PASCO, Wash. - The City of Pasco still plans to annex an odd shaped portion of the doughnut hole area. It's about a square mile in size with about 500 homes and 1,500 people. If that happens, city officials said it would put an end to plans for the rest of the doughnut hole to become a separate city.
It was over a year ago that the city started talks of annexing. In the quest of finding common ground several meetings were held in hopes of finding a compromise between the city, the county and the fire district to no avail.
Wednesday, members of the group Citizens for Lifestyle Preservation submitted a petition to get on the ballot for a vote on incorporating as their own city.
"I really appreciate the turnout with the people around here because we had a lot of signatures," said doughnut hole resident Larry Gomez. "We went door to door and just talking to them direct. It's our life, our lifestyle."
"So we're at a point now where because of the effort to incorporate, then the city is required to exercise its rights to protect its interests and that's what we're doing by annexing the portion of doughnut hole that we can," said Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield.
The city has it's own petition pending with the auditor's office. It's also signed on behalf of property owners in the doughnut hole.
"When people wanted water to build a new home or bought a home that was connected to the city water then they signed an agreement with the city that they would annex in the future or give the city power of attorney to sign for annexation in the future for water at that time," said Crutchfield.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed against the city by the citizens group suggests the city's agreements are invalid. Crutchfield said the agreements are valid, though and said all the pieces are in place for the city annex a part of the doughnut hole in the next few months.
"By doing that it would reduce the population of the doughnut hole below the threshold required for a new city, which means you couldn't have a new city," said Crutchfield.
If the city is successful in annexing that portion of the doughnut hole by the end of the year, the Citizens for Lifestyle Preservation petition will be a moot point. Pasco officials said they won't have enough people there to incorporate as a new city.