The formal dispute over land ownership in McCleary reached a conclusion on Wednesday, June 8.
After a 90-minute hearing, which included multiple citizen petition testimonies and deliberation, the Washington State Boundary Review Board for Grays Harbor County ruled unanimously in favor for the city of McCleary to confirm its annexation of a 42.65-acre plot of land that was previously owned by Port Blakely Tree Farm.
With the city of McCleary having annexed the area, the discussion and planning of developing residential properties can begin despite concern from some members of the public.
The hearing, which was held in Montesano, originated from a formally submitted citizen petition that was received by the Boundary Review Board during the 45-day review period of the city of McCleary’s Notice of Intent application.
According to documents that can be found on the Grays Harbor County website, 22 signatures were received on Feb. 25, to request a hearing on the matter. However, only four individuals provided testimony to the board to be considered in the hearing.
Jayne Hamlin, a resident of McCleary bordering the annexation plot, expressed her concerns about the city of McCleary obtaining the plot of land through written testimony by commenting on the current infrastructure of the city.
“There are potentially 200 homes being built behind our home,” Hamlin said. “The impact of this building would be terrible. The water, roads and sewer can’t handle all of this stress on our town.”
Chris Carlson, a representative on behalf of Port Blakely, responded by saying that applicant (city of McCleary) still must uphold all recommendations needed to establish the development.
“All we can say is if this project is developed and there’s a hearing examiner decision, the applicant will be going to conform with those conditions.” Carlson stated.
When deliberations began, the board was quick to rule an approval of the annexation on the basis that when the McCleary City Council had originally voted on the annexation request on Oct. 13, 2021, there was an agreement that if the land was in the city’s control, it could be better overseen and planned in accordance with the law.