STERLING – The process of annexing land west of Sterling is underway, and the public soon will be able to formally give its input on the proposals.
The City Council sent resolutions to consider the annexation of two areas to the city’s Plan Commission on Nov. 4. The panel is empowered to make a recommendation to the council on bringing bordering land into the city limits. Conducting public hearings are part of the commission’s duties to be carried out before sending the ordinances back to the council for a final vote. The commission is also responsible for making the appropriate changes to the city’s zoning map.
One area is just outside the city limits north of the Union Pacific Railway. Most of the properties are on West Third and West Fourth streets.
The second annexation resolution is for six properties in the Steelton Subdivision. All of the Steelton property owners have signed an agreement for connection to city sewer services. As drawn up, the sewer buildout pact serves as a petition for annexation of the contiguous parcels.
All of the affected property owners have been notified by the city. The owners and any other residents will have an opportunity to speak during public hearings for both areas, which will be conducted during the 7 p.m. Nov. 21 Plan Commission meeting.
The city’s plan to annex certain areas is “multipronged,” City Manager Scott Shumard said.
It involves bringing in the properties that have signed agreements to use the city’s sewer services, and filling in “donut holes” – areas surrounded by the city, but technically not within the city limits. Land for future development also is a concern because the city is “running out of space,” Shumard said.
“When we grow as a community, we’re doing it in an orderly fashion – and I hate to use this word – but we have some control over the environment.”
It’s also about fairness. Those who live outside the city limits pay less for services such as fire and police protection than city residents.
“It’s not fair that people in the city are paying more than someone who might only be 10 feet away,” Shumard said.
Some residents who live just beyond the city’s limits have called asking why the city hasn’t provided certain services usually done through the city’s code enforcement office. The answer is that the city lacks enforcement authority.
“People presume it’s a city issue and the city should be taking care of the problem, but it isn’t, so we can’t,” he said.
Property owners who have connected to the city’s sewer over the past decade also are being brought in, but they might not remember signing the agreement because it occurred so many years ago, Shumard said.
Not only does annexation strike a balance between neighbors, but it also assists with grants and funding that is dependent on population. With the Census count due to begin April 1, it’s important that the city capture all of its population, Shumard said.
The city is also considering future development projects, and much of the area designated for industrial development is already being utilized by local companies.
“We’re going to need to find places to expand, which is primarily going to be to the west. We need to grow our boundaries,” he said.
Illinois Municipal Code gives city leaders – in Sterling’s case the mayor and council – the authority to adopt annexation ordinances for less than 60 acres of land that is adjacent to and completely surrounded by the city.
Check your property
To check to see if an annexation property agreement is attached to a property, contact Sterling’s Code Enforcement Department at email@example.com or 815-632-6624.
Parcels in the proposed annexation area located north of the Union Pacific Railway:
Parcel number address
11-20-352-011 1511 W. Third St.
11-20-352-010 1603 W. Third St.
11-20-352-009 1603 W. Third St.
11-20-352-008 1607 W. Third St.
11-20-352-006 1711 W. Third St.
11-20-351-004 1725 W. Third St.
11-20-351-003 1801 W. Fourth St.
11-20-351-009 2401 W. Fourth St.
11-20-352-003 2413 W. Fourth St.
11-20-376-010 1601 W. Fourth St.
11-20-376-001 1711 W. Fourth St.
11-20-376-002 1705 W. Fourth St.
11-20-376-003 1701 W. Fourth St.
11-20-376-005 1702 W. Third St.
11-20-376-004 1617 W. Fourth St.
11-20-376-006 1622 W. Third St.
11-20-303-007 2306 W. Fourth St.
11-20-303-002 2302 W. Fourth St.
11-20-303-003 1812 W. Fourth St.
11-20-303-004 1806 W. Fourth St.
11-20-303-005 1716 W. Fourth St.
11-20-326-001 1710 W. Fourth St.
11-20-326-002 1702 W. Fourth St.
11-20-326-003 1618 W. Fourth St.
11-20-326-004 1616 W. Fourth St.
11-20-326-011 601 Maple Lane
Properties in the Steelton Subdivision:
11-19-279-012 901 Douglas Drive
11-19-279-011 901 Douglas Drive
11-19-279-013 905 Douglas Drive
11-19-403-014 405 Ash Ave.
11-19-254-009 1007 East Ave.
11-19-254-010 1005 East Ave.
11-19-254-011 1003 East Ave.