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City Council Bloomington, Minnesota
August, 1961

A Proposal ............... 1

Urbanization of Burnsville . . . . . . . 2

Relationship of Proposed Annexation to Public Health, Safety, and Welfare
1. prevention of urban sprawl through control over plants and land development
2. economic development
3. municipal finance
4. efficient and economical provision of municipal services
5. utility development
6. development of Minnesota River
7 comprehensive planning

Supporting data
a. Population, area, and assessed valuation of two areas
b. Expansion and availability of space for expansion in Bloomington
c. Tax outlook in Burnsville
d. Need for municipal services in Burnsville
e. Ability of Bloomington to provide needed services
f. The ability of Township form of government to cope with problems
g. Map showing relation of Burnsville to Bloomington H. Land-use and zoning map
h. land use and zoning map - Burnsville


The chaos of governmental structure in our metropolitan areas has long been deplored by those concerned with urban trends in the United States„ The work "balkanization" has been used to describe the confusion of governmental jurisdictions.
One effect of "balkanization" is disorderly growth on the fringes of the metropolitan area. By the time a suburban community has become organized to handle its growth problems, the damage has been done and new growth has passed beyond its borders
into an outlying governmental unit. This unit lacks the resources to cope with the new growth, and the pattern is repeated.
Thus "balkanization" leads to inadequate planning and control over fringe-area development. It also leads to costly duplication of services and to inequitable distribution of tax resources. Boundaries between communities often become impedi­ ments to sound development--with conflicting development on either side.
We are proposing that Burnsville Township be annexed to the City of Bloomington.
We do not know whether this type of consolidation would be appropriate in other areas. We are quite certain, however, that such consolidation would be much to the advantage of both Bloomington and Burnsville Township.
Nothing in this report should reflect upon the integrity or capabilities of officials in Burnsville Township. The problem lies in the structure of government, not in the people who happen to hold office. Townships were formed originally in order to provide a few basic services to a rural population. It was never intended that a large city be organized into townships, or their equivalent.. For a fragment of the metropolitan area's fringe area to guide its own growth makes no more sense than to make a separate government out of a deteriorated neighborhood in Minneapolis-- and expect that neighborhood to carry out its own renewal. In short, there is abundant evidence (including Bloomington itself) to show that a township in transi­tion between rural and urban development lacks the resources and experience to handle the transition.

We therefore assert that;
1) Burnsville is now suburban in character. Further urbanization is taking place at an accelerating rate.
2) Municipal, government, of the Burnsville area is required to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. Annexation of the area to Bloomington is the only realistic method by which such municipal government can be provided in fact as well as in name.
3) The annexation of Burnsville Township to the City of Bloomington is not motivated by a desire to increase revenues. In fact, the increased costs of providing municipal services to Burnsville will offset the additional tax revenue.
The rest of this report, documents the above assertions.


Burnsville is no longer a rural township. Urbanization is taking place at a rapidly increasing pace. Recent urbanization is reflected in the following statistics:
Note the growth in lot subdivision. This is a clear indication of growth to come. Note also the fact that each year sees an increase in the growth rate. This phenomenon is continuing in 1961. New home permits for the first five months of 1961 totaled 89, compared with 50 in the same period last year.
The growth is not limited to the north portion of Burnsville. As the Land Use and Zoning Map (attached) indicates, land subdivision and residential development are occurring at widely scattered locations throughout the Township.
Continued acceleration of urbanization in Burnsville is inevitable and imminent. Below are listed factors that will accelerate urbanization:
* Completion of the new Interstate Freeway 35W into Burnsville.
* An excellent thoroughfare, Highway 13, leading from Freeway 35W northeasterly to Cedar Avenue and to St. Paul. Cedar Avenue will be raised to expressway standards, probably in the next three or four years. This project, particularly with a new bridge across the Minnesota River, will greatly improve access
to both the Minneapolis and St. Paul area.
* Abundant amounts of inexpensive, rolling land, suitable for building.
* The fact that the crest of the wave of metropolitan expansion
has reached Burnsville. There has been, historically, a strong southward thrust, of population expansion in the Minneapolis
area. This thrust will now be channeled into the Burnsville area.


1, Prevention of Urban Sprawl. Through Control Over Plats and Land Development
^ i
One of the most serious problems of urban growth in the United States is that of "urban sprawl". This is the term used to describe scattered, unplanned development„
Burnsville Township presents one of the worst examples of urban sprawl in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The situation is clearly revealed in the Map of Existing Land Use (attached). Land subdivision is taking place in an extremely peacemeal manner. The resulting residential development could hardly be more scattered.
Despite the fact that some subdivision and zoning regulations have been adopted, the scattering of development is continuing unabated. There is no evidence that the problem has even been identified.
Urban sprawl in Burnsville is detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare in the following ways:
1) A considerable amount of the new residential development is taking place with lots approximately 100 feet wide and 1/3 of an acre in
-4 4)
size. These lots are too small for urban development lacking municipal sewers, as most authorities would agree.
Eventually, the Burnsville area will need municipal, sewer facilities, as communities with similar histories have found out. Urban sprawl, however, makes it increasingly difficult to make the transition to
a central system. It is extremely costly to provide utilities for widely-scattered developments. Not only does this throw heavy financial burdens upon the community; it also delays installation of the utilities which are needed for the public health.
The cost of providing other municipal services (fire protection, police protection, snow removal, street, maintenance, etc.) are
greatly increased when development is scattered rather than contiguous.
Unplanned, scattered development, often has the result that land becomes used for the wrong purposes.
Ribbon-type residential and commercial development along main highways in northwestern Burnsville have the double effect of reducing the future carrying capacity of arterials and creating traffic hazards.
Experience throughout the country shows that urban sprawl creates pockets of stagnant land between the scattered developments. (See article on urban sprawl in August, 1960, Issue of House and Home.)
In short, urban sprawl results in excessive taxes, reduced levels of municipal services, traffic congestion, and poor utilization of land.

