VIDEO: Will White Center become part of Burien? City leaders come to WC for annexation-info meeting
If you couldn’t make it to tonight’s first White Center informational session about November’s North Highline vote on Burien annexation – you can watch our video of the entire hour-long meeting, starting with the introduction by Burien city staffer Nhan Nguyen, describing it as a homecoming of sorts, since he worked previously for the WC Community Development Association.
Most of the basic information was presented by Burien’s city manager Mike Martin, who said that if annexation is approved by a majority of North Highline voters in November, the area could be part of his city by this time next year. What would that mean? He addressed a variety of points – as well as what it would NOT mean. Referring to the sudden appearance of a raised divider down 16th SW in the heart of downtown WC, and a short-lived county proposal to sell Puget Sound Park, he declared, “We don’t do things that way.” He also touted Burien’s permit process as much better than what unincorporated-area residents and businesses have had to deal with through King County.
The first audience question answered by Martin was a pointed one: What would happen to the marijuana dispensaries in the North Highline area if it’s annexed? Burien doesn’t allow them, replied Martin (as he has said at previous community meetings); joining the meeting later, Police Chief Scott Kimerer addressed the topic again, saying that state and federal laws would be enforced – and acknowledging they may change. He also said that White Center would retain its law-enforcement storefront.
Martin sought to reassure White Center/North Highline residents and businesspeople on hand that they respect and appreciate WC’s unique character and don’t want to change it, but instead, just to support it. He also had harsh words for Burien residents who oppose annexing White Center and vicinity, calling them “small-minded and mean-spirited.” One concern that was raised about the annexation plan: Burien resident Chestine Edgar sought to challenge the issue of how much money Burien would get from the state sales-tax credit made available for annexation situations like this.
As first reported here earlier this week, the second informational meeting in White Center is scheduled for July 12th at Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge … and Nguyen told tonight’s audience that Burien will have a presence at Jubilee Days (July 21-22) to answer questions and provide information.
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