Prestressed Concrete seeking annexation

Chad Frey
Prestressed Concrete submitted a petition of annexation of 81 acres owned by the company to the city of Newton, after negotations with the city staff of both North Newton and Newton.

While part of Prestressed Construction Services, 2800 Old Highway 81, is within the city limits of Newton, not everything the company owns sits within those city limits.

There are 81 acres north of the main plant that currently not within any city limits — and the company would like to change that.

With a need of a domestic water supply, the company began working on securing that water supply several months ago.

That work has led to discussions of annexation — and what city should and could annex the company.

North Newton expressed the interest in being that city Sept. 22 during a meeting of the Newton City Commission.

“The only corridor for growth for North Newton is to the North and West of Anderson Street,” said North Newton Mayor Ron Braun. “North Newton has relied on the good faith expressed in the 1982 agreement with Newton on this very point. We trust Newton that they will continue to honor this commitment.”

At that meeting, Prestressed Concrete submitted a petition for the annexation of 81 acres into the city of Newton, which would join property owned by the company and already within the city of Newton.

The property they would like annexed sits to the north of what is already in the city limits.

“The annexation would lead to new jobs for the Newton community, revenue growth for both the city of Newton and Prestressed Concrete as well as consolidation of all the land that we own under one public entity,” said Chris Covert, general manager of Prestressed Concrete.

The city of North Newton, however, does not want the city of Newton to annex the acreage.

“The history of this goes back to probably before 1976. There have been agreements established between the city of Newton and city of North Newton,” Braun said. “... We as two cities have had some understanding and working relationship on the area that is previously owned by Prestressed.”

For several months, Prestressed has been working on annexation, discussing annexation plans with both Newton and North Newton city staff.

According to Covert, the company approached the city of Newton seeking a water supply for the existing facility — it was suggested by Newton city staff that the company reach out to North Newton for a domestic water supply due to the proximity of the plant.

That is what the company did. North Newton city staff responded with a yes, provided the city of Newton would de-annex the current facility to allow for the city of North Newton to annex the facility.

“Having no desire to sever ties with Newton, we respectfully declined North Newton’s offer,” Covert said.

Braun said that none of the meetings with North Newton involved the North Newton city council.

“We are very much ready and available to provide services as requested,” Braun said. “We do have to understand that we have to come to the table as collaborative people seeking common good for both the city and for business.”

Braun said the city of North Newton has “extensive” plans for providing services to Prestressed Concrete. He also said that the area is a major factor in recent flooding and drainage issues will need to be resolved for the property no matter which city annexes the property.

“Is it not better for the city that is affected to work out these arrangements?” Braun asked.

When the company opened a new production building, and began planning for a new storage facility the company began to inquire about annexation of the 81 acres owned that are currently not within a city limit.

The company met with North Newton city staff.

“During this meeting, North Newton voiced their demands for annexation, which were very one-sided and showed no willingness to find common ground,” Covert said. “When I told them I felt like I was being held hostage, they made it clear that that was their offer.”

The company then asked for a meeting with Newton city staff and an engineering firm to investigate water service and annexation into Newton.

This month the city of North Newton moved for a unilateral index of several tracts of land along the east edge of the company tracts.

“This division of plant property into areas of different restrictions and requirements is not the best use of the property and directly conflicts with Prestressed expansion plans,” Covert said.

On Tuesday, the Newton City Commission accepted the petition for annexation from Prestressed Concrete and moved forward with having city staff create an ordinance for the annexation of property owned by Prestressed Concrete.