Annexation bill passes in state Senate

Senate Bill 5417 was passed March 13 and now moves on to the House.

Senate Bill 5417, amending requirements for cities to annex land, was passed by a vote of 27-22 on Wednesday and will go to the House. The companion bill, House Bill 1539, is also on the floor of the House and is awaiting action.

If signed into law, the bills would raise the threshold for the amount of land that can be annexed by a city from 100 acres to 175 acres and would remove a stipulation that the property in question must contain residents. This would allow the city of Maple Valley to begin the annexation process for Summit Place also known as the donut hole. Annexation would shift control of zoning the property from King County, which also owns the property, to the city.

Mayor Bill Allison met with King County Executive Dow Constantine as well as Rep. Pat Sullivan, Sen. Mark Mullet, King County councilman Reagan Dunn and Tahoma School District Superintendent Mike Maryanski on March 8. According to Allison, one of the main talking points during the meeting was the issue of valuation — the city’s appraiser valued the property at approximately $15 million, significantly lower than the county’s valuation, Allison said.

“(We’re) allowing it to be market driven, they aren’t,” Allison said. “They believe it can support 1,700 homes, a third of those being low income.”

Allison said the problem he sees with the vision to build so many homes, and so many low income homes is that the city doesn’t have the infrastructure to support the residents those homes would bring. He cited a lack of jobs, a decrease in transit services offered by the county in the city, and the already overtaxed school system.

“I understand they (the county) need to get money for it,” Allison said. “We need to work to make this a win for the city of Maple Valley, the Tahoma School District and King County.”

Allison said the city is more than willing to continue to work with the county.

To that end, the county and the city have agreed to get the appraisers together to discuss the issue of valuation.

“Our goal is to get the appraisers together this week,” Allison said. “That will get us to a common understanding of what it (the donut hole) is worth.”