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Enumclaw City Council takes testimony, advances annexation proposal

Annexation was among the hot topics Monday night when members of the Enumclaw City Council took public testimony on a proposed addition of roughly 100 acres to the roster of city land.

The property in question sits east of state Route 169, bordered by McHugh Avenue on the south and Thunder Mountain Middle School on the north. The proposal is commonly referred to as the 268th Avenue Southeast Annexation.

The proponent had cleared several hurdles during the past year, including securing the support of people owning more than 60 percent of the land under consideration. After taking public input during Monday's public hearing, members of the council adopted the 60 percent petition. That sends the issue to the state Boundary Review Board for King County, which will seek input from various county departments that might be impacted.

The issue will eventually be returned to the city by the Boundary Review Board, which can either give its approval, reject the plan or offer modifications.

The final say rests with the city, which will sponsor two more public hearings on the matter.

Community Development Director Erika Shook said the hearings would likely come in January and February. The city will spend about two weeks preparing documents for the BRB, she said, and the board has 45 days to deal with the issue.

During Monday's pubic hearing, 11 citizens stepped to the podium to offer their views on the annexation proposal. Six voiced opposition to the idea; of the five supporting it, one was the proponent.

"It will change our lifestyle and I just don't think that's fair," said Robert Mills, reiterating the views of several speakers. In general, those opposed cited a desire to live close to Enumclaw while still enjoying a quieter lifestyle. They objected to greater density and more traffic, both potential side effects of annexation into the city.

Those who supported annexation had several arguments of their own. Several talked about a desire to participate in city decision-making; for example, voting for members of city council and the mayor's office. Others addressed a belief that police response times would be better if the Enumclaw Police Department was the responding agency, rather than the King County Sheriff's Office, as is now the case.

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