EDITOR’S NOTE: Discussions on Fairwood annexation critical to future

Renton is going to become a much different city than it is today – if Fairwood residents decide to annex to the city.

That’s why the discussions the Renton City Council is going to have over the next couple weeks are so critical to the city’s future.

Starting Monday, the council will take up a resolution from Mayor Denis Law calling for an election next August so that Fairwood voters can decide whether to annex this almost-city of 25,000 people.

Not quite as far along as Fairwood, but still looming, is the potential annexation of Skyway/West Hill. Much more so than Fairwood, the annexation of Skyway/West Hill comes with great costs.

Annexation of Fairwood has been a possibility for years. It’s one of Renton’s potential annexation areas. So is Skyway/West Hill. That means if either of those unincorporated areas is going to any city, it’s Renton.

In Fairwood’s case, annexation had to wait until incorporation had its chance. Cityhood failed twice, the last time Nov. 3. Now, the City Council has precious little time to act on moving Fairwood annexation forward. In order to obtain up to $2.2 million in credit against the state sales tax to help with transition costs, the council must initiate an annexation process by year’s end.

Luckily, the city understands Fairwood pretty well, through formal studies and a general sense of neighborliness. It had to repeatedly step up in a factual way to explain city services to Fairwood residents during the incorporation debate.

The resolution before the City Council merges two annexation proposals – one just for Fairwood’s commercial core (Red Mill) and the other for the entire Fairwood area. It would be unconscionable to just annex the sales-tax-generating business district. That would play into the hands of incorporation supporters who tried to portray Renton as a municipal Scrooge.

Politically and realistically, that’s not going to happen anyway.

So what would Fairwood mean to the City of Renton? It really is unlike any neighborhood in Renton.

Fairwood feels like a city; it’s not Renton’s outpost. It will make its political will known, with a distinct shift southeastward of the political base in Renton.

The incorporation activists have already put the City Council on notice they are going to be watching the city’s business very closely. If the city thought it had its hands full with the Highlands Community Association, just wait until Fairwood comes on board.

Then there’s Skyway/West Hill, just minutes from downtown Renton, with its sweeping views of nearly the entire city. As the crow flies over downtown, it’s more Renton than, say, Benson Hill.

The county has left Fairwood in pretty good shape; not so Skyway/West Hill. Gone is a county program to spend millions to spruce up its unincorporated urban areas to entice suitors to annex them. But the potential for financial partnerships still exists.

When Skyway annexes, Renton’s transformation will become complete, although there are still other smaller annexations down the road. If the numbers hold up, Renton would become the second-largest city in King County.

Now that’s the way to exert local control and have a seat at the regional table.

Comment on Fairwood

To e-mail a comment to the Renton City Council about Fairwood annexation, go to rentonwa.gov and click on Council under the Government header. The City Council will discuss the Fairwood annexation when it meets as the Committee of the Whole at 5 p.m. Monday (Dec. 7) in its chambers, seventh floor, City Hall, 1055 S. Grady Way.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

KCLS has expanding its online resources so patrons can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active amid the pandemic.

Ardra Arwin.
‘Let’s not go out and play!’

A poem by Renton resident Ardra Arwin, age 8

How using a face mask to cover my Asian face could put me in danger

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Asians and Asian Americans have been targeted.

Opinion: Public deserves honest information on sex education

The Washington comprehensive sex education bill passed in the Senate on March 7.

Grocery store staff are working hard to keep the shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo
Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

Catch each other during this fall

How we can use the quarantine to reflect on necessary social changes

To our elected officials: Be bold, be consistent, be honest, be helpful

By Patrick Grubb, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Governor Jay Inslee has been… Continue reading

Letters to the editor for the week of March 13

Reader worries about the county’s reach Dear editor, The article regarding King… Continue reading

As the deadline nears, state lawmakers face a few challenges

There are four major decisions lawmakers are tackling before the end of this legislative session.

A tax break for working families

As rents continue to climb in our communities, as food prices continue… Continue reading

Accelerating equity in STEM education in the Puget Sound

At the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), headquartered in Seattle’s South Lake… Continue reading