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Predatory Annexations

Unincorporated communities are often targets for annexation by adjacent cities. But an annexation proposal is usually not done for the benefit of the residents and busiesses of the targeted unincorporated area. The motives are usually about how the nearby city can benefit financially from the annexation: 

  • Once a city annexes developed land, it gains access to the property tax and sales tax revenues associated with the annexed land, and/or
  • Once a city annexes developable land (farms, forests, open space, or "underutilized" built-up land), it gains control over land use decisions - with developers being the usual beneficiaries.

Residents and businesses of unincorporated communites don't get those benefits;  they know annexation is rarely in their best interests. For them, annexations are predatory and they are the prey. LAFCO rules don't give those residents and businesses much leeway in objecting to an annexation proposal.

Salida, next door to Modesto in Stanislaus County, is something of a poster child for predatory annexations. Over the years, Modesto has routinely seen Salida as merely a source of new revenue for the city. The gallery below is an slide show about some of Salida's struggles at standing up against the hungry Goliath of Modesto. It was presented in October 2017 at a public meeting in unincorporated Sacramento County.

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