Annexation now goes to review board

By Brian Kelly

Herald Writer

STANWOOD — With the city’s seal of approval now on the 330-acre Cedarhome annexation, Jim Miller said he hopes to have more homes under construction in the Cedarhome area by next year, with homeowners moving in the following year.

"There is a plat that we’ve been working on that will be submitted to the city very shortly," Miller said.

The development will include 21 houses on about 10 acres immediately west of Cedarhome Elementary School. Two homes are already on the land, and Miller hopes to get approval for 19 new ones.

For some people in the Cedarhome area, more homes in the neighborhood at Stanwood’s northeastern end is just what they don’t want.

At a public hearing before the council approved the annexation, most of those who testified said they thought that stretching the city’s boundaries was a bad idea. Residents said the annexation would lead to more traffic, crowded classrooms and the demise of Stanwood’s rural character.

The council had rejected annexing the Cedarhome area twice before, but a council majority said the time was right for bringing the neighborhood into the city. Before any more homes can be built, though, the annexation must be finalized.

It will now go to the Snohomish County Boundary Review Board. The board has 45 days to review the annexation petition to make sure it complies with state law.

When the annexation clears its final hurdle is largely dependent on the review board. If it decides to invoke jurisdiction over the annexation, it would have 120 days to hold a public hearing and make a decision on the petition.

But many residents are worried that the board, if it jumps into the fray, could also add a 129-acre expanse of land between Cedarhome and Stanwood’s existing city limits. At last week’s hearing, the residents of that area were the most vocal opponents of the annexation.

Miller said he wouldn’t support increasing the size of the annexation area.

"I guess my position is it should be left out," Miller said. "What we’d end up with is an annexation where the majority of people wouldn’t want to be part of the city.

"I have a philosophical problem with that," he said. "It’s not terribly democratic."

If the annexation is approved by the review board, it will go back to the city council, which must pass an ordinance to complete the annexation. Miller’s development application cannot be processed until then.

You can call Herald Writer Brian Kelly at 425-339-3422 or send e-mail to kelly@heraldnet.com.

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