Annexation plans near Tonasket put on hold

TONASKET – A public workshop held April 19 with residents living in areas being considered for annexation found several residents not in favor of the idea.

Areas under consideration are properties lying west of US 97 south of the City limits to S&S Meats; and those properties lying east of US 97, south to Midway Lumber and east either to Longenecker Road or just one parcel east of Longenecker Road.

Interest in annexation of properties lying west of US 97 stems from the need for the city to have a secondary access into Chief Tonasket Park along the southern edge of the County’s shop property.

Annexation of properties lying east of US 97 is partially driven by landowner requests and a lack of available and developable commercial and industrial land within the city limits.

City Planner Kurt Danison said a good turnout of property owners attended the meeting, which “went really well in some ways and not so well in other ways.”

“West of the river only one landowner was interested in annexation, but everyone else said ‘no,’ which makes it difficult to move forward with the project,” said Danison. “Folks that live there saw no benefits with being in the city limits. Some had issues with some law enforcement, and some didn’t want more traffic or land regulations.”

“We received a clear ‘no interest’ from property owners west of 97 except for one who was a definite ‘yes,’ said Mayor Patrick Plumb. “The properties east of 97 were more amenable into entering into a discussion.”

Danison said of landowners living east of Hwy 97 who attended the meeting, four said ‘no’ to annexation and five said ‘yes.’

“What this means is that the City will NOT pursue further a whole street improvement for Tonasket Shop Road, which could endanger or severely limit the ability to move forward with the south end Chief Tonasket crossing for the time being,” said Plumb. “This isn’t the first time that group of landowners has expressed a non-interest in annexing into the City. However, my primary concern is annexing to the east of Hwy 97 and I anticipate working with those landowners to have a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Danison said in order to get funding for a secondary access into Chief Tonasket Park, the area needs to be in the City’s jurisdiction.

“I’m sure the County would work with us to put the road in,” said Danison, “but we aren’t going to be able to come up with half a million dollars to do that.”

Danison said he would move forward with preparing a cost benefit analysis for residents like the one he prepared before the Mill Creek area was annexed into the city.