Put Roads End to a Vote! was the cry of some Roads End residents fighting annexation into Lincoln City
A long line of Roads End residents told the Lincoln City City Council Monday night that they don’t want to be forced to annex into the city. They said they fear that their property taxes will rise substantially and that Lincoln City might allow new hotels and other commercial operations to change their tranquil, rural lifestyle, just beyond the city’s glare. However, a few Lincoln City residents testified that they are tired of subsidizing Roads End residents who get urban services without having to pay the full cost of them like city parks and recreation programs, sewer and water service, access to 24/7 police services among other things.
Lincoln City staff told the annexation hearing that although Roads End property owners pay lower property taxes, they still get full access to urban benefits, including sewer and water which costs more to provide than even the double-rate paid by Roads End customers. Staff also denied that if Roads End comes into the city, the city will change land use zoning or try to force hotels or commercial buildings to be built along Roads End’s beach front.
Many Roads End neighbors demanded a vote of the people to decide whether they should be annexed into the city. They called a recent campaign to get enough property owner signatures, to initiate annexation, a bullying tactic since the city threatened to cut off their water if they didn’t sign on the dotted line. A recent court decision ruled the city could, indeed, cut off their water because the contract to provide water to Roads End expired many years ago.
Another factor in all this are state land use laws that basically say, if you demand city services you will eventually live in a city. In this case Roads End’s urban area shares its southern boundary with north Lincoln City. They’re smack up against each other. That’s why Lincoln City Police respond on calls for service when its serious enough and no Sheriff’s deputies are available. At night, deputies respond from home, which could be located in any far-flung area of the county. Oregon State Police can also respond but there are even fewer of them.
City staff also reiterated that many of the homes in Roads End are vacation rentals. Their owners live out of the area and derive income from renting their houses to vacationers. City staff contends that the city spends well over a million dollars a year on out-of-region advertising to promote Lincoln County as a vacation spot. That, staff says, benefits vacation rental property owners and helps them keep their places rented.
A member of the Roads End Water District (which owns neither water nor a way to deliver it to anyone) plopped a thick stack of papers on the podium saying they were documents, signed by Roads End residents, who are withdrawing their permission to be annexed. Many charged that the city’s “greedy and bullying attitude” made them sign in the first place – not out of any honest desire to become part of Lincoln City.
City Councilors are holding another Roads End Annexation hearing Tuesday night, 6pm at City Hall. At the end of the next meeting, the council is expected to vote on whether to proceed with the annexation process. A number of Roads End residents have vowed to file suit against the city if the council decides to annex Roads End.