Cedars neighborhoods off the table for ‘island’ annexation plan

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Battle Ground’s plan to deal with unincorporated “islands” near city limits will move forward on three groups of parcels, though property to the south of the city won’t be affected. 

During its May 16 meeting, the Battle Ground City Council voted 5-1 to draft a resolution and set a public hearing on the annexation of about 118 acres to the northeast and southwest of the city. Deputy Mayor Cherish DesRochers voted against the move, while councilor Shane Bowman was absent.

The council specifically moved forward on two groups of parcels located east of North Parkway Avenue. There’s about 19 acres by Northwest 25th Street and roughly 81 acres between Parkway and Northeast Grace avenues. The smaller island is completely surrounded by city limits, while the larger one is close to 90% contiguous with Battle Ground.

The council also moved forward on about 18 acres on Northeast 104th Avenue north of Northeast 199th Street, which is 85% contiguous and surrounded by city limits on three of four sides.

In March, the council considered a number of annexation processes as they directed staff to focus on the island annexation method. Through that method, the city will host a public hearing for testimony prior to a vote by the council on an ordinance to approve the annexation.

The method also allows for a potential referendum vote of the public on the annexation. According to information provided to the council, within 45 days of approval of the ordinance, residents in the annexation area totaling at least 10% of voters in the last general election can sign a petition to bring it to a vote.

Should the annexations near Parkway Avenue and Northeast 199th Street move forward, those properties would be brought into Clark County Fire District 3 and would receive police services from the Battle Ground Police Department. 

City Manager Erin Erdman said with the city’s annexation into Fire District 3 in 2020, effects on property taxes on annexed land would be almost cost-neutral.

The city council also has three groups of property islands to the south of the city under consideration for the annexation process, collectively known as the Cedars neighborhoods. Totaling about 53 acres, the properties are located between Southeast Grace Avenue and Northeast 152nd Avenue.

The properties were taken off the table after pushback from residents in the area. At the meeting, resident Patrick Kennedy read a statement from fellow resident Carol Opatrny, who noted Cedars’ residents did not request the annexation. The last time it came up, the council decided to only pursue it at the property owners’ request.

Opatrny’s statement noted the current property restrictions on the Cedars neighborhoods are not in line with Battle Ground zoning requirements, which includes lot sizes. The city requires a higher density than the current neighborhoods have, the statement read.

If the city decided to move forward on the annexation process plans, Opatrny asked for the Cedars properties to be omitted, which is what the council ultimately approved.

Although Cedars residents have opposed annexation, Erdman said she hasn’t seen any communication from residents of the Parkway islands. She said those residents have received no official notification of the potential annexation at this point, but since the process was moved forward, they would now be notified of the move.  

Councilor Shauna Walters was the first councilor to express an interest in dropping the Cedars from annexation plans.

“Apparently this has been in front of the council several times now,” Walters said, noting council decisions always go back to deference to residents’ decisions. “Each time that they have to go through this again and get their neighborhood together, and all of that is like a fight to them, and we lose their trust even more each time that happens.”

Councilor Tricia Davis said the Cedars neighborhoods made it clear they were opposed to the annexation. 

Mayor Philip Johnson noted the current council could agree not to pursue annexation of the Cedars neighborhoods, but that decision doesn’t tie the hands of future council makeups, who could revisit the process.

“In 2024, when a new council comes in, they can throw everything out we did, except for paying any money we borrowed,” Johnson said.



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