ROCK ISLAND — A proposal by the city of Rock Island to annex 46 acres may double in size, if Douglas County commissioners get their way.
At the request of developer Jon Port, Rock Island asked the county’s Boundary Review Board to allow annexation of property at its far northeast corner, where an 82-lot development is planned.
Commissioners have asked the board to revise the annexation, saying the proposal only joins existing city limits along a 60-foot boundary, and should include more property to prevent an irregular boundary line.
“We’re not opposed to their annexation,” said Commissioner Dale Snyder. “They just aren’t annexing enough. Our feeling is, they’re doing it kind of piecemeal.”
Snyder said it’s important because the area proposed for annexation cannot be accessed by a city street. People in Rock Island would have to drive on county roads to reach the property. That would mean the county would have to maintain the roads while the project does not generate tax revenue for the county road fund.
A letter to the board offers three options for increasing the annexation proposal to include between 42 and 49 additional acres.
Rock Island Mayor Russell Clark said hearings on the proposed annexation have not been controversial.
But doubling the size of the annexation may include landowners who don’t want to be in city limits.
“Some county residents, I think, have some concerns about it. They maybe don’t want all that urban sprawl,” he said, adding, “In the city, you’re going to have some bigger densities.”
Clark said the city has approved water and sewer hookups for the development, but it will cost more if the development remains in the county.
The city’s attorney, Chuck Zimmerman, said he thinks the annexation proposal is legal, despite the irregular boundaries.
He said the real issue is about how the city of Rock Island should grow.
“We have a developer paying for the extension of sewer, and it’s only logical that they would be developing within the city,” he said, adding, “Whether it’s approved or not, it’s not going to change how this is developed.”
Additionally, Zimmerman said, if the development happens outside city limits, people who live there will have water and sewer services from the city, but won’t be able to vote for the people who oversee those services.
“I understand that in a perfect world, this is how you would draw it,” he said, but added that as long as it’s legal, the county could approve the new annexation now and “worry about squaring of boundaries at a later point in time.”
Zimmerman said the city will likely consider the county’s three proposals before the matter is considered at the next Boundary Review Board hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 at the Douglas County Public Services Building in East Wenatchee.