Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lien payments without representation...

Bureaucracy at its finest.

Linda Wengel lives in the heart of Columbia and wants to run for a seat on her village board this spring, but she can't.

Wengel's new apartment at the Evergreens, in a building for seniors next to The Mall in Columbia, is -- like every other new building in the planned town -- in a legal purgatory.

Owners of new buildings must pay the taxlike property lien to the Columbia Association, but the buildings have not been legally annexed into Columbia, so their residents can't participate in village affairs. The problem is the result of a January 2003 change in practice by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was used to perform annexations because the only other method requires getting approval from at least two-thirds of a village's eligible residents -- a virtual impossibility because most village elections attract a bare minimum of voters.

Why is HUD even involved in the first place?

Patricia B. Laidig, Town Center village manager, said the Federal Housing Administration, an agency of HUD, has been used to accomplish the annexations since 1983 because the other method, requiring approval from two-thirds of eligible voters "is nearly impossible to achieve," she said.

Should I ask again, or can someone with more knowledge explain why we need HUD to annex new development into our city?

From the same story, how's this for an understatement:
Town Center is the least populated of Columbia's 10 villages with 4,636 residents, though plans for intensive urbanization of the downtown core may change that over time.
It "may" change? Geez, this article raises more questions than it answers.

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