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Citizens’ rights, protections concerning regulations by

cities of unincorporated areas Annexation practices redefined by 89th Assembly

county and from annexations. Tese changes in the law will greatly benefit Arkansans.

T Extra-territorial Jurisdiction

Only a few states authorize cities to regulate lands outside the city limits. Areas outside cities where a city may exercise planning jurisdic- tion are frequently referred to as “extra-territorial planning jurisdiction” (ETJ). A.C.A. 14-56-413 authorized cities of the first class, cities of the second class and incorporated towns the power to exercise up to five miles extra-territorial planning jurisdiction. In contrast, many states have a reasonable area of extra-territorial planning jurisdictions (Arizona 2 miles; Illinois 1.5 miles; Nebraska 2 miles); and often enhanced based upon city population (North Caro- lina 1-3 miles depending on population; Wisconsin 1- 4 miles depend- ing on population). Arkansas is a rural state. No state provides an extra-territorial jurisdic- tion of five miles to cities regardless of population — to the extent that Arkansas law did. Rural Arkansans choose to reside in rural areas in part to be free from regulations by cities. Since large metropolitan cities like Chicago, Phoenix and Charlotte

have found no need for five miles of ETJ, why would Camden, Van Buren or Hot Springs need five miles ETJ? HB 1773 , now Act 1053 of 2013, sponsored by Representative

Bruce Cozart and Senator Jake Files brings Arkansas into line with other states in regard to extra-territorial planning jurisdiction. It limits the planning jurisdictions by population to: 1 mile for all cities less than 60,000; 2 miles for cities of 60,000 population to 150,000; and 3 miles for cities more than 150,000 population. Cities that annex and move their boundary will get a new mile or

miles depending on population. Act 1053 of 2013 will prevent a city from imposing burdensome, unnecessary and costly regulations on ru- ral lands miles outside cities. Research and testimony demonstrated that small cities were exercising five miles ETJ without any possible foresee- able need. Some of these cities had not grown in decades; and some cities were

enforcing the ETJ selectively. Imposing urban road standards upon rural areas may stifle growth

and development. Urban/city road standards (ranging from curb, gut- ter, storm drainage, asphalt overlays to sidewalk or street light require- ments) should be reserved for urban areas.


he 89th Arkansas General Assembly enacted a series of laws during the 2013 regular session addressing ad- verse impacts to Arkansans from regulations imposed by cities upon lands in the unincorporated areas of the

County road standards are sufficient and

more suitable for rural roads and rural Ar- kansans. Roads built to county roads stan- dards handle drainage better and are less costly to build and maintain. Furthermore, roads in the unincorporat-

Mark Whitmore AAC Chief Counsel

ed areas of the county must comply with rural road standards for the county judge to consider accepting a road for perpetual maintenance as public roads under A.C.A. 27-67-207 and A.C.A. 14-17-208. HB 1773, now Act 1053 of 2013, also helps bring Arkansas law back into line with the Arkansas Constitution and laws of Arkansas. A.C.A. 14-56-413 was amended in 1965 purporting to grant cities exclusive planning authority in the ETJ. Amendment 55 of the Arkansas Constitution was adopted by the people in 1974 along with implementing legislation in 1977 includ- ing: A.C.A. 14-14-1101 and 14-14-1102 which confide in the county judges the authority to administer the plan of public roads and respon- sibility for the maintenance, construction, including drainage, opera- tion of public roads throughout the unincorporated areas of the county, including the ETJ area. Likewise, A.C.A. 14-14-801 et seq., grants the legislative authority of the county to the quorum court, not city councils. A.C.A. 14-56-413 conflicted with Amendment 55 and implementing legislation. As per Attorney General Opinion No. 2006-050, the foregoing and follow- ing, cities under A.C.A. 14-56-413 did not have exclusive authority to regulate in the ETJ. See also: City of Jacksonville v. City of Sherwood, 375 Ark. 107

(2008) held that the territorial planning jurisdiction of a city was not exclusive; Arkansas Soil and Water v. City of Bentonville, 351 Ark. 289 (1979) held that the city did not have exclusive planning when the state and district water plan are in force. More important than what the law has been since Amendment 55,

Act 1053 of 2013 responds by making the law what it should be. Act 1053 reduces the extra-territorial planning jurisdiction that is autho- rized and to be used by cities to reasonable limits and includes differen- tiation based upon population. Act 1053 will allow tens of thousands of residents and landowners

in rural Arkansas outside the reduced ETJ (miles away from urban city lands) to be free to develop their lands without undue burdens from potential city regulations.

Annexation: Improved practices & citizens rights and protections During the 2013 regular session the General Assembly also enacted several laws addressing certain poor annexation practices and providing


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