Walla Walla Council to hear annexation proposal

The aim is to bring in Tablerock, Triple Creek and Costello Place developments.

Proposed south side annexation area for the City of Walla Walla.

Proposed south side annexation area for the City of Walla Walla. Courtesy of the City of Walla Walla

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WALLA WALLA — A south-side annexation is once again in the works, but this time 169 acres of last year’s rejected 871-acre proposal will be recommended by Walla Walla city staff.

The main goal of the annexation, according to Brian Walker, assistant director of Development Services, is to annex the developments of the Tablerock, Triple Creek and Costello Place neighborhoods.

“It is being called the pipeline annex because it essentially follows the pipelines of the water and sewer in the area,” Walker said.

At its Wednesday night meeting, the City Council will consider if it wants to move forward and set a meeting date of March 26, when it could vote on the boundaries for the annexation proposal.

So far, the west side of the proposed annex boundary is expected to run along Howard Street and Cottonwood Road, encompassing the three developments to the east and ending at the southernmost property line of Tablerock.

Walker added the annexation will not include Walla Walla High School. Superintendent Mick Miller said “the current annexation proposal would be fine for our district.”

The total number of properties affected is 259, with the majority being homeowners who are hooked up to either city water or sewer. If annexed, those same homeowners could save more than $500 a year because their water and sewer rates would drop by one-third.

“There has been a lot of interest in annexation of that property since last spring,” Walker said, noting that a number of property owners have requested annexation into the city.

The proposed area also includes 41 properties that have no city utilities. And owners of those properties will not face failure-to-connect penalties if annexed, which was not the case last year.

In the previous annexation proposal, property owners with septic systems faced a $32.50 monthly failure-to-connect penalty if their properties were within 300 feet of a city sewer line. City Council repealed the fee last October.

City officials have yet to determine how much the city would receive in additional property taxes as a result of the annexation.

Last year, city officials estimated they would receive an additional $212,000 in property taxes as a result of the 871-acre annexation, but the city would have also incurred numerous costs for added city police and Public Works services.

The Council eventually rejected in a 4-3 vote a scaled-down version of the 871-acre proposal after numerous homeowners testified they didn’t want to be in the city.

The current annexation proposal, as well as last year’s, will be decided by a Council vote because the city has annexation agreements representing more than 60 percent of the total value of properties in the area.

Walker said the actual property value amount for which the city has annexation agreements is closer to 90 percent.

Once the Council sets boundaries at its March 26 meeting, notices will be mailed to residents and the official hearing will be tentatively scheduled for June 12.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com.


This article was updated on Feb. 12 for a correction to show that the city no longer has a failure to connect penalty.

Comments

mlb 2 months, 1 week ago

I'm commenting on the paragraph "But the proposed area includes 41 properties that have no city utilities and could possible face a $32.50 monthly failure-to-connect penalty if their properties are within 300 ft of a city sewer line." This penalty was repealed by the city in November 2013.

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adpomraning 2 months ago

Thank you UB for quickly correcting the factual error in the story. The punative failure-to-connect ordinance implementated decades ago did not prove to work as anticipated. Last year the city staff & council was looking for a more property owner friendly way of annexing neighborhoods receiving city services into the city. The experience of the public works department has been that after a neighborhood has had a few years to "settle" the water & sewer pipes, and sometimes streets begin to fail from dirt settling in the original utility ditches. The city wants to be supporting the neighborhoods and it's utilities before utility problems accumulate to failure mode for the homeowners.
And personally, not speaking for the city - I feel it created a lot of bad karma for the city to collect failure to connect fees from septic tank owners.
Allen Pomraning Walla Walla City Council

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