by Jack Mayne Probably the last possible avenue to any thought of Burien annexing White Center and North Boulevard Park was shut down byÂ a one-vote margin at the Burien City Council meeting Monday night. The Council voted 4 â€“ 3 Monday (Dec. 15) to remove from Burienâ€™s Comprehensive Plan the Potential Annex Area (PAA) that would have permitted the city under state law to pursue the annexation despite residents of the North Highline Unincorporated Area soundly rejecting the proposedÂ 2012 annexing to Burien. No Council member suggested any desire to annex the area, even those wanting to keep the designation. Earlier last Monday, the Seattle City Council voted to approve a so-called â€œplaceholderâ€ resolution that could result in a vote by residents of the North Highline Unincorporated Area as to whether or not to be annexed to Seattle (read our previous coverage here). Seattle has a state designation of a Potential Annex Area even though, normally, only one can exist for the same area, and Burien had theirs first. Political pressure and lobbying got the state to allow two such PAAs to exist for the North Highline area. Now, the Burien vote means only Seattle has the power to consider making White Center and environs a part of an incorporated city. Disservice and irresponsible Late and after much discussion on other matters, near 10:30 p.m., the Council took up a motion to remove the Potential Annex Area from the cityâ€™s Comprehensive Plan. Robison said removing the PAA would be â€œirresponsibleâ€ and a â€œdisservice to the citizens of Burienâ€ because Burien does not know enough about what the annexation of the area would mean and the city would lose its ability to be involved in potential changes or impacts. Robison said Burien would lose the backup it has now from the King County Sheriffâ€™s Department that now patrols the North Highline area if Seattle annexes the area. He added the Seattle annexation would mean the remaining White Center fire fighting equipment and facilities in North Highline would go to Seattle, equipment he said Burien depends upon to service North Burien. Help from Seattle is unlikely, he said, because it has never made a mutual assistance agreement with any other city so it would be unlikely they would with Burien. Burien would have no way to convince Seattle to share services â€œif we are just out of the picture completely,â€ Robison said. Double the population Also, he said Seattle has suggested White Center would become an â€œurban villageâ€ in their planning, or become more like Westwood Village or Ballard where single family homes are replaced by apartments and the area population would possibly increase from the current 17,000 residents to â€œsettle probably around 50,000.â€ â€œMy hope is that with the PAA in place, we get a chance to influence the discussions â€¦ and there is not going to be an annexation by Seattle without discussions with King County and the State of Washington about what kind of assistance Seattle can get to pay for the cost annexing that area,â€ Robison told fellow Councilmembers. â€œI want us to have the opportunity to say â€˜you need to include is in that discussion, you need to take into account the impact on us we need to, maybe, have an agreement with Seattle to back us up on police coverage and back us up on fire coverage, maybe extra money from the state or Seattle.â€™ â€œIf we are not part of that discussion, then we re going to get screwed,â€ Robison said. â€œIf this Council drops the PAA, you are all going to have that on your head.â€ Not about annexation Councilmember Nancy Tosta said the issue was not about annexation, but about choices for Burien. â€œThe PAA language in our Comp Plan is really unique,â€ she said. â€œI think we should think long and hard about whether we give this away because we will not get it back. It doesnâ€™t force us to do anything, it just gives us an opportunity have more information, to have more dialogue, to be in the conversation.â€ Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz said there is no definitive information on the affects of a removal of the PAA so she would keep it. â€œIt is a shame to have this discussion now, because we have a responsibility to the citizens we represent â€¦ we need to have information,â€ she said. Two wanting the PAA gone were Debi Wagner and Steve Armstrong. Wagner has made it clear she wanted an end to annexation talk, noting a seat at the table â€œis not going to guarantee you any voiceâ€ on decisions. Councilmember Steve Armstrong said even without the PAA Burien cannot be excluded from these discussions and didnâ€™t know how much â€œleverage we have â€¦â€ with it. Citizen comments A larger than usual contingent of the public had turned out at the meeting and told the Council to keep the PAA. Former Burien Councilmember Rose Clark said, if it is removed, â€œyou are foregoing the ability to represent the people, at least of Shorewood and north Burien when Seattle â€¦ negotiates with the Southwest Suburban Sewer District on future increases to sewer costs. You will also be saying to the people in north Burien and Shorewood that their emergency and fire services levels and costs will be subject to Seattle, but that that does not worry you. â€œIf you vote to take the PAA out, you will be abandoning your input on increased zoning that could increase density, especially low income and cause a ripple of school enrollment impacts that will be felt throughout the Highline School District. You wonâ€™t have a seat at the table to talk about that. Please keep the PAA in the Comp plan.