So last week I got a card in the mail inviting me to an Open House to discuss the Fairwood Potential Annexation Area, and last night I went to Northwood Jr. High to see what was up. What I discovered was that it had little to do with me and my patch of earth, but it was interesting nonetheless.
Let me give you the background here. I live in a chunk of unincorporated King County, unclaimed by any local community and reliant on Country services. We're in Renton as far as the post office is concerned, and back on a school in the Kent school district. I have come to refer to our neighborhood as "Panther Lake" when describing it to people.
There are a lot of chunks of land like that in King County, and the current county administration is trying to get all of them that are within the growth boundary adopted by neighboring cities and towns, with a goal of doing that by 2012. In response, a group from one of the new concentrations of population along Petrovitsky is pushing to create their own city - Fairwood. That would put Renton to our Northwest, the new Fairwood to our Northeast, and Kent to our South. Renton has dibs on the territory immediately north of us (called the Cascade neighborhood), but if they give the go-ahead, Fairwood would incorporate with them as well.
And me? Well, according to all the maps, I shouldn't have gotten an invite - my property is one block south of the Cascadia line, which puts us south of Renton or Fairwood, depending on who takes over that territory. My property will be swallowed by Kent (I think).
But I did show up, and to my surprise found a gym filled with people - I would say about 300, including the representatives of King County, Renton, and the Fairwood Task Force. And everyone was loaded for bear, in particular the citizens, whose interest, like mine, was pretty much in how their property would be affected. The pro-Fairwood group was pretty much grass roots in nature, seeking to keep local control over their community. The Renton folk were pushing the idea that they already had the infrastructure to run things, and had glossy displays of fire departments, parks, and picnics to back it up. The Cascadia folk were pretty indignant about being a football between these two, either being ignored (an insult) or courted only for their tax base (another insult).
What struck me was that all involved were taking this extremely personally. All politics are local, indeed, and I spoke with strong boosters of Fairwood and those who felt the area could not support a goverment without increasing property taxes. I would prefer to see a local government that would be local to me - Renton has its concentration of population in the valley, and hasn't seemed to do much with the chunk already they have on the hill - the Renton Highlands. But even if Fairwood reached west far enough to swallow Cascadia and be a block north of us, we'd still be the borderland, with a distant administration.
So my eyes now turn southwards, and I have to check out what the timetable is for the Kent Annexation. And I am afraid that this is not the last you've heard of this.
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