In case Burien falls through, White Center remains (technically) in Seattle’s sights

February 24, 2012 at 10:07 pm | In Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway, White Center | 8 Comments

Burien’s bid to annex White Center and most of the rest of what remains of unincorporated North Highline (the green “Area Y” in the map above) is fairly far down the road, as we’ve been reporting on partner site White Center Now, but in case it somehow stalls, Seattle is retaining its potential interest. That’s the bottom line of a brief discussion today by the Seattle City Council‘s Economic Resiliency and Government Relations Committee.

Last year, Seattle councilmembers promised to decide by this month whether they would continue supporting the status of White Center (etc.) as a “potential annexation area,” despite having said that they didn’t think they could afford to pursue it and so wouldn’t get in Burien’s way; today’s discussion fulfills that promise. City staff said there wasn’t much to lose in keeping it designated as a “potential annexation area” – right now, Burien is waiting to see if the Legislature will preserve or cut a tax-related funding source that is vital to keeping the annexation affordable for them (or any other city). Even if they do, Burien then needs to take the matter to voters in the area, before annexation would be final.

Meantime, Seattle is expected to move forward on annexing some unincorporated turf that isn’t part of what Burien is pursuing, the so-called “Sliver by the River” in the South Park area and the “Duwamish Triangle,” with a council discussion planned March 5th.

8 Comments

  1. If Burien residents vote to approve the annexation, do Seattle voters do the same?

    Comment by Who votes? — 11:21 pm February 24, 2012 #

  2. The people in the actual proposed annexation area are the only ones who get to vote. As was the case when Burien annexed the area immediately south a couple years ago. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:28 pm February 24, 2012 #

  3. I wonder what it would take for White Center to self-incorporate. If that is even an option. Its entire history seems based on being separate. Other.

    Comment by newnative — 12:14 am February 25, 2012 #

  4. An area can petition to do that. However, then it would also have to figure out, if the plan went ahead, how to provide services. Laws spelled out here:
    http://www.mrsc.org/subjects/legal/incorp.aspx
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:14 am February 25, 2012 #

  5. The entire reason no one wants to take white center in the first place is its lack of a viable tax base. With property values lower, mostly small businesses (except for mcclendons and the tortilla factory), and lots of tax exempt housing, there is no way they could ever afford their own governance. And burien and Seattle can only stem these losses by getting he state sales tax credit when they first take the area. There is really no win win here from a municipal standpoint. I would argue that it needs to be taken based on fairness and public safety/public health. This area needs the same level of services in surrounding communities or it will continue to be viewed as the “other” bad place.

    Comment by Kgdlg — 9:41 am February 25, 2012 #

  6. W.C. does not have the tax income to run itself.

    Comment by smokeycretin9 — 11:05 am February 25, 2012 #

  7. If Seattle was to annex this section of White Center would the public schools in this area remain part of the Highline School District or be transferred to the Seattle School District?

    Comment by Fauntleroy Neighbor — 3:51 pm February 25, 2012 #

  8. Good point that Burien schools (Highline) already serve WC. It does seem though that if WC is a burden tax wise, Seattle would be better able than Burien to bear it?

    Comment by Alex — 9:18 am February 27, 2012 #

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