Proposed Annexation Area

The boundaries for the proposed Currier Creek annexation area.

It’s early in the process, but the Ellensburg City Council took a step forward in establishing boundaries in the Currier Creek annexation Monday night in front of some 50 citizens who showed up to have their voices heard.

The council established its boundaries for annexation that turned out a bit of a reduction from what staff supplied. The proposed Currier Creek annexation area west of the city mostly zoned low density, agriculture and rural in nature and many in attendance were concerned with a lifestyle change with the coming zoning changes to an area with approximately 39 houses.

“People are under the impression that they’re going to have to give up their chickens and their horses or whatever, but that’s not the case. I can show you places all over town where people have animals inside the city limits,” council woman Mary Morgan said. “What we did tonight was provide some boundaries, to have something to work with, so that we could move forward.”

In 2017, the city of Ellensburg and Kittitas County reached an agreement where the county agreed to help fund the Washington State Department of Transportation Highway 97 and University Way intersection project. In return, the city committed to facilitate annexation of the properties in the Currier Creek annexation area.

The city informed residents in the area in February, which was followed with a public meeting in March. The petition method of annexation requires signatures of at least 10 percent of the total assessed property value. The city received 22.8 percent of the total assessed property value, $17,063,080 of the $74,846,080.

The general consensus of the 50 people in attendance on Monday night was, “We live in the country and don’t what to be in the city.” There were some that agreed with annexation into the city, others not so much.

“I feel like they’re pushing people to conform into what they want,” said Matt Fromherz, who lives on Dry Creek Road. “People out there enjoy a rural lifestyle. I myself have 15 chickens that I’m raising. But if we’re moved into the city it means there will be more regulations and we’ll be taxed for street projects and other things outside of our interest.”

Eleven people stepped to the podium to speak, others sat in support of their neighbors. With exception to Currier Creek, much of the land west of the city is low density, agriculture and rural in nature.

“I think it was an incredible meeting really. We had a number of people show up and we ended up reducing the area that staff provided because of their input,” Mayor Bruce Tabb said. “We came up with a parcel that we will send to the Planning Commission for their review. It’s an opportunity to look at what’s appropriate for the city to annex and what’s not.

“Part of the annexation was Currier Creek, which was really built as a subdivision with 7,000-square foot lots like many other developments in the city. We took those areas that are more like the city already, listened to the folks that talked about a more rural lifestyle and their concerns. We heard what was said, attempted to reflect on the concerns and still were able to move forward on the annexation.”

Mark McLean, a Clearview Drive resident, is one in favor of the annexation, saying he’d rather take his chances with the city government than land developers and his current home owner’s association.

“Zoning is going to be an issue because part of it is industrial and the other part is single family units, but I think there’s a better chance to solve the problems with the city council than the issues I’m dealing with with my home owner’s association,” he said. “I like the idea of city services and police protection.”

‘HOSTILE TAKEOVER’

Pastor Al Sandalow with the Ellensburg Presbyterian Church called the annexation a hostile takeover in his letter to the editor last week.

“We live in the county so we didn’t even elect any of these people we’re going before tonight. So to have our taxation decided by somebody you didn’t vote for is not fun,” he said. “I guess what I’m most opposed to is that these are people that bought homes out in the country because they were looking for a rural lifestyle.

“I would say that the area is 60 percent single-family homes with people that don’t want this to happen.”

The matter is headed to the city planning commission where zoning regulations will be formulated.

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