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Greenfield Estates annexation OK’d

Residents had petitioned to join city

About 150 people are about to become Spokane residents.

The Spokane City Council this week approved the annexation of Greenfield Estates, an 83-lot subdivision that borders Hillyard.

John Mercer, who oversees annexations for Spokane, said residents in the 16-acre subdivision, which currently has 61 homes, petitioned to enter the city, in large part to help lower sewer fees. Spokane sewer customers who live outside city limits pay higher rates.

City borders will officially extend to include the land on Jan. 1. Next month, the City Council is scheduled to finalize zoning, which likely will be residential with four to 10 homes per acre, Mercer said.

While some annexations are profitable to the city, Mercer said Spokane could lose money in the short term. Some taxes will shift from the county to the city after annexation is final, but the city also will have to make annual payments of about $20,000 to Spokane County Fire District 9 because of a deal the city signed with the district in the 1990s.

That agreement is meant to prevent the district from being hurt financially by annexation. Although the city will pay the district, the city’s Fire Department will be the primary emergency responder in the neighborhood.

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner called the deal with the fire district “lopsided,” but added: “They are written agreements and commitments that were made by prior city councils, and we’ll have to abide them.”

The City Council approved the annexation on a 4-0 vote. Council members Joe Shogan, Nancy McLaughlin and Steve Corker were absent.

Meanwhile, Verner said administrators from Spokane, Spokane County and Airway Heights have put the final touches on an annexation plan for 10 square miles of the West Plains, including Spokane International Airport.

If approved by the city councils from both cities and the county commissioners, that acreage would enter city limits Jan. 1, 2012, in what would be the largest extension of Spokane borders in a century. About a half square mile of the land would become part of Airway Heights.

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