The Tucson City Council will decide Tuesday night whether to annex 163 acres on the southeast side of town, the latest in an effort to bring more sales tax revenue to city coffers.
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild has been pushing for annexation because the more incorporated land in Pima County, the more state shared revenues return to cities and towns.
The 163-acre site at East Valencia Road and South Kolb Road is poised for retail development, said Mike Czechowski, the annexation project manager for Tucson.
"All annexations are good annexations for the city of Tucson," he said. "This one is beneficial because it is raw land, and we can be ahead of the development, ahead of 1.3 million square feet of projected retail, which would be excellent for the economy for our region.”
Czechowski is managing four annexation projects, but this one is scheduled for a vote at tonight's City Council meeting.
The area that would be annexed, if the council approves, is almost entirely surrounded by city land, but remains an unincorporated island. Those are the kinds of annexation areas Czechowski is focusing on, he said.
"This is also a strategic area for us to close in some gaps on the southeast side of town," he said. Removing pockets of unincorporated land surrounded by city land makes it easier to know which fire department or whether Tucson Police or Pima County Sheriff's department officials will respond in an emergency, he added.
”We’ve got lots of areas like that that could provide service nightmares. So if we could close in those gaps and streamline the service, it makes it much better for us,” Czechowski said.
Property owners must agree to annexation plans, and the two owners of the 163 acres have agreed, he said. Their development plans for a retail center already have Pima County's approval, and if the annexation passes, the plans would be accepted by Tucson's development services arm, according to a memo about the proposal from Richard Miranda, Tucson city manager.