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Brookings moves forward on airport annexation

Curry County Commissioners agreed to contact Brookings Airport hanger lessees as a matter of courtesy as the city of Brookings moves forward with its annexation plans of the airport and  adjoining parcels of land.

The city has completed its due diligence in the matter, having received letters of approval from the three property owners who have a total of 47 acres in the area. The city has another seven acres there. Obtaining letters of approval from affected property owners is one of three ways a municipality can annex property, said County Attorney Jerry Herbage.

The people who rent hangers from the airport aren’t required by law to be notified of the proposed annexation, although county commissioners thought it would be courteous to inform them of plans.

The city received a $1.7 million grant earlier this year from the U.S. Department of Economic Development to build a water storage tank and extend water and sewer lines to the airport and properties along the way, said City Manager Gary Milliman. As part of the grant agreement, the city will chip in another $1 million to the project.

The county owns the airport and the 95 acres on which it sits and another 20 acres not related to airport uses — and will continue to own and manage the facility. But it is located in unincorporated Curry County and no development can take place there because of the lack of water and sewer to the area.

The property is also in the city’s Urban Growth Boundary, and zoning ranges from commercial to residential.

The city hopes to make improvements to the property and pursue economic development there. The airport could also benefit, as airport-related uses could be implemented there, said City Manager Gary Milliman.

“The county is getting an enhanced ability to develop their property with water and sewer at in-city rates,” he said. The airport could benefit from the light industrial business the city hopes to entice there, as well.

“I’ve had, in the past three years, inquiries about furniture manufacturing, a machine shop, and if the microbrewery goes mini-brewery, that could be an appropriate location,” Milliman said. The city, he added, has little land left for such uses.

County Assessor Jim Kolan said annexation would remove tax revenues from the county rolls – and affected property owners will pay higher taxes in town. The difference is about $3.80 on $100,000 taxed valuation; unincorporated Curry County taxpayers pay the second-lowest tax rate in the state, at 59 cents per $100,000 valuation.

The county and city were to hold a pre-annexation meeting later in the week before approving the annexation next year. 

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