White Salmon city councilors last Wednesday directed the mayor to have city planners and legal staff prepare a report and a draft resolution that would begin the annexation of unincorporated property in the Green Street neighborhood.
During last week's business meeting, the council learned that two Green Street property owners have expressed interest in being annexed into the city.
At issue is an island of county property within the city's incorporated boundaries. According to city attorney Ken Woodrich, the Legislature amended the legal procedures (RCW 35.13) to make it easier for cities to annex islands within their jurisdiction.
"The procedures for annexation begin with the residents of where you decide you want to do this," Woodrich told Mayor David Poucher and councilors Bob Landgren, Mark Peppel and Adrian Bradford. (Councilor Ricky Marx was absent, and Position 5 is vacant.)
"If you adopt a resolution, you then have to post a notice in the newspaper for two weeks and conduct one public hearing before the city council. People get to say their piece, but it's up to you whether to annex, not them," Woodrich continued.
Following the hearing, the council must adopt and publish an ordinance for two weeks declaring its intent to annex. During the 45-day period before the ordinance can take effect, residents could circulate petitions to put approval of the annexation up for a vote.
Woodrich, however, saw that as a remote possibility. "It's not often that people go to all that trouble to stay out of the city," he said.
The entire process, from start to finish, he added, usually takes between 60 days and 90 days.
Said Councilor Mark Peppel about moving forward with island annexations, "We need to clean up these areas so we have clear urban growth boundaries.