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Sunnyside Council puts condition on annexation request

The Sunnyside City Council moved forward this past Monday night with an annexation initiation request from Rene and Paula Lemos, but not without some conditions.

The Lemos family is looking to annex 3.24 acres of property into the city limits. The couple's property is located in the southeast corner of the intersection of North 16th Street and Sheller Road.

Assistant City Manager/City Attorney Mark Kunkler recommended the council approve the request, which will now be forward to the Sunnyside Planning Commission for further recommendations. Kunkler did have one change he recommended to Council. He said there is a piece of property owned by another family in the southeast corner of North 16th Street and Sheller Road. The property is bounded on the east and south by the Lemos property. Kunkler said the family who owns the property has not joined in the annexation request presented to Council. Kunkler said the issue is that the property not included in the Lemos annexation request would essentially end up an island because it wouldn't be incorporated into the city. This would create problems with Yakima County and the state boundary review board approving the Lemos' annexation.

Councilman Alex de la Cruz asked Kunkler if the property owners were interested in being included in the annexation. Kunkler said he didn't know if that was the case. Councilman Bruce Ricks suggested the city implement a mandatory annexation of the property, if it was to hold up any proceedings by the Lemos family. Kunkler said the county and state officials prefer people annex voluntarily.

Kunkler did say that several other property owners in the area have expressed an interest in annexing into the city. Ricks suggested extending the petition for annexation to those property owners and the family involved with the Lemos annexation.

Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar expressed reservations about delaying the process for the Lemos family. Ricks countered, though, by saying the process for the Lemos family is already going to be delayed because of issues surrounding the property adjacent to their requests. Ricks suggested with the price of a few stamps the city can see if more property owners are interested in annexing into the city without any significant delays.

"Let's take advantage of this," said Ricks.

There was a question asked of the Council about whether an irrigation waste ditch in the area would be included in the annexation. Kunkler said the ditch in question belongs to the Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District.

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