ARLINGTON — A 15-year debate concluded Nov. 17, when the Arlington City Council voted 7-0 to annex 210 acres in the Island Crossing area.
“There was lots of hoots and hollering going on at the Council meeting,” said the city’s assistant administrator, Kristin Banfield.
“Our legal analysis determined that we could move forward with the annexation,” Banfield said.
The State Supreme Court voted Oct. 9 in favor of Dwayne Lane and company’s appeal of several decisions by several boards and courts over the years, starting when several groups appealed the placement of Island Crossing inside Arlington’s Urban Growth Area in the city’s first comprehensive plan after the Growth Management Act.
The city’s attorney, Steve Peiffle, said “The highest court of our state heard the case, determined that the county’s actions were appropriate and that Snohomish County was right to put the disputed property into Arlington’s UGA. The Supreme Court mandate means that the county’s ordinance is again valid. The city has gone through every process required to annex the property at the BRB [Boundary Review Board] level and at the city level. All of the property can and should be made a part of the city.”
Mayor Margaret Larson sees it as an historic day.
“We are excited about the opportunities this area has for the city,” Larson said.
The current manager of Dwayne Lane Chevrolet, Dwayne Lane’s son Tom Lane, said that he is relieved to have the whole thing behind him.
“You know, you just get tired of fighting sometimes,” he said, adding that the current crisis in the big three automobile companies nationwide will not impact their plans.
“We just have to prepare to weather the storm,” he said. The company is also adjusting some of its plans for construction on the property along I-5 south of Island Crossing.
“We just have a few things to modify,” Tom Lane said. He also noted that his father was out riding his horses Friday, when The Arlington Times called.
“It’s not just about Dwayne Lane Chevrolet,” Banfield said. “There’s another 110 acres and other property owners that have been wanting to be a part of the city.”
A property owner up on the bluff, Pete Poeschel hadn’t heard the news when The Arlington Times called
“I guess if you live long enough you can get something done,” Poeschel chuckled. A partner in Poeschel & Shultz that started with a logging business and evolved into a general partnership called Noretep (“It’s Pete and Ron spelled backwards,” Poeschel explained). They have watched the process with interest, as their property is inside the Urban Growth Area that was annexed. Now they largely manage rental properties “all over the country,” Poeschel said. They sold off several parcels along Smokey Point Boulevard and 188th Street and have no definite plans for the remaining five acres.
“We got beat up by the county,” Poeschel said, adding that they spent 15 years trying to develop some land near Granite Falls and have since been focused on taking care of their rentals.
“Fifteen years is a long time. He waited a long time for that,” Poeschel said. He added that he had always wondered why Mount Vernon and Burlington were allowed to develop in the flood plain, while Arlington was not.
The annexation will be official five days after publication, Banfield said.
The legal announcement was scheduled for release Nov. 20 and so Island Crossing will be officially in the city of Arlington as of Nov. 25.
“Dwayne said Monday that he’ll be moving dirt next week,” Banfield said, acknowledging that he knows that he has to follow the city’s process of applying for permits to build.
“The property owners out there have been wanting this for a long time,” said Mayor Margaret Larson. “We’ve been providing a lot of services out there anyway. It just makes sense.”
City officials have been meeting with Silvana Fire District 19 which will continue serving the area for about a year, Banfield said. Police services will begin next week.
The city is also planning to revise some zoning along Smokey Point Boulevard, a project that has been on hold until the annexation was complete. The annexation includes some highway commercial and some light industrial areas, from 188th Street north to SR 530 and a row of lots north of that.
The annexation includes the triangle, home to the Stilly Smoke Shop, and other Stillaguamish Tribe businesses, and between I-5 and the boulevard, south to the bluff, and east and west of the boulevard on the upland.
While it will take any new development a while to wind their way through the application process, it will also take a couple of years for the city to start collecting property taxes.
“It takes a while to make all the changes,” Banfield said.