Proposed Arizona Bill To Ease Rules For The Formation Of New Cities

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 9:27am
Updated: Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 9:46am

A House panel agreed to ease the rules for when new cities and towns can be formed, a change in law that opponents insist will harm the ability of existing communities to grow.

The proposed bill creates an exemption from laws that give cities the power to veto any new nearby incorporations. That power extends out six miles for cities of at least 5,000 people and three miles for smaller towns.

Representative Eddie Farnsworth of Gilbert said the measure is specifically being pushed to help the residents of San Tan Valley incorporate, something that has been blocked by the city of Florence in northwest Pinal County.

"That particular area has grown from about 4,500 people in 2004 to now over 100,000 people," Farnsworth said. "It is a very large unincorporated area.”

Alex Vidal, lobbyist for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, defended that veto power, arguing that the buffer zone provides room to grow through annexation.

"The reason that we have the three and six-mile rule is to protect cities so that they're able to grow," Vidal said. "The last thing we want is for a growing community to be boxed in and not being able to grow in the future."

Vidal said San Tan Valley wants to incorporate right up to the border of Florence, effectively stopping its growth there.

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