There have been few annexation proposals that have met with universal approval with the voting public. The majority of annexations that have been approved and have been in force for years generally have been favorable to property owners who have been brought into municipal boundaries.
Washington is moving toward an annexation election after a thorough study by the city’s planning and zoning commission. It’s a thankless task. Members receive more flak than praise for performing this public service. The study has been comprehensive with consideration given to objections raised by property owners. No annexation proposal is ever perfect and presented to voters without some criticism. The commission did review existing land use, proposed zoning, street maintenance and, most importantly, the extension of utilities such as water and wastewater.
For more years than we can remember, there has been criticism about the city falling behind in annexation. The last city initiated annexation that resulted in an election was in 1991. About 37 voluntary annexations have occurred since that time. Most were rather small parcels. The study noted that voluntary annexation has resulted in the city becoming loose, undefined and in some cases islands of unincorporated spots have resulted. The study pointed to areas along West Fifth Street, Westlink Drive, and Highway 100 where these islands occur. Also included are areas to the east along South Point Road. Those areas hardly meet the standards for sound municipal planning.
This should not be allowed to continue. Washington is a city with deserved pride in its utilities and infrastructure and overall appearance and well-being. The haphazard boundaries that have resulted hardly meet the standards of a well-planned city.
The city has not rushed into this annexation plan. It has been studied for more than a year and the council is leaving ample time for consideration and more input before the issue is placed on ballots. The public also should follow that lead in consideration of this proposal. Open minds are needed. Property owners should not allow themselves to become negative due to the objections of minority pockets. People often don’t want to “buck the emotional feelings” of their neighbors and become negative. We believe there also are pockets of “silent” majorities who won’t come forward publicly in support because they want peace with their neighbors.
Annexation is in the best interests of property owners because the city has a record of taking care of the needs of citizens. One of the most important results of being added to the city is that it enhances property values. That’s a fact. That is the answer to property owners who believe they won’t be better off by being in the municipal limits.