The Sunnyside Planning Commission last night held a public hearing to consider annexing the West Sunnyside Business Park, formerly known as the Monson feedlot, and several properties between the current city limits and the property.
The hearing was continued from December to address questions surrounding zoning and water/sewer connections. However, the commission, not wanting to rush the process, decided to place the annexation on hold another month to better address concerns of property owners to be affected by the annexation.
"The purpose of the annexation is to move forward with plans to develop the West Sunnyside Business Park," said Sunnyside's planning and community development supervisor, Jamey Ayling.
At the December meeting, it was brought to his attention that sufficient notification of the public hearing was not provided residents. Notifications were mailed to property owners for last night's meeting in a sufficient amount of time so the process could move forward.
Ayling said the West Sunnyside Business Park, if annexed, would be zoned for industrial use and properties between Scoon Road and the business park would be commercially zoned. He said the county already has the properties zoned for commercial use and no change would be made.
One resident was concerned lenders would not provide him a loan if his property was zoned commercial, but further discussion with the property owner alerted him to the fact that his property is already commercially zoned.
Commissioner Jeff Barrom explained there is an advantage to the property being annexed into the city. The city, he said, would write a letter guaranteeing the home on the property could be rebuilt. Lenders need the letter for financing purposes. "The county would not provide the letter," said Barrom.
Ayling said property owners could also request URA (urban residential agricultural) zoning, if a group of property owners would prefer such zoning.
Other concerns arose regarding whether or not wetlands are contained within the area being considered for annexation.
Ayling said, "There are a lot of man-made water features."
He continued, stating the county and the Department of Ecology have "no known mapped wetlands."
Property owner Bruce Ricks said it was just a few months ago that the county notified him a portion of his property could not be developed because of wetlands.
Ayling said the county has a map available online that does not show wetlands in the area, but the land is not currently in the city's jurisdiction for further investigation.
The investigation of areas many might believe to be wetlands may reveal the wetlands west of Sunnyside's city limits to be man-made, according to Ayling.
Addressing water and sewer hook-up concerns, Ayling said the property owners in the area under consideration for annexation would not have to pay hook-up fees because "stubs" have already been installed. The city planned ahead, he said, when it installed water and sewer lines for the West Sunnyside Business Park.
He said the cost for meter installation and usage fees would be assessed if property owners decided to hook up to the city services.
In the meantime, property owners are not required to connect to the city services for as long as their wells and/or septic systems are functioning. In the event of a failure of a well or septic system, the property owner would be required to connect to city services. A failure, said Ayling, does not include the need to replace a pump.
The Sunnyside Planning Commission, wanting to provide property owners more time to voice their concerns, voted to postpone the annexation process until February.
At that time, the commission will consider whether or not to forward the annexation proposal to the Washington State Boundary Review Board.