement NOW, saying that THEY didn’t feel the ‘city’s’ “hands should be tied”. Everyone knows a development agreement can be changed with the decision of both parties, if that was an issue to be re-visited in the future.

    I look at this as the staff making what should have been , and actually was… by resolution last June, a City Council policy decision.

    I don’t understand why this council went along with this 20% housing inclusion; half of them being new is no excuse. There was no big discussion of the issue, no permission sought and received; I believe it was just brought to the council as a staff recommendation at a work session, which they then accepted without exploration of the previous council and the Planning Commission’s policy decisions.

    As I said, Betsey is completely correct on the fact; the backstory and rationale need more explanation…….. done deal or not.

    What is the point of big idealistic Plans, Comprehensive or other, if they are not honored?

    March 13, 2009
  5. kiffi summa said:

    Just an additional step in the whole big annexation issue … last night the council agreed to change the wording in the city’s annexation ordinance ( 891 ). The packet states that this change would make the ord “conform to state statute and prevent legal challenges”. ( David Bly was quoted as telling a constituent that municipalities have the right to be more restrictive than state statute, but not less restrictive, so some of the packet reasoning seemed like the proverbial red herring. )

    The change relieves the applicant for annexation from having to obtain written agreement from the Township supervisors approving/agreeing to annexation.

    Staff reassured the Council that this would not affect the specific/individual agreements that the City of Northfield has with each Township…

    What ??? there’s something here I am not getting … there seems to be a built in opportunity for legal challenge if the ordinance says one thing and the agreement with the Twp. says something else.

    There were a lot ( 30? ) of Waterford Twp residents in attendance, and a lot of interest in this change.

    Maybe that concern, was all misplaced … but I remain questioning of the need for this change .. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if this ‘story’ continues…

    March 17, 2009