Boundary Review Board Gives Preliminary Approval Of Annexation

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by Jack Mayne

Preliminary approval of Burien’s request to proceed toward annexation of the northern half of the North Highline Unincorporated Area was approved Monday night at a chilly meeting of the Boundary Review Board.

The voice vote was unanimous and the motion included language urging Burien and the two fire districts that serve the area to come to a decision on how fire service will be conducted if annexation is finally approved.

The preliminary vote of the quasi judicial board in effect orders the board staff to draft up the order and will be finally voted on at a meeting on Feb. 16 at a place and time to be announced later, said Lenora Blauman, board executive secretary.

Then, if the Burien City Council eventually moves to consummate the action, it will seek voter approval of the people living is so-called Area Y. Only voters in the proposed annexation area will be allowed to vote.

Board members spent some time discussing some members’ disappointment that the two fire districts and the city had not come to a decision on how finances and operations would be affected. Board member Sylvia Bushnell that that concerned her and member Laura Kisielius said she was concerned but “we don’t need to resolve the issue.”

The board member Evangeline Anderson said she had been impressed during other annexation procedures how things seem to come together after the Boundary Review Board makes a decision.

“For some reason after we make a decision then they suddenly get serious and make an agreement,” she said.

Although told by its legal adviser that adding a suggestion that the decision be made before the annexation was accomplished would have no legal impact, the board decided to add the word to “spur a decision.”

The other problem discussed was the effect that the Washington Legislature would have if it cancelled a state law that gives cities up to a maximum of $5 million a year in sales tax rebates to help pay annexation costs. That matter is included in potential cuts to balance the state budget.

“The elephant in the room” was whether Burien would have the money to support the annexed area if the money were taken away by lawmakers, said board Chairman Mary Lynne Evans.

The Review Board’s vice chair said he “appreciated the candor if the city on the issue.” At the two hearings earlier, City Manager Mike Martin said he would not recommend and he felt the council would not approved going ahead with the annexation if the sales tax rebate was not available. Anderson said she was impressed with Burien’s prudence on doing the annexation in two pieces and said the city apparently has “done a good job with the first annexation.”

Board member Paul MacCready said he was worried that the annexation might separate neighborhoods but then noted that there were many neighborhoods in the annexation area and suggested that no decision would please everybody. He and others said the preponderance of testimony said people in “Area Y” seemed to identify with Burien.

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13 Responses to “Boundary Review Board Gives Preliminary Approval Of Annexation”
  1. I really appreciate and feel good about the number of people (both for and against) who showed up and especially to those who spoke. This part of the process is generally not attended very highly.

    Joey Martinez

  2. ohwell says:

    Who even cares anymore. Politicians aren’t for the greater interest of their cities, states or countries. It’s all about appeasing the largest population base. It’s the same reason why the country (and every other western one) is in it’s current condition. America was an experiment and let’s face it, not everyone can live together singing kumbaya. To me, Area Y will always be White Center. Watch, when (and it will) the tax rebate goes away, Burien taxpayers will bear the burden of this decision. What’s new? Here we come Greece!

  3. Bryan says:

    How sad…I cant wait for my property values to go down even more.

  4. TcB says:

    I really think this is a Tempest in a Teapot.

  5. Neil says:

    George Orwells “Animal Farm”……Boxer the horse is going to work harder and harder while the Pigs rejoice…
    Get ready Burien to pay higher taxes, lower property value and more crime in our neiqhborhood.
    My only recourse is to do all I can to aid in the defeat of all the elected officials that are taking us down this path of destruction. So far the list includes Rose Clark and Joan Mcgilton since they didnt learn anything from what their constituents want from the last election. Gordon Shaw paid a steep price by not listening and you two are next to be shown the door if you dont listen to the people you are supposed to represent.

    • William Forest says:

      I totally agree with you Neil. We have few bad eggs on the council that are more concerned about their own personal agendas and the unincorporated area’s wants than the folks that pay their salaries they are supposed to be representing.

      The really ironic thing is that if the white center residents are duped into approving annexation they will be saddled with the same incompetent city manager tyrant Burien is currently stuck with.
      Be careful what you wish for.. promises by Martin and his visions of a Burien Shangri-la are about as reliable as a three dollar bill.

      • Neil says:

        What Mike Martin is doing is holding these numerous hearing on annexation to exhaust all opponants to his plans whereas they dont show up anymore and he can fulfill his agenda.

        If someone reading this blog is willing to take the reins and start a meetup group of like minded individuals at a local pub or coffeehouse or even a web page so that we can collectively oppose this insanity it would be a good start. I am not a good organizer but I am willing to do what I can.

      • mike says:

        I live a block from the Burien city limit. I wont be voting for annexation because of all the incompetence of the council. I don’t want the mismanagement, cost overruns on bids that WILL SURELY be passed on to the citizens, and just plain ignoring the will of the citizens. Neil, that’s not your only course of action, you could make some leaflets, get some help handing them out and educate “Area Y”. Lord knows they need it. Help them understand what you , William, I and many others know. It starts with word of mouth. I’ve told all my neighbors what I think. Then get rid of the the “Bad Eggs”.

  6. Ian Gunsul says:

    “Get ready Burien to pay higher taxes, lower property value and more crime in our neiqhborhood.”

    I was wondering when this myth would reappear.

    • Neil says:

      Sure Ian, why dont you put this to the test. Walk thru downtown Burien at midnight this Friday, and than try doing the same in downtown White Center.

      • J. Lutz says:

        Hey Neil Why don’t you try going to the Burien Library almost any evening. Maybe you will be lucky enough to get harrased by some of the youth haning around the entrance.
        Because of the budget crunch, King County has cut back the officers in White Center and crime has been on the rise.
        Crime can happen anywhere including outside Burien City Hall.

        • Ian Gunsul says:

          I have walked both downtowns late at night, both pretty much the same: adults standing outside bars smoking, teenagers hanging out, people heading home from mostly service jobs. By your “dare” I would have to say you haven’t.
          You’re fear of a four square block area should not cloud your perception of an entire community. It wasn’t that long ago that West Seattle and Burien weren’t that nice of places to live or visit, and both still have neighborhoods that are “sketchy”.

          • raquel davis says:

            Area Y isn’t nice. I love it when people live in these liberal bubbles. It was the same thing I said about Watts back in the day. My husband’s grandmother bought a house there in the 40’s when it was decent. From the late 70’s on, it wasn’t a place you wanted to be. Still isn’t, and those are my people. Highline, or White Center, hasn’t been nice for about the same amount of time. Not to say there aren’t good people there, but for every good one, there are 100 bad. Like it or not.

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