Answers to common questions regarding proposed annexation by the Town of Queen Creek
All residents of Maricopa County or Pinal County who are eligible and registered to vote may vote for the members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, depending upon their county of residence. Only those who live within the of Queen Creek’s incorporated limits are eligible to also vote for the Mayor and Town Council of Queen Creek.
In May 2007, Queen Creek voters approved a primary property tax of $1.95 per $100 of assessed value. The Town also has a 2.25 percent sales tax, which is collected on sales in the Town.
The construction transaction privilege tax (sales tax) rate increased by 0.25 percent in October 2007, for a total sales tax of 4.25 percent.
State law requires that upon annexation, the Town must keep the zoning on property as close to the same zoning designation as existed before annexation occurred. For example, if the underlying zoning on your property is Maricopa County R1-43 (which allows one dwelling unit per acre), the zoning it will have after annexation into the Town will allow one dwelling unit per acre.
4. Police Service
The Town of Queen Creek contracts with Maricopa County for all law enforcement services. This means that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is the Town’s police department, and all parts of the Town are served by the MCSO.
5. Fire service
As of Jan. 1, 2008, the Town of Queen Creek started its own Fire Department. More information is available on the Fire Department page.
6. Planning and Zoning
Once an area is annexed into Queen Creek, the Town Council decides all planning and zoning issues. The Town’s award-winning General Plan and Subdivision Ordinance guides all land uses. According to Arizona law, cities and towns can adopt ordinances that have greater powers to regulate matters than counties can. This means that the Town’s Subdivision Ordinance and codes can require higher quality subdivision development with more parks, open space, trail systems, landscaping, etc., which can increase and enhance property values.
7. Zoning Codes and Enforcement
Once property is annexed into the Town, it becomes subject to the Town’s laws, and the Town becomes responsible for any building permits, inspections, and code enforcement. However, any properties or uses that have been granted permits through the County will be “grandfathered” and will continue to be legal after annexation. People who need new permits or inspections come to Queen Creek Town Hall for those services if their property is inside Town limits, instead of having to go to Phoenix or Florence. Also, people with complaints about local services call Town Hall instead of making the call to Maricopa County offices in Phoenix or Pinal County offices in Florence .
According to Arizona law, cities and towns can adopt ordinances that convey more ways and greater powers to regulate matters than counties can. This is why cities and towns have more authority to clean up graffiti, prohibit the keeping of junk and debris, or order weed removal. These enforcement activities are important to improving property values as well as community appearance.
Queen Creek codes are mostly based on county codes, so many are similar. Regulation of animals and livestock is similar. However, there are additional Town codes that the counties do not have. (For example, Town codes not only require that properties be kept safe and clean, but they allow for a cleanup paid for by the Town if a property owner refuses to do the cleanup.) Other Town codes define the size of business signs, require certain kinds of streets in new subdivisions, and define the amount of open space a developer must include in a new subdivision. Copies of Town codes are available for viewing at Town Hall or the Queen Creek Library.
8. Road Ownership and Maintenance
One of the biggest differences between being in the Town and in the County is the situation regarding roads and road maintenance. Any public roads that are annexed by the Town become the responsibility of the Town for maintenance. This means the Town rather than the County would pay to grade the roads and improve them when necessary.
However, not everything that looks like a road is really a public road. Some are actually private easements and are not public property. (This is a complicated issue, so be sure to investigate your particular situation carefully and don’t make any assumptions.)
When land is subdivided inside the boundaries of the Town, the seller is required to provide paved access to each lot. When county land follows the official subdivision process today, paved roads are also required. But years ago, counties allowed subdivisions with no paved roads. And paved roads are still not required in the counties when lots are split and do not go through the normal subdivision process. Many of the lots in county areas outside Town limits were subdivided before paved roads were required. Others were split rather than subdivided and therefore do not have real roads; instead they have easements.
In the Town, new lots for homes in a subdivision always have paved roads. These roads are public property. In county lot split areas, many houses are built on lots without paved roads. Instead, the owners share easements for access across private property.
Commonly asked questions
1. “How does the annexation process work?”
There are State laws that guide the annexation process. For the Town to annex property outside its boundaries, it must distribute petitions and collect signatures. To succeed, petition signatures must represent more than half the property owners and more than half the assessed value in the area to be annexed. The Town of Queen Creek has successfully completed more than a dozen annexations in the last five years. Right now we are only gathering information in specific areas to determine how many property owners support annexation.
2. “What are the boundaries of this annexation?”
All property owners in an annexation area will receive a map and details about the proposed annexation once it is recorded. There will also be a public hearing on the annexation.
3. “What are the benefits of annexation?”
As you can see from all the previous information, the Town offers many benefits. Residents especially appreciate having a smaller, local Town Council to go to with questions and problems. Services are provided through Town Hall rather than requiring long-distance calls or trips to Phoenix or Florence. The quality of development required by the Town leads to improved property values and long-term benefits.
4. “What about property tax and trailer tax?”
In May 2007, Queen Creek voters approved a primary property tax of $1.95 per $100 of assessed value.
5. “What will the Town do about roads?”
As explained above in the “Road Ownership and Maintenance” section, any public roads in the annexation area would become the responsibility of the Town. Complaints about roads would then be made to Town Hall, and the Town Council would decide on any improvement projects. Private roads and easements would not change; even after annexation they remain the responsibility of property owners.
6. “What will happen with the sewer project?”
The Town of Queen Creek is very fortunate to be able to participate with Mesa and Gilbert in a regional wastewater treatment plant to be built near Greenfield Road and the Queen Creek Road alignment. The first phase of Queen Creek’s sewer system serves the downtown area, Canyon State Academy (formerly the Arizona Boys Ranch), the Queen Creek High School, and the Villages at Queen Creek golf course community, as well as the area between the railroad tracks and the Queen Creek Wash. The Town is paying for installation of the sewer system with a low-interest loan from the State and will repay the loan with development impact fees paid by each new home served by the sewer. In this way, new growth is paying for the sewer service it needs, and the Town will be able to attract businesses to the downtown area.
It is unlikely that any of the existing homes on large lots would ever be required to connect to the sewer. In Queen Creek, the sewer is not serving homes on large lots.
7. “What are the Town’s views on density?”
Queen Creek area residents helped to create the Town’s award-winning General Plan, the document that guides all development inside Queen Creek town limits. While much of the Town is zoned Very Low Density Residential (which means one home per acre or less), this does not mean that only one-acre lots would be allowed. When landowners create master plans for their property, they often “cluster” homes together on smaller lots, allowing more of the land to be preserved as open space, parkland and trails. The Town Council encourages creativity in master plans so development can offer special amenities.
Landowners and developers do have the right to apply for rezoning or General Plan amendments and to make their case about why the land use deserves to be approved. The counties or the Town (wherever a property is located) is required to review and consider all such cases.
8. “What school district would my children attend?”
Annexation by the Town of Queen Creek does not change school district boundaries. School district boards are separate governmental bodies from the Town Council.
If you have other questions, please contact Queen Creek Town Hall at 480-358-3000.