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New annexation rules approved

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Possible annexations

Proposed Walla Walla annexations in progress as of December 2019.

People applying to add a portion of their land into Walla Walla city limits now have only two opportunities per year and must pay a fee of $1,600.

City staff will only accept annexation applications from Jan. 2-31 and from Sept. 1-30. Any petitions submitted outside these two windows will not be accepted, according to a release.

Annexation requests currently in process will continue to move forward and will not be affected by the new application window, the recent announcement explained.

Among requests already underway are three petitions signed by property owners representing 10% of the assessed value of the area proposed for annexation that City Council members will consider at their meeting Wednesday. The petitions include a property adjacent to Hatch Street, land adjacent to Abbott Road and a boundary at Berney Drive and Delmont Street, according to documents.

If the Council approves the applications, applicants will then need to file a petition with the signatures of property owners representing 60% of the assessed value of the area proposed for annexation.

Currently, three boundaries are waiting for approval from the city of their 60% annexation petitions. These boundaries include 6.28 acres at Highland Road and Plaza Way, 16.1 acres at Carmella Street and Walts Lane, and 35.6 acres on Airport Way, according to official documents.

In explaining why the city will go to a twice-annual system for annexations, the announcement stated that reviewing annexations filed in a cluster allows staff to assess the impacts of the requests instead of responding to annexations anytime throughout the year.

Staff reports show an average time frame of six to nine months for the process of an annexation petition.

The new fee is based on what other jurisdictions charge and the average amount of staff time that goes into processing an annexation, said Elizabeth Chamberlain, the city’s development services director.

“There is quite a bit of staff time involved with annexations as well as surveyor consultant costs to draft legal descriptions of annexation boundaries,” she said.

For more information on annexations or the new changes, visit ubne.ws/annexation.

Chloe LeValley can be reached at chloelevalley@wwub.com or 509-526-8326.

Chloe LeValley covers civic engagement in the Walla Walla Valley including city governments, county commissioners and other civic groups. She is a recent graduate from San Francisco State University and came to join our team in October 2019.