News

FWay knocking on Redondo's door

By ERICA HALL

Staff writer

Residents of the Redondo East, North Lake and Parkway neighborhoods could soon find themselves residents of the city of Federal Way.

The city’s Land-Use and Transportation Committee last Monday requested a resolution allowing the city to begin negotiating with King County to annex Redondo East, home to about 260 people and some commercial areas.

Because the Redondo East area is an “island” — it’s at least 60 percent surrounded by incorporated areas and it’s part of Federal Way’s urban growth area — the City Council can vote to annex it without a vote or petition from the residents, though their decision is subject to a voter referendum.

Redondo East is bordered by Federal Way and Des Moines, with South 272nd Street serving as the northern border, Pacific Highway South to the east and 16th Avenue South to the west. About 260 people live there.

The land-use committee also recommended the council pursue an 1,100-resident section of the Parkway area –– situated east of Interstate 5 and southwest of Enchanted Park –– through a simple election initiated through a council resolution. Parkway includes the Regency Ridge condominiums, Brittany Lane and Regency Woods.

Councilwoman Linda Kochmar, who isn’t a member of the land use committee but attended Monday’s meeting, wondered why the city would pay almost $2 per registered voter to run an election when citizens could petition the city themselves.

Parkway residents expressed an interest in joining the city when Federal Way annexed Enchanted Park, but the city opted against it then. Cathy McClung, director of community development, said there were infrastructure problems, mainly sewer, associated with new housing developments that were going in at the time.

“Since then, the issues have been resolved,” she said.

Committee members also discussed annexing the North Lake area, bordered on the southwest by Federal Way, with South 320th Street to the north and Peasley Canyon to the east. About 600 people live in North Lake.

Councilman Eric Faison, land-use committee chairman, asked the committee to put off a recommendation on that portion because he planned to meet with homeowners there later this week. The committee is expected to discuss North Lake later.

City officials said annexing the areas would provide better, faster service for those residents living there and would give the city some control over the way the areas are developed.

But officials will have to balance the benefit of annexing the communities against the cost of providing services to those residents and bringing infrastructure up to city standards. Some on the committee didn’t think it was worth it.

A recent financial study showed annexation wouldn’t be a financial benefit to the city — in fact, the city would have to subsidize services to most of its potential annexation areas because the residents who live there wouldn’t pay enough in taxes to cover the cost of improving roads and parks and providing services, like police.

Of the three areas the committee discussed Monday, Redondo was the only area officials expected would make money, requiring about $157,000 in expenditures and anticipated to bring in $169,000 in revenue — a positive difference of $12,000.

North Lake and the portion of Parkway didn’t pencil out as well, according to city data.

Finance director Iwen Wang told the committee officials anticipate getting about $141,000 in revenue from North Lake, but needing to spend about $195,000 to serve the area, requiring a $53,000 subsidy.

Parkway is anticipated to provide almost $269,000 in revenue, but would cost $494,000 to serve — a difference of $225,000.

Officials anticipate the city would have to provide a subsidy of about $267,000 — which includes the positive benefit of annexing Redondo East into the city — to bring the areas up to city standards.

But officials also recalculated the numbers to exclude increased levels of city staffing that they thought might not be necessary to serve the areas, at least not right away.

Without additional staffing, the subsidy to North Lake would be closer to $16,000, Wang said, and the subsidy to Parkway would be about $58,000. Without additional staffing, Redondo East’s contribution would be a little more than $51,000, for a total subsidy for the three areas of $23,000.

Councilman Dean McColgan, a committee member, said it was clear Redondo pencils out, but added he hadn’t been convinced of the advantage of annexing the other areas.

“If I have to tell other citizens what would be the advantage of subsidizing the other areas, what do I tell them?” he said.

Kochmar said the city should wait to annex until there are firmer numbers, particularly because more staff would be needed to service the areas eventually.

“We shouldn’t be burdening our current citizens without knowing the costs,” she said. “Rather than jumping in with both feet, I’d rather do it piecemeal.”

Rox Burhans, an associate city planner, said there are other benefits to annexing the areas, including the residents who live there.

“A lot of those people already shop in Federal Way, they recreate in Federal Way, they’re already kind of Federal Way residents,” he said, adding they should get a voice in city government. “The bottom line is there are other reasons besides financial ones to annex.”

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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