â€ Joey Martinez, a two-time former Council candidate and member of the city Planning Commission, said he wonders what would happen to police, fire and school systems if Seattle annexes North Highline. Burien would not be able to negotiate these and other matters if the PAA were removed because â€œwe will not have a seat at the table.â€ Rachael Levine, a Burien resident who supported the rejected annexation, wondered why drop the PAA when all of the efforts have been already paid for. It is â€œa kind of safety for us to have a voice at the tableâ€ if Seattle annexes the area, Levine said. Don Bennett said of the residents of North Highline, â€œthey donâ€™t want to annex to anybody.â€ Since Seattle has said any annexation would require a supporting vote of area residents, Bennett said he figured residents would reject that move, too. Keeping the PAA, he said, â€œkeeps us in the ballgame.â€ Roger Delorm said the majority of the people in the annexation area voted against it, two to one. Those people have spoken. Why is it still on the PAA when the majority of the people said no?â€ Disingenuous Berkowitz said the real problem is some Councilmembers are â€œbeing disingenuous and not representing the citizens and I am tired of playing nice and not saying that,â€ apparently referring to comments by Councilmembers Wager and Armstrong suggesting the PAA be dropped. It â€œwas not a rational decision.â€ Voting to remove it were Mayor Lucy Krakowiak, Deputy Mayor Bob Edgar, Councilmembers Armstrong and Wagner. Voting to keep it in the plan were Berkowitz, Robison and Nancy Tosta. The same members voted to approve the adoption of Comprehensive Plan update, Ordinance 614.]]>
Mayor Lucy Krakowiak, Deputy Mayor Bob Edgar, Councilmembers Steve Armstrong and Debi Wagner, thank you for respecting the vote of my community. We need more politicians that actually listen too and do the will of the people.
Pat, your ‘Independent White Center’ campaign buddy, Mark Ufkes, appears to be showing his true pro-Seattle annexation colors. Are you surprised?
Thank the Almighty of your choice that thankfully this nightmare is off the table and no longer a stupid distraction to the citizens of Burien. A seat at this imaginary table would have been like a little bug against a windshield so nothing would have come of us crying to our “potential” new neighbor about how not to hurt our delicate feelings. Thank you to the sane Council members and Merry Christmas and goodnight to you all. Rat City be gone!
Where do you think “Rat City” is going?
Down the drain as usual, but now Burien won’t be tied to the sucking whirlpool having rid themselves of any potential legal ties. ” That’s where!”
It’s clear why you are hiding behind a screen name. Your arrogance and stupidity cause me to be embarrassed for you.
At least I have no ties to Rat City or North Highline so the actually I am quite lucky, unlike you and your whining ways.
You think because north high line and rat city are not a part of burien that the people that come and go are going to stop. You know you act like you expect that the city council to build a moat around burien. It’s not going happen as many time as you load your gun and look for low income people. If you really have this much hatred for people just because of the amount money they have . Why don’t you move to a remote island and get the hell OUT of HERE may be then your life would be better.
Those living in “Area Y” who voted against annexation to Burien and those who did not vote at all won that election. Keeping the PAA in our comprehensive plan was not about annexation at all. Unfortunately, the four Council members (Thank you for naming them.)
who voted against keeping this tool for negotiating in the future, seemed unable to grasp the facts about this PAA. The work that went into developing the PAA was already paid for. There would be no further cost to the citizens of this area. For those of us living in north Burien and our immediate neighbors whose children also attend Highline Schools, this abdicating of responsibility to us and our neighborhood is indefensible. The phrase willful malfeasance comes to mind.
As a reminder to all Burien voters, Burien City Council member Jerry Robison stated at a city planning meeting that his ONLY reason for serving on the Burien City Council was to annex White Center. He has not given up and if given the chance to force Burien to pay for and annex White Center again in the future, he will do it, regardless of what the majority in Burien want. Annexation severely divided and distracted the city. It cost the city three city managers. And Mr. Robison will reintroduce the PAA if given the chance and force Burien to go through all of this again. Mr. Robison is up for reelection next November. Voting for Mr Robison keeps White Center annexation alive in Burien. Voting against Mr. Robison will end this community damaging and very expensive distraction once and for all. Vote accordingly Burien.
Mark Ufkes, why should anyone believe anything you spew? You have not even been honest about the amount of land you own in White Center. I’ll ask again. Was your ‘Independent White Center’ campaign a lie?
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