By Brian Kelly
STANWOOD — It’s time to buy the city some stretch pants; city council members have approved an annexation proposal that will add 330 acres to town.
In a late decision Monday night, council members voted 4-1 to approve the controversial Cedarhome annexation at Stanwood’s northeastern end.
Most residents who testified during a public hearing before the vote said the proposal should be rejected because it would lead to clogged roads, crowded schools and the loss of Stanwood’s rural character.
Andy Chappel, who has been on the council for less than a year, cast the dissenting vote.
"I thought the timing could have been better," Chappel said. "I wanted to get some impact fees in place beforehand."
Chappel said he wanted the city to start and finish building its new fire station, as well as making sure the school district was ready for the new families that will eventually move into the Cedarhome area. He also said the community should have been better notified of the meeting on the annexation.
The annexation came before the council twice before but was rejected both times.
City planners say the area, once developed, could double the population of Stanwood. The city has already doubled in size in the past decade, and had a population of 3,923 in the 2000 census.
Councilman Herb Kuhnly said the city needed to take on the additional land to meet the mandate of the state’s Growth Management Act.
"You need to provide land for growth. And Stanwood does not have much, if any, residential land left," Kuhnly said.
The annexation will be forwarded to Snohomish County’s Boundary Review Board, which has 45 days to review it. If the board invokes jurisdiction, it will have 120 days to hold a public hearing and make a decision. It will have the option of adding a 129-acre expanse of land that would link the Cedarhome area to the existing city limits at 80th Street NW.
If the board does not invoke jurisdiction, the annexation returns to the Stanwood council for final adoption.
Jim Miller, the main proponent of the annexation, said supporters have crafted five proposals for the Cedarhome area in the past five years. Only two others advanced as far.
"We’re pleased that it finally did come to fruition," Miller said. "It took a long time coming, but it happened."
You can call Herald Writer Brian Kelly at 425-339-3422 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.