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Annexation of Beach Drive area sought

The focus of recent annexation efforts in Port Orchard has been on areas such as the Bethel Corridor and Mile Hill Drive that encompass significant commercial property, but there’s a new annexation proposal initiated by City Councilman Jim Colebank for a residential area along Beach Drive.

Colebank owns a 1.25-acre lot on Beach Drive and said he plans to build a home there, regardless of whether the annexation gets approved.

At least a couple residents in the proposed annexation area have expressed their opposition to it. One of them, Jim Haner, has said it could be a conflict of interest for a city councilman to push for annexation of property he owns.

But Colebank said he’s going through a process that’s available to anyone who lives within the city’s designated Urban Growth Area.

“I haven’t done anything except request my property be annexed,” he said. “Any property owner can do it.”

Colebank, 66, who said he bought his Beach Drive lot about 10 years ago, filed a request for annexation with the city this summer.

The Planning Department formulated boundaries of the proposed annexation area, which includes neighborhoods between Olney and Arnold Avenues from Fourth Street north to the waterfront, and east along Beach Drive past Bancroft Road.

The department sent property owners a notice of intent to petition for annexation, and if those are signed and returned by owners representing 10 percent of the valuation in the proposed annexation area, the petition will be submitted to the City Council. Once the council accepts the petition, it would be approved if signed by property owners representing 60 percent of the area’s valuation, which is listed as $38 million.

If the proposal eventually does come before the City Council, Colebank would recuse himself from any discussion and vote on the issue.

Haner, 70, said residents in the area are concerned that they might be required to connect to the city sewer system in the future.

“There’s more against being annexed than there is for annexation,” Haner said.

Colebank acknowledges that may be so.

“I don’t have a whole lot of faith that people on Beach Drive want to be annexed, but I wanted to give them a chance,” he said.

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