Mukilteo’s annexation plans rejected by state board

EVERETT — Mukilteo’s plans to claim more than 3,000 acres of unincorporated land were dealt a heavy blow Thursday night.

The state Boundary Review Board unanimously rejected the city’s plans to annex land along the edge of Paine Field and as far south as Norma Beach Road. In doing so, the board sided with challenges brought by the city of Lynn­wood, Snohomish County Fire District 1 and the Snohomish County Council.

Board members questioned some of the proposed boundaries in Mukilteo’s plans. They also said the plans failed to spell out how certain areas would be covered by services such as police and fire protection.

That didn’t sit well with Mukilteo officials, who said they tried negotiating with the other jurisdictions and spent $200,000 forming their plans.

“I don’t see how we could ever satisfy the Boundary Review Board,” said Mukilteo City Councilwoman Jennifer Gregerson, reading from a statement she wrote as review board members discussed their ruling. “I thought they were supposed to be an arbiter, but they wanted everything to be set up before we got here.”

Snohomish County Fire District 1 Chairman Jim Kenny said he was pleased by the review board’s ruling. The city of Mukilteo failed to show how it would provide better fire protection service than Fire District 1 already does, he said.

“The Boundary Review Board has put a stop to their plans at this time, and we agree that their plans are premature and that the city needs to go back and do its homework,” Kenny said.

Mukilteo officials proposed extending their city’s southern boundary south to 148th Street SW and Norma Beach Road. The eastern boundary would have been moved to encompass mostly undeveloped, county-owned land along the edge of Paine Field.

People who live in the proposed annexation areas were scheduled to vote May 20 on whether they wanted to be part of Mukilteo.

The Boundary Review Board’s ruling puts the city in an awkward position, especially with Fire District 1, Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine said. For any annexations to be approved, Mukilteo officials may have to first reach an agreement with the district, which stands to lose revenue if the city expands its boundaries.

“I think (the board) put too much power in their hands,” Marine said. “They don’t want annexations because it takes away from their territory.”

Now, the city must reevaluate its plans and determine what to do next, Marine said.

“The citizens are very clear that they want us to annex that area,” he said.

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or spesznecker@heraldnet.com.

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