By Betsy Dolan
Fort Bend County residents living near Rosenberg are upset over plans to annex six extra-territorial jurisdiction areas surrounding the city. In the second public hearing on the issue, residents spoke out against the proposed annexation of J. Meyer Road Tracts, River Road Tracts, Union Pacific Tracts, Muegge Road Tracts, Klosterhoff Tracts and the Baker Road Tracts.
A small group of residents told the council that they fear annexation means increased taxes, fees and regulations for services they don’t want or need.
“You are not bringing city water, you are not bringing sewer.” said one resident. “Until then I can understand getting annexed in and paying those city taxes just as everyone else does, but I don’t see a huge benefit right now.”
Residents living in the six proposed sites also said annexation means taking away the rural lifestyle that brought them to the area in the first place.
“At one of the council meetings, a comment was made that ‘maybe one shouldn’t buy or build in the ETJ if you don’t want to be annexed,” one resident said. “I doubt way back when my grandparents bought this property, there was little thought given to the possibility of this one day being in Rosenberg’s ETJ.”
Rosenberg’s City Manager, Jack Hamlett, told the “Star” that while he understands residents’ concerns, it makes economic sense for the city to expand into the surrounding areas.
“If you look at where we are growing and if you look at the corridors leading into the city, we have a big opportunity for economic development in those six areas,” Hamlett said. “We need to look for ways to make our city stronger and more viable and annexing those areas that allow us to take advantage of economic development opportunities.”
According to Hamlett, this issue may not be as contentious as past annexation proposals in Rosenberg because 80% of the parcels in the six targeted areas have ag-exempt status–an option for property owners in ETJ’s that was approved by the state legislature. The provision allows property owners to enter into a non-development agreement which protects them from annexation as long as the property remains ag-exempt. If the designation changes, the land will be automatically annexed into the city.
Rosenberg’s City Council will vote on the annexation proposal on September 4.