Review board approves contested Lake Stevens annexation

Residents of the area had challenged the move. They are considering their appeal options.

LAKE STEVENS — An annexation that was challenged by homeowners will be allowed to move forward, a review board ruled Wednesday.

The state Boundary Review Board for Snohomish County unanimously approved the Rhodora annexation. The plan is to bring 108 acres into the city of Lake Stevens. The area is southeast of the city, near the Machias Cutoff.

Homeowners who petitioned for the review board’s intervention now say they are considering other options to halt the annexation.

Whether they appeal the decision or seek an injunction against the city remains to be decided, said Stacy Brewer, a homeowner who has helped lead efforts to stop the annexation. A legal battle could be costly, he said, so he and his neighbors have a lot to think about.

On Monday, he was one of about 50 people who gathered for a public hearing before the review board.

During the hearing, city officials talked about the ability to provide consistent planning and services for the area. The goal eventually is to annex the remaining urban growth area around the lake, they said. County planning staff agreed that the city is the logical provider of services there.

Homeowners criticized public communication about the plan and the city’s management of dense development.

A key point of contention was that the Lake Stevens mayor signed the annexation petition 29 times. Those signatures were made under terms of a 2010 homeowners association agreement that includes an “intent to annex” clause.

A board member noted Monday that the agreement was poorly written.

That comment gave Brewer hope, he said. He was disappointed by Wednesday’s decision and said he doesn’t believe the mayor’s signatures should be valid.

City attorney Brett Vinson on Monday cited court cases where similar annexation agreements have been upheld. He said the language of the contract is something best considered in a courtroom, not by the review board.

The board is scheduled to meet again at 4 p.m. Oct. 30 to adopt a written decision on the Rhodora annexation. A 30-day appeal period will end Nov. 29.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com

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