Landowner seeks annexation of H Street plot in east Blaine

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Blaine city councilmembers are considering annexing an east Blaine property, which would be the first time the city has annexed land in east Blaine since 1996.

During a January 25 work-study session, city community development director Stacie Pratschner told council that a landowner had submitted an annexation application to the community development services department.

The 3.2-acre residential property is at 4455 H Street Road, just south of city limits on H Street Road.

Landowner Patrick Rooney filed his annexation request on July 1, 2019, then submitted the application November 9, 2020.

The annexation would fall under city and county jurisdiction, Pratschner said, meaning Blaine would require agreement with Whatcom County on land-use goals and policies in the city’s comprehensive plan. Blaine hasn’t adopted an annexation ordinance so the annexation will be considered a land-use decision since the city doesn’t have a procedure for annexing land, Pratschner said.

Rooney filed the annexation proposal through the “Sixty Percent Petition” method, which allows an annexation application to be filed with the city if at least 60 percent of the property owners in the proposed annexation agree.

The land is legally eligible to be annexed but the public works department will not know sewer availability and capacity until late February, Pratschner said.

If city council moves the annexation petition forward, the city can also annex the 1.6-acre piece of unincorporated land west of the currently proposed annexed land, at 2221 Cedarwood Lane. The city gave the Cedarwood Lane property municipal services in 2002 with an outside utility agreement that said when the city received an annexation request, the city could also decide to annex the property. However, the landowners contacted the city in 2018 and 2019 and said they didn’t want to be annexed.

“They made their deal when they took the city services,” city attorney Jon Sitkin said during the meeting. “It’s a standard process as it is in most cities. You don’t want to extend your utilities into an urban growth area where someone gets the benefit of city services but then says, ‘I don’t want to participate and become part of the city.’” 

Between the two properties, 4.8 acres would be annexed to the city. 

City council will accept, deny or modify the annexation petition and the property adjacent to it in a future meeting. If accepted, city council would hold a public hearing. Whatcom County’s boundary review board then has 120 days after the request to review the annexation petition, but Pratschner hopes that could be sooner. 

“Possibly we could be looking at an effective date for annexation by May or June this year,” Pratschner said.

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