There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the notion of annexation of the Simi Valley Landfill. Initially, I got pretty excited by the notion. To me, it seemed like this would give the City ultimate control in determining whether or not landfill expansion can proceed as planned. Evidently, that’s not entirely the case. Regardless of whether or not the landfill sits on Simi Valley land or unincorporated land, state law puts landfill regulation responsibilities with the County.
To be clear, the City of Simi Valley will NOT be the ones to determine if the expansion can proceed as plans regardless of annexation. That duty will remain with the County Board of Supervisors.
There are benefits to proceeding with annexation, however. For example, if the land that surrounds the landfill is going to be developed in any way (e.g. a shopping center), annexation would put the City in control of approving or denying those plans. Having said that, has annexation ever been a considering since the landfill expansion was first proposed. The answer is… yes!
Here’s a quote from Mike Smith of Waste Management that appeared in the Ventura County Star this morning:
Mike Smith, director of operations for Waste Management Ventura County, said he believes the company and Williamson “want the same thing — to keep Simi Valley clean and green.”
“We at WM are committed to working with the city of Simi to ensure that the landfill can continue to benefit the city and its residents, regardless of whether the city considers annexation or not,” Smith said. “In fact, we have been discussing annexation with officials from the city of Simi Valley for more than three years.”
Read the details by clicking here…
If the discussion has been going on that long, I’m definitely curious to know how long this process takes and how quickly it can be resolved. I know Councilwoman Barbra Williamson has been THE outspoken Council Member on this topic. I suspect her battle has been an uphill one the whole time for it to take this long for annexation to make it to the agenda, especially with WM being open to the discussions for that length of time.
When the topic of annexation is behind us, I’d be very interested to hear all the candidates weigh in on whether or not they are for or against the expansion itself. For me, that is the ultimate topic regarding the expansion.
UPDATED: I’m getting a lot of email and messages from folks who believe my facts are incorrect regarding whether or not annexation will provide the city with the power to approve or deny the expansion.
The conversation most frequently referenced is between me and Barbra Williamson in my comments section on the landfill related post on September 7th:
Mike Chandler: Barbra, could you answer this just to make sure I’m clear:
1 – Would annexation give the city the power to approve or deny the expansion?
2 – Is it true that regardless of whether or not the landfill is annexed that the city would never have control over operating specifics, such as “tipping fees”, rates, daily capacity, etc., including the landfill’s service region (LA and beyond)?
3 – Would annexation have a positive impact on the city’s bottom line?
Barbra Williamson: 1) yes
3) maybe but I am more thinking yes.
Fair enough. However, in the Ventura County Star article I referenced earlier in this post, I read the following quote:
Williamson, chairwoman of the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force, wants the City Council to consider annexing the landfill so the city can have more oversight of the site’s surrounding areas.
“Because technically, by state law, the city can have nothing to do with the running of the landfill itself,” she said in an interview. “That has to be under the jurisdiction of the county. But if in fact there is going to be development in the surrounding area, the city needs to be in the controlling seat.”
Barbra is very approachable and always willing to respond to my requests for clarification (thank you, Barbra!). Via email, she clarified that in fact the County is the single entity that will determine whether or not the landfill can be expanded per the proposal, regardless of whether the property is annexed.
I think the confusion on this fact was based on the comments I mentioned above, but this is the latest confirmation I received on the matter.