Federal Way man petitions city to annex property

The thought of inclusion into Federal Way city limits is teasing Richard Butko, who owns property on Military Road South.

Butko, of unincorporated King County, can literally see the city limits from his property at 37815 Military Road S.

On April 7, he submitted to the city an Intention to Petition for Annexation into Federal Way. The city council, absent Linda Kochmar, unanimously passed a motion June 3 to allow Butko to proceed with a petition, but requested the proposed annexation area expand beyond Butko’s property. If Butko is able to convince his neighbors that Federal Way has more to offer than unincorporated King County, the city may choose to redraw its boundaries.

Butko’s land is a 2.61 acre, single-family parcel located north of South 320th Street and east of Interstate 5. The property is situated within the potential annexation area, and its western boundary is adjacent to city limits. Butko was unwilling to discuss why he wished to annex, but as per state law, any citizen or a jurisdiction can initiate an annexation process. It all starts with a petition.

Expanding the boundaries

Upon review of Butko’s intent to petition, the Land Use and Transportation Committee as well as city staff recommended in May that the city council accept Butko’s notice, but adjust the proposed annexation area.

They wished to include an additional seven nearby properties and the South 320th Street right-of-way.

“It seems to me to annex one property and leave the others hanging doesn’t make sense,” Mayor Jack Dovey said.

Including the other parcels would make the city’s boundaries contiguous, senior planner Janet Shull said.

Annexing the eight parcels together could also make it slightly easier in an emergency to determine if Federal Way police or the King County Sheriff’s Office should respond, said Federal Way Deputy Chief of Police Andy Hwang.

However, annexing a single property would not pose significant danger, he said.

Proposing to annex the eight properties, a total of 8.45 acres plus the right-of-way, makes operations easier for the city — but puts Butko in a demanding position.

Four of the seven parcels are owned by one citizen, while the others are independently owned. A chiropractic office, massage and rehabilitation office, gas station and espresso stand are located on four of the properties. Three are vacant. In order for Butko’s land to be included within city limits, he is required to retain signatures, documenting a willingness to annex, from 60 percent (or 2.4) of the landowners in question. This did not settle well with some council members.

Failed annexation efforts:

This past August, thousands of unincorporated King County residents chose not to annex into Federal Way. It would be a shame to deny the opportunity to someone who did want to be included, council member Dini Duclos said.

“I hate to see him dependent on other property owners,” Duclos said.

For this reason, Duclos, who serves on the Land Use and Transportation Committee, requested in May that city staff contact Butko’s neighbors and get a feel for their willingness to annex into Federal Way. One property owner showed an interest in annexation, another wanted more information about the effects of the annexation and two others have not been heard from, Shull said.

Next steps:

By approving Butko’s intent to petition, the city council is requesting he start talking with his neighbors about the issue.

“We are asking the applicant to go get those signatures,” Dovey said.

If the landowners are not willing to be ushered into the city of Federal Way, the council will allow Butko to petition alone for annexation of his property at a later date, Deputy Mayor Eric Faison said. If Butko is able to collect the signatures and the city is still willing to annex the area, the city and whichever property owners annex will come to an agreement on how the $19,605 needed to annex will be paid.

A public hearing will then be scheduled. Following this, the Notice of Intention to Annex will be submitted to the King County Boundary Review Board. Upon approval by this board, the city will write an annexation ordinance and the landowners will officially be Federal Way residents.

Check it out:

For more information on this topic and the rules of annexation, read RCW 35A.14.120 at the Washington State Legislature Web site at

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