Refining Policies for Growth Planning and Municipal Boundary Changes

The 108th General Assembly eliminated unilateral, nonconsensual annexation with the enactment of Public Chapter 707, Acts of 2014, and strengthened the annexation moratorium established by Public Chapter 441, Acts of 2013.  The 2014 Act extended the review of state policies governing comprehensive growth plans and changes in municipal boundaries begun by Public Chapter 441 on which the Commission released an interim report in December 2013. Until May 15, 2015, cities may annex by ordinance only those formally initiated before passage of Public Chapter 707 and approved by the county or with the written consent of the owners.  After that date, cities can annex property only with the written consent of the owner or by referendum.  Cities can annex agricultural land only with written consent of the owner.

While Public Chapter 707 settled many important issues surrounding annexation, its passage raised a few new questions and left others unresolved:

  • Issues that Public Chapter 707 did not resolve
    • non-resident participation in annexation decisions
    • annexing non-contiguous areas
    • deadlines and standards for implementing plans of services and inclusion of financial information
    • participation in deannexation decisions and deannexing agricultural property
    • informing the public before adjusting cities’ shared boundaries
    • implementing statutory allocation of tax revenue after annexation
    • reviewing and updating growth plans
    • retracting cities’ urban growth boundaries
    • duties and responsibilities of joint economic and community development boards
  • Issues that Public Chapter 707 created
    • references to annexation by ordinance that were not removed
    • apparent ambiguities created in sections that were not amended