News

West Fort Nugent annex goes forward

An annexation of 20 acres of land on the west side of Oak Harbor is moving forward despite the reservations of one councilman.

Last week, the Oak Harbor City Council voted unanimously to allow the proposed Palmer / Daugherty annexation on the north side of West Fort Nugent Road to proceed. Brian Gentry of Landed Gentry submitted the annexation request on behalf of the Palmer and Daugherty families, who own about half of the annexation area.

Gentry said his plan is to build a housing community on the land.

As a condition of the annexation, the City Council required the landowners to assume city indebtedness. Also, the council members directed staff to negotiate an annexation agreement with the proponents.

City Councilman Paul Brewer said he was concerned that residential annexations stretch city resources without a a proportional increase of the tax base. He said the annexation would mean more work for already-over-worked city inspectors and meter readers.

“I feel we should not be voting on this,” he said, “before we know the ramifications of another annexation.”

Brewer argued that new residential development stresses the city’s water reserve, as well as fire and police service, but doesn’t help pay for the effect it has. He said the annexation should be put on hold until the city passes a fire impact fee.

Steve Powers, development service director, explained that these issues could be addressed in the annexation agreement with Landed Gentry. He said Gentry has already agreed, in informal negotiations, to pay a fire impact fee on each new dwelling.

In addition, Powers said the annexation will come back to City Council for final consideration. Under the state’s new petition process for annexation, Landed Gentry now has to circulate the petitions to both landowners and residents. It must be signed by the owners of a majority of the acreage and the majority of registered voters for the annexation to go through.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

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