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Enumclaw annexation is topic of Wednesday public meeting

A healthy list of questions has cropped up as Enumclaw addresses its first annexation proposal in years.

To help clear the air, the city has planned a public meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the public library. City representatives will be on hand to discuss the annexation process in general, tax implications and zoning. There also may be talk about the cost of services like water, sewer and garbage collection, plus police and fire protection. And a major sticking point for some residents is the keeping of livestock, which also is on the agenda.

The meeting is prompted by the current Harkness Annexation Proposal, a request that would – if successful – pull approximately 300 acres of land into the city limits.

The annexation issue was initiated by property owner Jason Harkness, who has spent the better part of a year working through the city system. To get the matter before the council, Harkness had to garner support from property owners representing at least 60 percent of the assessed value of the area. He submitted the required petition to the city in October.

A key factor is that the entire area proposed for annexation sits within the city’s Urban Growth Area, meaning it was previously earmarked for future growth. Because the land use designation would change if the area were brought into the city limits, the current population of 226 could swell to more than 1,600, according to city documents.

Members of the Enumclaw City Council hosted a public hearing March 22, taking comments from the public. Most were in opposition to the proposal. The issue boils down to those who want to protect their rural lifestyle and those who want to develop their land.

City staff have supported the annexation proposal.

Cit Administrator Mike Thomas said tonight’s session was slated for two reasons. First, it is apparent many questions remained unanswered; and second; the public hearing format only allowed audience comments, without city response.

The area being considered for annexation runs north and south, taking in property on both sides of 244th Avenue Southeast. Also part of the proposal is an area north of McHugh Avenue around 260th Avenue Southeast.

Thomas said the city’s options are to either to accept the annexation proposal and forward the matter to the King County Boundary Review Board, or to reject the proposal. The city council does not have the option of altering the boundary lines, he added.

If the issue is sent to the Boundary Review Board and approved, the city still has the option of denying the annexation request.

More information about annexation in general and the Harkness proposal in particular, is available at www.cityofenumclaw.net.

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