(Map from agenda for January 18th City Council committee meeting)
When last the City Council was briefed on the status of the city’s two potential annexation areas, back in January, there was talk that the smaller one – the Duwamish Annexation Area in the South Park vicinity – might go to the area’s 87 voters this summer.
That didn’t happen. And now we’re learning that the proposed Duwamish Annexation is on hold because of a costly issue the city wants the county to address first. That’s according to new information procured by, and provided to WSB by, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s staff.
According to a memo to City Councilmembers from city staff, here’s what the mayor’s office wants to see happen before going any further:
With potential sewer-related costs in the range of $14–$50 million, the Executive has taken a position that the County must address and fund the installation of a sewer system prior to the City pursuing annexation.
According to another memo, this time from the longtime mayoral point person on annexation issues, Kenny Pittman, those issues are primarily in the “Sliver” section of the potential annexation area, where some have septic systems instead of sewer access. Pittman also wrote that King County was told of this two months ago and has not responded. (We’re following up with King County to ask about that.) But Pittman told the council that, independent of the sewer issue, the city was prepared to address public-safety needs in the “Sliver” with SFD responses and SPD patrols, as part of the departments’ work “in the overall South Park neighborhood.”
All this led Councilmember Herbold also to ask about the status of the much-larger proposed annexation of White Center and vicinity (the North Highline area on the map at the top of this story). Her staff was told that whether it moves forward at all will depend on “the position of the new administration” – whoever is elected mayor to succeed Ed Murray. We asked the 14 candidates who were at last Saturday’s Sustainable West Seattle forum at Summer Fest whether they supported annexation; the prevailing answer was, if the residents want to be annexed. That still would require sending a proposal to the area’s 8,600+ voters; the city memo lays out a possible timeline in which City Councilmembers could decide in August 2018 whether to take annexation to North Highline voters in November 2018.