Area annexed is Breckenridge Road including existing school and cemetery

NOOKSACK — Minutes after the Monday meeting of the Nooksack City Council convened, a vote of 4-1 passed Ordinance No. 712 to annex approximately 105 acres into city limits.

Longtime council member Tom Jones, who is also on the Nooksack Cemetery board, was the sole negative vote.

There was no discussion by the council or six members of the public present for a hearing on the topic first. At a previous hearing earlier in the year, some had voiced concern for the ability of the Nooksack Elementary School on Breckenridge Road to handle a sizeable influx of additional students.

The property on both the north and south sides of Breckenridge Road has been mostly used agriculturally in the past. It has been within the city’s eastside Urban Growth Area for about 20 years.

On Feb. 1, 2019, the City of Nooksack received notice of intent to pursue annexation from Thomas Fenton and Susan Williamson of 3382 Breckenridge Rd. That parcel, previously owned by Michael and Elena Gonser, had been used for Breckenridge Dairy production.

Nearly 90 percent of the property owners of the 105.6 acres — with the public Nooksack Cemetery and Nooksack School District properties off the property tax rolls — impacted by the annexation signed on for it, city-contracted planner Rollin Harper said.

Annexing property into a city is a multi-step process.

Harper, as Sehome Planning and Development Services, has been assisting on planning-related projects since 2000. Following the brief presentation, and vote, earlier in the year, he said, the petition was signed by the property owners and submitted to the city May 30. On June 4 the Whatcom County Assessor signed a certificate of sufficiency, and on June 17 the council adopted Resolution No. 307 resolving to annex the property. On July 18 the city submitted the notice to the Whatcom County Boundary Review Board, which approved it Sept. 2.

Harper told councilors and attendees that the property, primarily sitting above the Sumas River, is out of the 100-year flood plain and gives the city its best chance for residential growth. It also already includes the elementary school and cemetery, he noted.

“This is the logical step if the city needs the (growth),” Harper said.

The petition did include a statement acknowledging that the proposed annexation area is located “in proximity to designated agricultural and mineral resource lands where certain activities may occur that [cause] dust, noise, traffic, odor or other potential impacts incompatible with residential development.”

The mineral property referred to is a gravel pit owned by Miles Sand & Gravel Co. Inc, which has a number of gravel trucks traveling regularly in the area.

Mayor Jim Ackerman welcomed residents on the property to Nooksack. He said the next step will be developers presenting their plans to the city at future twice-monthly council meetings for consideration. Those specific plans were not addressed Monday.