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Box 181 Springerville, AZ 85938 This ad placed in cooperation with the Arizona Office of Tourism. Whole Earth . 1 Provision company 1 Nature Discovery Gifts , amaze, inform, delight a Choose from our business -or familY:gifts of lasting value, for all ages, price . ranges and any occasion. * ., i ,. Call or stop by and let us make suggestions. k 2410 San Antonio St. 4006 South Lamar Blvd. -41868 Research Blvd. -… _ Claiirc&IIACIAMit:Wieilesibillie l laffsfri4110-41661CALVAAUWAWICALUialuiii.V city. “Because there were areas out there that were no man’s land, because the counties are so weak in this state. They don’t have ordinances, so there’s no control,” Duncan said. Since the annexation controversy, Bastrop County has adopted . new rules to bring their standards irr line with those of the City of Bastrop,-which now has control over most of the western half of the county. MANY OBSERVERS suspect that what seemed to be a ‘territorial dispute may have been, instetid, a battle of land development interests. The strip aril:l o cutions down the’ Colorado River weienot in Austin’s 1982 annexation plan. In fact, the first written mentipn in city records of the Bastrop County annexations is in an April 15, 1985, letter frog; Ed Wendler, Sr., to Jim Duncan, dirtctor of Austin’s Office of Land Development Services. Wendler is an Austin attorney and lobbyist who represents the interests of some large development companies. The letter was not available until August, when a coin order forced Austin to give Bastrop materials concerning the annefation. The letter urged Duncan to begin a “crash project to annex .a strip out 183 southeast, 71 east and 290 east.” Highway 71 passes through Bastrop, and 290 goes through Elgin. Wendler’s letter states, “All of the landowners out 290 east are secretly plotting to attach their land to the city of Elgin to prevent Austin from going in that direction,” and “The landowners out 71 east are all gathered together and will move to attach their lands to Bastrop in the very near future. You have only a matter of weeks, and maybe days, to prevent that from happening. The same thing is true out 183 southeast.” Elgin Mayor Marvin Carter and Lock both said they knew of no secret plot. When asked about the letter, Jim Duncan said he didn’t remember reading it. “But I don’t deny receiving it,” he said. “I get a lot of letters. If they say annexation on them, I send them off to the annexation people.” Duncan said the letter was not the seed of the annexation, but admits it might have speeded up the plan, and called it “a positive letter from a citizen concerned about the future of Austin.” Austin City Attorney Walt McCool said the letter had no effect on their decision to agree to Bastrop’s demands. Three weeks after the date on Wendler’s letter; lame duck Mayor Ron Mullen’s city council held a special meeting, their last meeting, to approve the annexation plan. Austin’s new mayor, Frank Cooksey,.clid not want to comment at length on the letter, saying he is not responsible for what went on before he took office. Known as an environmentalist’ and neighborhood ac tivist, Cooksey defeated Mullen, who was backed by most large developers, .in the April 1985 mayoralelection. `. Jim Duncan said the planning department decided that Austin’s ETJ needed tr be beyond a planned outer highway top on the east side of Austin. This highway is not planned to extend into Bastrop County. “So we ‘ran it [the line] out a little further,” explained Duncan, “then negotiated it back with Taylor and Elgin. We wanted to do that with Bastrop, but Bastrop preferred not to sit at a negotiating table. They preferred the courts instead.” Paul Pape, organizer of CSBC and owner of a small real estate company in Bastrop, said the letter “proved” that the big developers in Austin were behind the annexation all along, to the detriment of small-scale builders. Mark Clarke, owner of Cedar Creek Homebuilders in western Bastrop County, said he was suspicious of the annexation move from the beginning. “I’ve been through the Austin process, and it would wipe out most small builders. Then big developers could control one of the most beautiful, vital 12 NOVEMBER 22, 1985