The Grays Harbor County Boundary Review Board made a motion last week to rescind their preliminary decision regarding the City of Elma’s proposed annexation on Jan. 4. The board then amended the proposed annexation to include additional properties.
Mayor Jim Sorensen had been given authority by the Elma city council during a Jan. 23 meeting to petition the Boundary Review Board to make a motion to reconsider the added areas for annexation. Clear boundaries will help to move the process of annexation along, but defining those boundaries is a process that is not yet complete.
Jenna Amsbury, clerk to the Boundary Review Board, explained the progression of the board’s deliberations in an email after the meeting.
The Jan. 4 motion was stated “to include the entire Monte Elma Road from the city of Elma city limits to the Schouweiler Road intersection and all of Schouweiler Road from Highway 12 to Monte Elma Road.” The motion passed with a vote of 4-1, with Bill Messenger dissenting.
The board’s goal when annexing property is to ensure practical and regular boundaries. The recently reconsidered motion was put in place because including the entirety of the roads (Monte Elma and Schouweiler) made for a more practical boundary than having them split between the city and the county.
Mayor Sorensen’s recent petition for the board to reconsider aims to include property north of Monte Elma Road and additional properties south of Monte Elma Road that may not have initially been included.
The motion to reconsider mirrors the Boundary Review Board’s own goals of keeping regular boundaries. If additional stretches of road are added to the annexation discussion, then it is practical for property along those stretches to be added to the discussion as well.
The board’s unanimous vote to rescind the previous motion in favor of including additional properties is a move in the “practical and regular” direction.
The new boundaries proposed would include the Fir Lawn neighborhood to the north of Mont Elma Road, and the properties that were not previously included south of Monte Elma Road.
Redefining the boundaries means another hearing. The hearing, set to take place at 4 p.m. on March 20, will give residents whose property now is included in the proposed annexation the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns.
Upon completion of the hearing the board will move to modify, deny or approve the annexation. The final decision, Amsbury notes, will come some weeks later once the findings of fact are completed. While the community’s input is valued in this decision, it is ultimately up to the Boundary Review Board whether or not to annex the property.