Annexation can be a complicated procedural process, as residents of Spring Street found out at the White Salmon City Council meeting on Sept. 19.
On July 6 and Aug. 20, the City of White Salmon received Notices of Intent to Annex from unincorporated area residents Shelley Baxter, Ray Klebba, and Nancy White, all of whom live or own property on Spring Street. The City also received an application for annexation on Sept. 5 from James and Deanna Hulbert, of a vacant parcel in the unincorporated area west of town.
It is the responsibility of the City Council (WSCC) to review these notices and make decisions as to allow the annexation process to move forward procedurally. The notices were reviewed by the City Annexation Committee, which identified and presented four options of annexation to the neighbors that would comply with the “Sixty Percent Petition Method” the initiating parties submitted as part of their proposal to be annexed.
The four options were:
Option 1: Combine the two annexation areas as submitted by Baxter, Klebba, and White into one annexation area. The proposed zoning would be R2 Two-Family residential. A total assessed valuation of $ 2,275,210.
Option 2: Combine the two annexation areas as submitted by Baxter, Klebba, and White into one annexation area and adding two parcels to the area. A total assessed valuation of $ 2,278,730.
Option 3: Combine the two annexation areas as submitted by Baxter, Klebba, and White into one annexation area and adding eight parcels to the area. A total assessed valuation of $ 3,966,170.
Option 4: Combine the two annexation areas as submitted by Baxter, Klebba, and White into one annexation area and adding 27 parcels to the area. A total assessed valuation of $ 7,042,420.
The “Sixty Percent Petition Method” requires the City to meet with the initiating parties to determine whether the City will accept, reject or modify the annexation request. This includes accepting or modifying zoning. Following that, the initiating party will petition neighbors and property owners with 60% or more of assessed valuation of the total area being annexed.
At the start of the meeting, the WSCC, by recommendation of the Annexation Committee, was in favor of the fourth option because it would bring in the most land that could potentially be developed to address the housing crisis. The proposed zoning would be R2 with some commercial development on the west side of N Main Avenue.
The initiating parties were more in favor of options 1 and 2 and R1 zoning for a few reasons, but mainly because it allows for larger lot sizes, which means any development wouldn’t crowd established residences. Also, they said they would have better luck getting signatures from their neighbors and landowners for the next step of the annexation process.
“I want to sustain the rural character of the town and the neighborhood,” said Baxter, who also noted that she doesn’t want to restrict property owners, but also doesn’t want an apartment complex next door.
Klebba agreed. “We live here; we don’t want to be trapped here because of R2 zoning.”
Mayor David Poucher suggested they could move forward with R1 zoning for option two and offer a Planned Development Unit in one area of the annexation.
“The term Planned Unit Development (PUD) is used to describe a type of development and the regulatory process that permits a developer to meet overall community density and land use goals without being bound by existing zoning requirements. PUD is a special type of floating overlay district which generally does not appear on the municipal zoning map until a designation is requested,” according to the Center for Land Use Education.
For a full understanding of the purpose of a PUD in this capacity visit https://library.municode.com/wa/white_salmon/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT17ZO_CH17.75REPLUNDED
Ultimately, the initiating parties and the council agreed that Option 2 with R1 zoning and a planned development was the best option to move the annexation process ahead.
Councilor Jason Hartmann made a motion to accept the Notices of Intent, which was seconded by Councilor Amy Whiteman. The motion passed without objection.