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Long process ends with annexation

In the few seconds it took for a motion to be issued and the votes cast, Enumclaw gained more than 200 new citizens and grew by approximately 300 acres.

The action came the evening of Aug. 23 when the City Council approved the Harkness Annexation by a 4-2-1 vote. Councilman Glen Jensen voted against the measure because he believes the annexation process was flawed in its early stages; Mike Ennis based his opposition on a concern that one person might be able to force the city into a costly extension of sewer services; and Jeff Beckwith has recused himself from all Harkness decisions due to possible conflict-of-interest issues.

The Harkness annexation, in the works for more than a year, takes in land on both sides of 244th Avenue Southeast. The land is primarily rural and the council has appeased concerns of residents by passing an urban livestock provision.

Before the council vote, Mayor Liz Reynolds opened a final public hearing on the annexation issue.

Speaking in favor of the annexation was Randall Petite, general manager of the small, privately-owned airport that sits on the east side of 244th. Petite said the airport has existed since 1938 and operators have no intention of doing anything else with the land.

Both Lynn Lofstrom and Sophia Bogh spoke against the annexation, citing a growing demise of rural land in the region.

Erika Shook, director of the city’s Department of Community Development, reiterated information she has provided the council on several occasions. That the city will benefit financially from taking in land and city departments are able to provide services to additional residents.

In other action during their Aug. 23 meeting, members of the council:

• heard from Tracy McCallum, executive director of the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce, who provided a quarterly update.

“It has been a busy three months,” McCallum said, noting that the chamber office was recently remodeled and hours of operation have been increased. A goal is to open the visitor center on Sundays, she said, something that will require more volunteers. She added that the chamber has grown by 20 members.

• were told Reynolds and Mayor Pro Tem Beckwith will both be absent from Monday night’s meeting. With no one officially designated to run the meeting, the council chose Kevin Mahelona to preside.

Approved a one-year cable television franchise agreement with Comcast.

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