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Annexation bill going to Governor’s desk

Maple Valley officials are one step closer to annexing the property within the city limits known as the donut hole thanks the passage of an amended bill on the Senate floor earlier this week.

The amended Senate Bill 5417 passed concurrency with a 34-14 Senate vote Monday afternoon and is headed to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

The bill will allow the city of Maple Valley to begin the annexation process for Summit Place, also known as the donut hole. The donut hole is 156 acres located off Kent-Kangley and Southeast 228th Street that is home to a county transportation maintenance facility, nine holes of the Elk Run Golf Course, and undeveloped land. The donut hole is entirely surrounded by the city of Maple Valley.

Annexation will shift control of zoning the property from King County, which also owns the land, to the city. Passage of the bill will not affect the ownership of the property.

“Watching this process unfold has been a lesson for all of us on the political process in Olympia,” said David Johnston, Maple Valley city manager. “It’s a good day in the history of Maple Valley. It’ll be a great day when we see the governor sign the bill.”

After Gov. Inslee signs the bill and it becomes law the city will begin the steps to annex the land. Johnston said at the City Council meeting Monday night those steps include meeting with the city attorney, publishing notice of the city’s intent, a public hearing, and a comprehensive plan amendment as well as zoning changes.

Passage of the bill doesn't immediately change anything regarding the possibility of the Tahoma School District buying a portion of the property, according to district spokesman Kevin Patterson.

Late last year the district was in negotiations with the county to buy approximately 35 acres to use as the site for a new high school, but the discussions stalled when both parties couldn't agree on a purchase price.

"It doesn't really change anything at this point," Patterson said. "It still comes down to will it be possible for the district to purchase a piece of property in the donut hole."

While that's a point of discussion between the district and the county, Maple Valley officials praised the work of 5th District representatives to move the legislation through Olympia.

“Olympia did what was best for the citizens of Maple Valley,” Mayor Bill Allison said Monday night. “I’m thankful for all the work Sen. Fain and Sen. Mullet did, that Rep. Sullivan and Rodne (did), and I’m thankful for all the prayers of the citizens of our community. After all the phone calls, all the meetings with representatives and senators, these are the situations that make it exciting and worth everything to be in this position.”

Allison also said he was thankful for the hard work and hours Johnston and the city’s lobbyist, Jim Hendrick, spent on the bill.

At the meeting Monday night, Maple Valley resident Larry Lindstrand thanked the council for their work.

“The community doesn’t have an inkling of what you did and how it will benefit the community,” Lindstrand said.

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