[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter addressed to city attorney Craig Knutson was shared with us by Burien City Councilmember Jack Block Jr.:]
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Dear Mr. Knutson,
Despite a 2-1 rejection by the citizens of North Highline, I am concerned that the issue of annexation is not settled. The voters spoke loud and clear. After the overwhelming results of the vote, I am surprised that anyone is opposed to Burien’s immediate withdrawal from annexation. This is unfortunate because as long as this issue remains on the table, our community will remain divided.
The following questions will help clarify my concerns.
1. As I understand, a city can pursue annexation of an unincorporated area several ways:
a. A vote by the residents of the proposed annexed area;
b. A petition by either a super majority of the residents, or property owners of a proposed annexation area and approval by the annexing city’s Council;
c. Or an interlocal agreement between the annexing city and either the unincorporated area’s county, or the local fire district serving the area.
My greatest concerns are around an interlocal agreement. Does this require an agreement by the annexing city and both the county and the affected fire district, or only one? If only one entity is involved, would that mean, for example, that the North Highline Fire District or King County could enter into an interlocal annexation agreement with Burien? Would such an action be subject to a vote of the people of the affected area, or would it only require an affirmative vote by the Burien City Council?
2. As I understand the annexation sales tax incentive, it requires a declaration of a Potential Annexation Area of North Highline by two cities. Since one of the reasons promoted by advocates of Burien pursuing annexation was fear of Seattle annexing the area, would removal of Burien’s PAA designation end this incentive? If the tax credit is not in force, it is my opinion that because of structural deficit and cost issues, Burien’s withdrawal from the PAA would highly reduce the likelihood that Seattle would consider annexation.
3. What would be the proper procedure to require that any future annexation outside the present corporate boundaries of Burien would first be subject to a vote by and approval of the people of Burien?
Because of the high amount of interest in this issue on the part of the public, and that this communication is already a public document, I have copied this e-mail to the local press.
Thank you for your time and consideration in answering these questions.
– Jack Block Jr.
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