Marysville explores development potential
Get the misconceptions out of the way first: Marysville is not trying to annex much of Linda. Residents in Linda won't lose Linda Fire or Yuba County Sheriff's Department as their public safety. And tax revenues aren't changing as a result of any redrawn lines.
All those statements are true for now, as Marysville officials work through a required process to update the city's sphere of influence. Will they still all be true into the future? Well ...
"There are all kinds of options," said Marysville Vice Mayor Christina Billeci, who introduced a letter at the outset of Wednesday's Local Agency Formation Commission meeting in Marysville requesting a postponement of a workshop on the city's sphere of influence review. "We just want to know the county's position."
A lack of understanding how the county feels led to the postponement, but LAFCO board members said they want some progress when the topic comes up again next month.
Under state law, LAFCOs must examine the sphere of influence for local government entities every five years.
In the proposal for Marysville, the sphere would shift away from areas outside city limits to the north — acreage unlikely to feel much develo ment anytime soon — and instead be centered on an area roughly defined as east of Highway 70, north of the Edgewater subdivision, south of Simpson Lane and west of Griffith Road.
If approved, those seeking to develop within the sphere would have to approach the city first to build under city standards, rather than county ones.
Some Linda residents, as well as government agencies such as the Linda Fire Protection District and Linda County Water District, have opposed, or at least expressed concern, about what the new sphere of influence would mean.
And for residents like Jerry Verrill, who attended the meeting, what it would mean in the future.
"My problem is this: Marysville is drying up," Verrill said, referring to the city's slowly shrinking population. "I don't think the solution is drying up another community."
But others, including both LAFCO board members and county elected officials, said in the long run, annexation by Marysville has to be discussed.
"I'm pretty confident if Marysville doesn't get out of the levees, they'll die," said LAFCO board member Brent Hastey, in asking for the sphere of influence discussion to be put on the agenda again next month.
He said public comment would be critical for how to proceed, but there had to be a forum for it. "This is the place to do it," he said.
Billeci, also a LAFCO board member, said she agreed with Hastey. But she also said there hasn't been a clear message from Yuba County on what its leaders think.
Yuba County Supervisor John Nicoletti, who represents Marysville and who attended the meeting, said there are positive and negative aspects to explore, but the public has to know what they are.
On the upside, he said, defining Linda and Marysville as one population center could help attract the kinds of businesses the county wants. But there are also Linda residents who could rightfully ask whether new curbs and sidewalks would come with the affiliation, Nicoletti said.
Until there is more clarity, he said, the discussion about whether the new sphere of influence is positive — and where it would lead — is hard to have.
LAFCO is scheduled to have a workshop on the topic on June 6.