2. Economic Development
The economic future of the Twin-Cities metropolitan area depends to a
large degree upon industrial development. The Bloomington-Burnsville area represents an important sector of the metropolitan area. Future industrial development in this area thus has implications that, reach well beyond the communities of Bloomington and Burnsville,
The full potential of industrial, expansion in this part of the metropolitan area can only be realized through consolidation, A fringe area, such as Burnsville, lacks the governmental resources to plan for industrial development. And yet, it is at this early stage when planning for industrial development is the most needed. Employment opportunities, municipal services, and family income are directly related to industrial development. Consider the followings
1) Burnsville Township lacks a land use plan. Its zoning is thus happenstance--based more upon preferences of property owners than upon thorough research into the resources and needs of the area,
2) There are indications that prime industrial sites have already become preempted for residential, and small-scale commercial use-- areas adjacent to Highway 13 near the railroad and to the Freeway Interchange.
3) It is highly desirable for a community to have a "balanced'1 industrial development. The consolidated community we propose would have such a balance. It would have some industrial areas suitable for development now, some suitable ten to twenty years hence, and some areas that can come into their own only in the long term--30 to 50 years from now, and beyond.
4) The consolidated community would have a balance, too, in types of areas. Some sites would have trackage, some river transportation, some freeways. Variety of modes of transportation and of land
cost would permit the area to meet a wide range of industrial needs.
5) A consolidated community would have more incentive to preserve outlying future industrial areas and over-ride the objections of property owners who wish a quick economic return.
6) A consolidated community would be able to provide the utilities that industry needs. Fringe areas simply do not offer the municipal facilities and services that, industry must have,
7) A consolidated government could develop the industrial potential of the Minnesota River. Neither Bloomington nor the townships
to the south can do this alone. The Minnesota River Watershed District has not been set up to plan and execute projects of this nature.
8) A consolidated community would have the resources and leadership to promote industry. At. the present time, Burnsville can do little more than put. up a few signs


distribution of tax resources is one of the major problems created by the present, structure of government on the fringe of the metropolitan area- A strong
tax base is essential to every community if it is to meet its responsibilities for providing services to its citizens. Yet we find tremendous disparities. One Twin-City suburb (see below) had an assessed valuation per capita of only $260 in 1960. The corresponding figure for Burnsville Township was $3,500, largely due to
the fact that the Black Dog Power Plant happened to locate just inside its boundary.
BloomingtonhasannexedtheBlackDogPlant. TheCitynowproposesannexationof Burnsville to Bloomington in order that the whole Bloomington-Burnsville area will have a balanced municipal tax base.
Last year, Bloomington had an assessed valuation of $460 per capita. Next year, without annexation of Burnsville, Bloomington's valuation will jump to over
$700 per capita, partly due to the annexation of the power plant and partly due to
the$25millionofnewbusinessdevelopmentnowunderway. Becauseresidential,
investment is running at. only 30% of total new construction, Bloomington's municipal tax base will improve steadily.
The situation in Burnsville Township is not so favorable. If Burnsville were to
continue as a separate government unit, their assessed valuation per capita next
year would be somewhere between $500 and $600. And it would be this high largely
because of the relatively large proportion of agriculture land. With continuing residential development and relatively little business development, the per capita
assessed valuation would inevitably decrease. (The per capita figure for the average new -■ home is around $300 to $350.)
A consolidated Bloomington-Burnsville area would start out with a strong tax
base, which would be strengthened each year, due to large-scale industrial development in Bloomington. Assessed valuation per capita next year would be approximately $700. Major industrial development in Bloomington plus control of residential development in the Burnsville area could raise the per capita figure to between $900 and $1,000 by 1980, Nor does this imply that we would prohibit residential growth in order to achieve fiscal strength. Bloomington's regulations governing new development have been designed to achieve "complete" subdivisions. It may be assumed that this policy would be continued.
The above figures other Minneapolis
are put in perspective by looking at comparable figures for suburbs:

Blaine Robbinsdale St. Louis Park Golden Valley Edina
Assessed Valuation Per Capita (1960)
$260 $410 $580 $950 $960


There is a common dilemma in the development of fringe areas. Sanitary sewer facilities are a must for housing developments. Yet, the fringe communities do not offer such facilities and they are too poorly organized to undertake the construction of the facilities.

Some communities, such as the Village of New Hope, have taken a calculated risk by investing in utilities ahead of development, on the gamble that future development would take place rapidly enough to pay for the investment. New Hope was fortunate in being able to connect with the Minneapolis sanitary sewer system.
Even if Burnsville Township wished to take a gamble similar to New Hope’s, they couldnot. ItisnotpossibleforthemtoconnectwiththeMinneapolissewer system and their existing development is too sparse and too scattered to enable them to embark upon a utility program. Thus, lack of governmental organization and urban sprawl (which is getting worse) precludes Burnsville from providing municipal sanitary sewer.
There are a number of alternatives to the short-term and long-term need for
sanitary sewers in Burnsville. Possibly, use of the small, community-type of disposal plant would be appropriate in the short term. Over the long term, there will un­ doubtedly be some provision for tying Burnsville either to a new regional plant on the Minnesota River or to a major trunk facility leading to the main plant at
Pig's Eye.
A consolidated government would have both the incentive and resources to plan and provide for both short-term and long-term needs. The planning would be done in cooperation with other municipalities and metropolitan agencies having an interest in the problem.
Consider the alternative. Urban sprawl will continue in Burnsville until the time-- ten to twe

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