LOWELL | The town moved another step closer Thursday to positioning itself for future industrial development.
The Lowell Plan Commission unanimously agreed to adopt the Lowell Annexation Plan recommended by the Annexation Committee and prepared by planner James Mandon.
"This is a guide," said Doug Niksch, who chairs the Annexation Committee. "The Annexation Committee believes as long as this is maintained and used only as a guide, we'll be fine."
Dana Llewellyn, of the 6800 block of Belshaw Road, lives in one of the zones marked for possible annexation. She is in the fifth zone of 20 listed. She wanted to know whether the zones were labeled according to priority.
Mandon said each of the zones are weighed according to benefits to the town and difficulties anticipated because of remonstration and other factors.
In the case of the zone in which she resides, Mandon wrote in the plan, "Because of the rail access, the development potential and revenue production is good." However, he called the topography "challenging."
Wayne Wietbrock, of the 18000 block of Cline Avenue, asked, "Why annex now?"
Wietbrock lives in an area planned for annexation and wondered why the town doesn't wait until property owners petition to be annexed.
"Is it for the town to have control and not the county have control?" Wietbrock asked.
Plan Commission President Richard Kelley said, "That's part of it .... There are opportunities for business in town, and there's nowhere else to go."
Llewellyn was concerned about legislation that would not require areas be contiguous to the town to be annexed.
Councilman Craig Earley, D-1st, also a Plan Commission member, said he understood state Sen. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, "pulled it." The legislation's future is not known.
When Llewellyn asked what the next step would be, attorney Jack Kramer said Monday's public hearing and the plan's adoption are not a shortcut. There still will be the full process, he said.
Kelley said officials have been cautious regarding what the town can afford in considering annexation.