Saturday, December 06, 2008

Annexation Nexus

And while I've been busy elsewhere, the city of Kent has moved forward to take over my neighborhood.

I've mentioned this before but let me back up for those who don't want to dig through the files. I live in the Panther Lake neighborhood, so named for a good-sized lake on the east hill of the Green River valley (also called Benson Hill). When we moved in some ten years back, it was part of "Unincorporated King County", which meant that no local municipality claimed us for services like trash and police proteciton. There are a lot of pockets like this all around the county, as the various smaller towns and cities have set up their borders, and pieces get left out.

Now, the current King County administration has been encouraging the smaller communities to pick up the spares, and I've talked about Renton swallowing the Fairwood neighborhood just north of our place. Our chunk of the woods was slotted to be swallowed by Kent (indeed, we border on a Kent district school), but things have been kinda quiet on that front.

No more. Kent has pressed forward on the matter, and established a web site with the general information and a pretty thorough FAQ on what's going to happen (which, um, isn't accessible at the moment, but I'll post it when its back). And it pretty much addresses my questions (Taxes will be about the same, they will increase their police budget to handle us, we can keep the septic system as long as we keep it in good repair). I'm pretty solid with the idea - if anything, I would have preferred to see annexation BEFORE they started a half-dozen housing projects in the region (which will now be grandfathered in).

Not everyone is so copacetic. There's a nearby casino/card room, perched on a low hill overlooking the Panther Lake Elementary school. It is a squat, shutter-windowed bunker that was at one time a more-appealing pizza place when we moved in. Casinos are legal in Unincorped King (I assume that it is the required number of paces away from the school itself), but are not allowed in Kent. So the casino owner wants to be grandfathered in as well, which doesn't sit well with the Kent fathers (oddly enough, the casino's corporate HQ is in ... Kent! I guess they like the neighborhood).

This will continue to develop. More later,