Administrative Law Judge Beverly Heydinger began hearing testimony Tuesday from the city of Brainerd concerning the city's proposed resolution to annex about 1,000 acres in Unorganized Territory.
Heydinger also took statements from eight residents in Unorganized Territory, all of whom stated they would rather not be annexed into Brainerd.
The hearing reconvened at 9 a.m. today for a tour of the proposed area Brainerd wants to annex. Heydinger set the deadline for written public comments and arguments for Tuesday and the city's deadline for presenting written arguments for Dec. 29. The record will be closed on that date.
Heydinger will consider 14 factors in making her determination, including the extent to which the boundaries are contiguous between the city and the contested area, the adequacy of the city government to deliver services to the contested area, any present and potential transportation issues and the past, present and future population of the contested area.
Heydinger said that though she is allowed up to 90 days to issue an order on the case once it is closed it generally takes about 30 days to come to a decision.
Dan Vogt, Brainerd city administrator; Al Cottingham, Brainerd planner; Jeff Hulsether, Brainerd city engineer; Nicholas Dravesich, Springsted, the city's financial adviser; and Gary Scheeler, Brainerd council member, all gave testimony on behalf of the city. Their testimony covered everything from services to land use in Unorganized Territory.
The city wants to annex the 1,000 acres because, at 95 percent developed, the city needs more room to expand. It also wants to take in the area all at once by resolution, rather than in the piece-by-piece fashion of 60 acres at a time by ordinance, which is how it was being done.
Residents who came to Tuesday's hearing, most living in Dal-Mar Estates, questioned the benefits of coming into the city at this time.
"For Dal-Mar, we hope you just go around us at this time," said Dal-Mar resident Greg Jedlenski. "The people of Dal-Mar don't want to go in. Maybe five years from now, maybe two, but not now."
"It's a lose, lose, lose situation on Dal-Mar unless you can show a benefit to us," added resident Ron Huber. "I strongly oppose being annexed by Brainerd, or anyone else."
Most of the residents who appeared Tuesday to give statements had at one time signed a petition to be annexed into Brainerd, but withdrew after Brainerd and Baxter settled their contested case in Unorganized Territory in June.
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