Soccer club asks city to annex part of its land
SNOHOMISH - The Snohomish Youth Soccer Club has asked the city to annex 20 acres of its property into city limits so it can use city services and follow city, not county, land use regulations.
As a result, about 23 acres is on track to be annexed into the city after the City Council approved the initial step in the annexation process Jan. 3.
About 10 acres of the club’s 50 acres is already in the city.
“We will be able to use the city services for our tournaments, like the police department helping us because right now we hire all that out,” soccer club board member Hal Uderitz said.
City staff recommended including about three more acres in the annexation. The three acres are part of the Pilchuck Gardens Condominiums.
“Because it’s contiguous it makes sense to include that in this annexation,” senior planner Owen Dennison said earlier this month.
The soccer club would like all of its land to be within the city, but right now only 20 acres is within the city’s Urban Growth Area (UGA), Uderitz said.
A city can only annex land that is within its UGA, which is land that is planned under the state Growth Management Act to be within city limits someday.
Uderitz said he hopes more of the club’s land will be put into the UGA in the future.
The land is comprised of soccer fields just outside city limits, located off Pine Avenue on the east side of Lincoln Avenue, across from Stocker Farms.
The city will not gain any property tax revenue from the annexation, as the nonprofit soccer club does not pay property taxes, Dennison said.
The soccer club hires flaggers for traffic control when soccer tournaments bring increased traffic to the area, but the club would rather hire city police, Uderitz said.
“We have to pay somebody, so I would just assume keep the money in Snohomish,” he said.
Drivers also tend to pay more attention to a police officer than a civilian flagger, he added.
The club’s biggest event is the five-day Bigfoot tournament, held in the third week of August, which attracts between 15,000 and 20,000 people to Snohomish each day, Uderitz said.
The tournament organizers try to warn local restaurant owners before the tournament begins, because in the past the restaurants have run out of food serving tournament guests, he said.
The club wants the annexation because with this influx of people, “…I think it will make life easier for the city,” Uderitz said.
The county also has regulations on portable lights that the city doesn’t have, he said.
The club’s 10 acres currently within the city include a house at 27 Pine Avenue, and a few buildings and parking lots associated with the soccer fields.
“The part that we actually play soccer on, that’s actually out of the city,” Uderitz said.
The Snohomish Youth Soccer Club has requested the annexation via the direct petition annexation method based on assessed property value.
The City Council voted unanimously to allow the soccer club to circulate petitions to property owners within the proposed annexation area. Property owners representing at least 60 percent of the assessed value in the proposed area must sign the petition in order to qualify the annexation to move to the next step in the process, which is a public hearing.
The soccer club is the primary landowner there, so the process should be relatively quick, Dennison said.
“They don’t need any signatures from the condominium owners because there is sufficient assessed value in their property relative to the condominium property in the annexation area,” Dennison said. “They can meet the 60 percent threshold with just the signature authorized from the soccer club so that will be a quick turnaround.”
A public hearing should occur within the next few months on the annexation proposal, Dennison said.
After the public hearing, the county Boundary Review Board will look at the proposal, giving it a 45-day waiting period for people to comment.
The condominium owners are expected to support the annexation.
“When that was approved for development, the owner at that time recorded a covenant on the property stating that the owners at the time would agree to annexation,” Dennison said.
The developed part of the condominium property is already within city limits, he said.
Neither of the properties in the annexation is expected to be developed further in the future, Dennison said.
The properties sit in a 100-year flood plain, which floods each year. Development is highly regulated in the flood plain to protect endangered species, Dennison said.
By STEPHANIE KOSONEN
Published Jan. 18, 2012