The new falcon herald logo.
Feature Articles

The Dreaded “A” Word

No word in the English language has raised more eyebrows and generated more conversation amongst Falconites than “annexation.” Ever since the Safeway shopping center was built, rumors have floated that the city of Colorado Springs was secretly making plans to take over the growing town, suck out the tax dollars and leave Falcon residents with little to show for it. Despite the fact that several city of Colorado Springs officials, including Mayor Lionel Rivera and Councilwoman Margaret Radford, have publicly stated that there are no plans or even discussions of annexing Falcon, it still worries many locals. While the process of annexation is complex, the Colorado law governing it is not.Annexation is the process by which municipalities incorporate new territory. The Colorado Constitution sets forth the conditions under which a municipality may annex new territory. Article II, section 30, states(1) No unincorporated area may be annexed to a municipality unless one of the following conditions first has been met:(a) The question of annexation has been submitted to the vote of the landowners and the registered electors in the area proposed to be annexed, and the majority of such persons voting on the question have voted for the annexation; or(b) The annexing municipality has a received a petition for the annexation of such an area signed by persons comprising more than 50 percent of the landowners in the area and owning more than 50 percent of the area, excluding public streets, and alleys and any land owned by the annexing municipality; or(c) The area is surrounded by or is solely owned by the annexing municipality.According to the published city of Colorado Springs Annexation Plan (Sept. 10, 2002), an “Annexation Impact Report” is required and must include, among many other things, a statement of the city’s plans for extending or providing municipal services within the area to be annexed; the method under which the city plans to finance the extension of the municipal services; and a statement of the effect of annexation upon local-public school district systems, including the estimated number of students generated and the capital construction required to educate such students.Utilities in Falcon are serviced by several different entities. Mountain View Electric provides electrical services. “It’s a very complicated and expensive legal matter,” said Dave Waldner, engineering manager. “Just compensation for service rights and facilities would need to be paid to Mountain View Electric by the city of Colorado Springs if it annexed Falcon.” The same is true for gas service. Water and sewer in the Falcon area has several providers and each would be seeking “just compensation.” This issue alone could discourage any attempt at annexation by the city of Colorado Springs.In addition, factor in the required police and fire protection, capital improvements, public transportation, parks and recreation, increased personnel and operating expenses; it is understandable that the city’s comprehensive plan lists the Falcon area as, “eligible for annexation but not recommended.”David Litzelman is a senior planner for the city of Colorado Springs. “Updating the annexation plan is part of the 2005 “Work Program” for the Comprehensive Planning Division,” Litzelman said. “There are no plans to extend city boundaries to include Falcon, and it is not recommended.”The city’s annexation plan states that the registered voters would have to petition the city of Colorado Springs for annexation. More than 50 percent of registered voters would have to sign such a petition. Would that happen in a community where autonomy is covenanted?Self-rule is the primary reason a group of Falcon citizens is researching incorporation. Art Van Sant, the co-head of the incorporating committee, acknowledges that Colorado Springs attempting to annex Falcon is not a likely scenario. “Annexation has nothing to do with Falcon incorporating,” Van Sant said. “It’s all about the right of the people to self-govern and determine their own future.”Colorado Springs does not encircle Falcon; therefore, (1c) of the plan does not apply. The city of Colorado Springs appears to be uninterested in annexing Falcon now or anytime soon.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers