Burien withdraws annexation request for now

Just happened to check the City of Burien website and found this bombshell: Burien has withdrawn its North Highline annexation request (which included part of White Center). Read the city news release here. This does not appear to have been reported anywhere else as of this time (10:08 pm Wednesday) – just checked newspaper sites and other area sites, so you’re hearing it here first. The news release notes that a new round of negotiations, involving Seattle as well, is expected to start. More shortly; we’ll be checking for reaction from some of the folks who have contributed more than 60 comments (thank you!) to the intense annexation discussion below this WCN post from two weeks ago tonight. ADDED 10:42 PM: In case you have any trouble with the direct link to Burien’s website, here is the full text of the announcement posted there:

The City of Burien has notified the Boundary Review Board of King County that it is withdrawing its current request to annex the southern portion of the North Highline unincorporated area. The City plans to re-file an annexation request later this year after completion of a new round of negotiations with King County and the cities of SeaTac and Seattle regarding the proposed annexation boundary.

The Burien City Council authorized submittal of the “Notice of Intent” to annex part of North Highline in May 2008. The Notice of Intent was filed with the Boundary Review Board in late June after the approval of new countywide planning policies allowing the annexation request to proceed. The timing of Burien’s filing was challenged by the City of Seattle and the North Highline Fire District on legal grounds.

“In the interest of having the community and the Boundary Review Board focus on the merits of annexation rather than upon procedural and legal issues, we believe that it is in the best interest of the parties for the City to withdraw its current Notice of Intent,” said Mike Martin, Burien’s city manager.

The delay in the annexation process allows the cities and County to meet to discuss substantive issues related to annexation, including providing adequate urban services within annexed portions of North Highline and any remaining unincorporated area.

“We’ve tried to get Seattle to the table for almost a year to resolve these issues but they have been unwilling to meet with us,” Martin explained. “For whatever reason, they’ve changed their mind now and appear willing to talk. We wish for the sake of the North Highline residents Seattle would have come to that conclusion sooner, but better late than never.”

Now, for the first time, Burien is able to consider the specific and detailed concerns of the North Highline Fire District that were filed with the Boundary Review Board. While the City of Burien has no authority over the current or future operations of the fire district, “we will encourage the North Highline and Burien/Normandy Park fire districts to resolve their differences in the interest of providing quality services in the areas they serve,” said Martin.

The City has offered to start negotiations immediately, with the goal of reaching a successful resolution of issues by the end of the year. Martin added, “Our City values trust, integrity, communication and collaboration. It is in this spirit that we are ready to take one step back in order to help our neighbors in North Highline move many steps forward.”

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10 Responses to “Burien withdraws annexation request for now”

  1. Thanks for finding this Tracy. Does anyone know what the North Highline Fire District’s concerns are with the Burien annexation?

  2. Very interesting development! I can’t help but interpret this (“a new round of negotiations with King County and the cities of SeaTac and Seattle”) to mean a compromise is on the horizon. Perhaps this will end up in a (controversial) split annex with Burien taking the south side of NH and Seattle the north. Thoughts?

  3. Awesome. They’ve been messing around seperately for so long, things were muddled. I’m glad to see they’ll all be talking together (SeaTac too?).

    From what I’d heard, they had previously both agreed to NOT split up the area. Perhaps this is what they’ll be discussing. I think that would work best, since Burien really only wants the southern part to 116th. Of course, throw SeaTac into the mix and we have a 3-way split…

  4. I strongly favor annexing all of NH to Burien and welcome this development. This should clear the deck for Burien to call for a vote on annexing all of NH.
    As I understand it, the main concern for the Fire District is the effect of moving more of the District into the City. A large piece of the District was incorporated into Burien when the City was created, and the City contracts with the District to cover the area that was in the District but is now in the City. The same process would happen again with a partial annexation, but there is a lot of concern in the District.

  5. I just moved into the Annexation area this last year and the neighbors have said that the fight over this area between Seattle and Burien has been going on for years! As a first time home owner, I am concerned about my home’s resale value. If my address changes from Seattle to Burien, would this effect the resale value at all? How does this change in cities effect the current residents (besides with taxes)?

  6. km,
    The value of your home is not determined by what city you reside in but by things like the condition and size of your home and the sale of similar homes in your specific neighborhood.

    The King County Assessors Office determines the assessed value of all property in King County and how they make that determination is upon the past three years of home sales within a specific neighborhood. See their web page for further info

    Here is an example that might help bring some clarity. In the Seola Beach neighborhood just outside of White Center, Seola Beach Dr. is the boundary between the City of Burien and the City of Seattle. The houses in that neighborhood that are in the City of Seattle are NOT valued higher than similar houses across the street that are in the City of Burien. Anyone can look this up on the Parcel Viewer on the King County website http://www.metrokc.gov/gis/mapportal/PViewer_main.htm

    Hope that helps.

  7. Alcina is right. Seola Beach is a good example of an area where comparable houses are in close proximity on both sides of the Seattle City limits. Other examples can be found in South Park and in the Skyway/Lakeridge area. Both are areas where arbitrary boundaries place adjacent houses (or houses separated only by an ordinary residential street) on opposite sides the Seattle City limits. With the link provided by Alcina you can make your own comparison to see if the claimed increase (as much as 40% according to some claims I have seen) actually exists.

  8. Thanks for clearing this up Alcina and Jerry!

  9. It sounds like a reasonable way to compare home prices. However, three years ago after my divorce I was looking for a house to buy in West Seattle. As a Seattle teacher, I could not find anything in West Seattle that I could afford.

    I was reluctant to look in North Highline because of its reputation of drugs, gangs, and criminal activity. I decided to look at several homes in the area, and found a decent home in Beverly Park on a nice block with great neighbors, and bought it. A similar house in a similar-looking neighborhood in West Seattle would have cost me at least $150,000 more than what I paid for my house.

    I think that the link below to Northwest Multiple Listings will reveal than it is a much more valid comparison neighborhood to neighborhood over the last 12 months.

    The County Assessor has a backlog of thousands of people filing for reassessments in King County. The Northwest Multiple Listing website shows the market rate which is a more accurate measure than the King County Assessor’s office.


  10. The key thing with any comparison is to make sure it is an apples-to-apples comparison. That is why appraisers prefer to use comparable homes located in close proximity to the house they are appraising.
    The same kind of differnce can be found comparisons between otherwise similar houses within the City of Seattle. Compare Genesee Hill or Alki in West Seattle, to South Park or Highland Park. Differences nearly as great can be found within the small confines of NH. Compare similar homes in Shorewood to Boulevard Park.
    The biggest single difference between your house in West Seattle and your house in Beverly Park is proximity to SeaTac airport. With that much of a price difference, it is likely that that your former home was somewhat to the west (probably west of 35th), and that the airport is much more noticeable from your new house.
    In my experience as a real estate broker in this area (late 1970’s to late 1990’s) I noticed a number of things, including 2 things pertinent to your experience. Houses west of 35th in West Seattle are more desired (therefor more expensive) than houses east of 35th. Houses closer to the airport are less desired (therefor less expensive) than houses farther from the airport.
    The saying in the real estate business is that three things matter most in the value of real estate, location, location and location. Unless annexation to Seattle included moving houses to higher priced locations it is not going to make any difference in the value of your home.