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Some Valley Center residents seek to have properties de-annexed

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, April 29, 2013, at 7:28 p.m.

Several residents of Valley Center want Sedgwick County to de-annex their properties, saying the town has failed to provide services it promised.

A petition by 53 property owners in the Ranchos Del Rio and Ranchos Del Rio 2nd additions on West Street between 77th and 81st streets says that no one is available for animal control calls at night or on weekends, that street lights shine in bedrooms and that streets such as Palos Verdes Circle and 77th Street to the west of West Street are deteriorating.

State law gives counties the responsibility of deciding whether cities and towns can annex land. It also gives counties the responsibility of deciding whether a town is providing services, such as roads and police protection, to the neighborhoods it has annexed. County commissioners ruled in October 2010 that Valley Center had not provided adequate services after it annexed the properties five years earlier. The 2010 ruling started the clock on de-annexation. State law says that after such a ruling, property owners can petition to be de-annexed 21/2 years later.

The county received a petition from Ranchos Del Rio residents on April 23.

Commissioners will meet June 5 to hear from Valley Center and the petitioning property owners about city services.

Valley Center City Administrator Joel Pile said Monday that he disagrees the town has not met service needs.

“One of the complaints was that street maintenance was less than adequate,” he said. “We didn’t believe that to be the case then. But we have put in hard-surface streets in the majority of the neighborhood. We’re just lacking a couple cul-de-sacs.”

Pile said he also found it “ironic” that residents were complaining about light pollution because not having streetlights was something they had complained about in 2010, when they said the city had not provided adequate services.

County Manager William Buchanan said if the properties are de-annexed, the owners no longer would pay city taxes or receive city services.

The properties would become unincorporated areas of the county.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com.

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