June 7, 2010

Is Annexation Spinning out of Control?

The Harkness annexation proposal has spurred another resident further out in the growth boundary "Oseola" to start yet another petition for annexation. The area is mostly wetlands and down hill from the sewer treatment plant. It will require a very expensive pumping station (think millions and millions of dollars) to pump the sewer of new developments to the treatment facility on Semanski and 410.

A few years back I read a study paid for by the city of Enumclaw which laid out the cost of annexation. I am not sure how to locate that report again as it does not seem to be included in our current Comprehensive plan material. Anyway the study referenced the cost and need of sewer pumping stations for developments west of our current city limits (currently being petitioned for annexation). If memory serves me well the cost at the time of print was about $10-$14,000,000 or more. The study did not recommend annexing land west of 244th do to the cost incurred getting services to these areas.

People need to understand that just because they purchase in the Urban Growth Boundary does not mean it is a good idea to annex these areas. Just like the stock market can crash...real estate investments do not always appreciate as we would like. Real Estate investments like other things is called 'speculation'. It is often based on greed and not necessarily what is beneficial for the majority.

The cities should only consider annexing much smaller areas that will not impact the beauty and feel of our current community. The abbot/blick and Lundeen are good places to start. They are only about 30-40 acres total rather than 300 plus.

I encourage everyone to read the Cities Comprehensive plan (copy and paste)
http://www.cityofenumclaw.net/vertical/Sites/%7BC3A65262-3453-4AAA-... dealing with land use and the WA state growth management act in chapter 4. We need to encourage our council to review the Comprehensive plan and vote NO regarding the Harkness Annexation.

Creating higher density within our current city limits should be a priority in order to maintain the agricultural heritage of our community. Information should be provided to current 'in city residents' about how to create higher density. Cost benefits of adding rental units on large lots. What the cost are to add a second sewer hook up etc...

Open space also needs to be accounted for as we consider higher density living within our current city limits. We have a unique situation in that we still have a town with city center, side walks and amenities within walking distance of the majority of our population.

Urban sprawl encourages more strip malls and less of a community feel. Just ask those living in Bonney Lake and Maple Valley. They may like the convenience of the big box stores but when they want community and a sense of slowing down they come to Enumclaw, where they can park their cars and walk around our beautiful town.

Please read the City of Enumclaw Comprehensive Plan it is on-line (link above), the library has a copy, and if you drop by the city they may even print you a copy.

Jean Hoiland
Intent Yoga Center