UPDATE: Burien Withdraws Its Request For Annexation

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UPDATE 8/28/10:30am: Tonight’s Annexation Open House is still scheduled to occur starting at 6:30pm at Boulevard Park Presbyterian Church (located at 1822 South 128th Street in SeaTac), despite the fact that Burien is temporarily withdrawing its annexation request.

Here’s a quote from Jenn Ramirez-Robinson, Management Analyst at the Burien City Manager’s Office:

“In brief, the City of Burien has withdrawn its current request to annex a portion of North Highline but plans to re-file later this year.

We are still committed to the annexation process and will continue to do educational open houses in the North Highline Area, including the Open House tonight at 6:30 PM at the Boulevard Park Presbyterian Church.”

We are currently investigating why the city is withdrawing now, only to re-file “later this year.”

Rest assured, tonight’s Open House should be even more interesting, especially with this latest development.

Here’s the press release from the City of Burien website:

Burien Withdraws North Highline Annexation Request

The City of Burien has notified the Boundary Review Board of King County that it is withdrawing its current request to annex the southern portion of the North Highline unincorporated area.  The City plans to re-file an annexation request later this year after completion of a new round of negotiations with King County and the cities of SeaTac and Seattle regarding the proposed annexation boundary.

The Burien City Council authorized submittal of the “Notice of Intent” to annex part of North Highline in May 2008.  The Notice of Intent was filed with the Boundary Review Board in late June after the approval of new countywide planning policies allowing the annexation request to proceed.  The timing of Burien’s filing was challenged by the City of Seattle and the North Highline Fire District on legal grounds.

“In the interest of having the community and the Boundary Review Board focus on the merits of annexation rather than upon procedural and legal issues, we believe that it is in the best interest of the parties for the City to withdraw its current Notice of Intent,” said Mike Martin, Burien’s city manager.

The delay in the annexation process allows the cities and County to meet to discuss substantive issues related to annexation, including providing adequate urban services within annexed portions of North Highline and any remaining unincorporated area.

“We’ve tried to get Seattle to the table for almost a year to resolve these issues but they have been  unwilling to meet with us,” Martin explained.  “For whatever reason, they’ve changed their mind now and  appear willing to talk. We wish for the sake of the North Highline residents Seattle would have come to that conclusion sooner, but better late than never.”

Now, for the first time, Burien is able to consider the specific and detailed concerns of the North Highline Fire District that were filed with the Boundary Review Board.  While the City of Burien has no authority over the current or future operations of the fire district, “we will encourage the North Highline and Burien/Normandy Park fire districts to resolve their differences in the interest of providing quality services in the areas they serve,” said Martin.

The City has offered to start negotiations immediately, with the goal of reaching a successful resolution of issues by the end of the year.  Martin added, “Our City values trust, integrity, communication and collaboration.  It is in this spirit that we are ready to take one step back in order to help our neighbors in North Highline move many steps forward.”

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