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Council reluctantly approves annexation of 92.3 acres in Brookman Road area

Councilors said they felt compelled by state law to accept bringing the land into city limits.

(Editor's note: This corrects an earlier version of this story.)

COURTESY CITY OF SHERWOOD - The Sherwood City Council approved the annexation of 92.3 acres of land -- which includes eight parcels of land -- on April 4.The Sherwood City Council reluctantly approved annexing 92.3 acres of land in what's known as the Brookman Addition Concept Plan area just south of the city.

On April 4, the council approved bringing the area into city limits with members saying they felt compelled to approve the ordinance by a new state law, which in effect takes away the right of individual cities to vote on annexations.

At issue is 88.22 acres of private property consisting of eight tax lots, which includes 4.08 acres of adjacent Brookman Road right-of-way. Requests to annex the Brookman Road-area property have failed three times before with the most recent attempt in November 2015 handily defeated by residents. Among concerns previously expressed by residents have been issues surrounding traffic, crowding in district schools and other issues.

However, councilors said passage of Senate Bill 1573, changed the game plan by wrestling away control for cities that have voter-approved annexations, forcing them to annex property if it meets certain legal criteria.

The property in question is located south of Sherwood, east of Highway 99W and west of Ladd Hill Road.

The April 5 council meeting brought several annexation opponents forward including Kurt Kristensen who said he didn't think the city should approve the measure and suggested that the city limit the number of building permits the city issues each year. He said the city did little to oppose the move by the Oregon Legislature on annexations, and asked that the ordinance be tabled to allow more time for review.

"I don't think God was ever in a hurry about this kind of stuff and I don't think you should be either," Kristensen said.

At the same time, resident Paul Cheranchanko also opposed the annexation, saying that Mayor Krisanna Clark had received campaign contributions from developers in the past including the Holt Group, which had represented property owners interested in building 250-single family homes in the Brookman Road-area during the 2015 annexation election.

"Why is the city so cuddled up with Holt Development?" Cheranchanko asked.

A clearly agitated Clark said she took exception with several of the comments made from those opposing the annexation, calling them "hurtful and untruthful."

"I'm appalled to (have you) say I can be bought because I can't be bought," she said, referring to Cheranchanko's comments, pointing out she works hard in her position doing everything for Sherwood residents. She added, "… don't you dare accuse me of taking a bribe."

In response to the city failing to act to oppose the state measure, Clark said she wrote a letter to then-Rep. John Davis asking him not to support Senate Bill 1573. Both Davis and local Sen. Kim Thatcher opposed the bill but it passed anyway. Now two legislative measures that would repeal the measure are circulating in Salem .

City Attorney Josh Soper has previously said it would cost the city upwards of $60,000 to fight the state annexation measure for Brookman Road in court, and that the city would likely lose. In addition, he said he doesn't believe the bills currently aimed at repealing Senate Bill 1573 will be successful.

"The problem here is we've been overruled," Clark pointed out. "If we fight it, it's going to cost us."

Those costs are equivalent to what it would take to get a second dog park up and running, said Clark. She noted that the annexation isn't an application for a specific development at the site, something that would have to go through the Sherwood Planning Commission for approval and involve a public process.

Councilor Jennifer Harris also said the city's hands were tied, noting that it's impossible for the council to say "we flat out don't want this" because the city is legally obligated to accept the annexation request.

"I promised my dad when I was 11 years old I wouldn't break the law," she said of her father who recently passed away.

In response to school capacity being a concern, Connie Randall, a city planning manager, pointed out that the Sherwood School District has adequately planned for the eventual annexation of the Brookman Road area.

She said one of the traffic concerns is a rumor that a southern bypass might be located from I-5 to Hillsboro, noting that no specific location has been identified.

This winter, State Rep. Richard Vial, a Republican whose district includes Sherwood, King City and Tigard's River Terrace area, introduced a bill that would in part allow for the creation of a special district that could result in the creation of a bypass from I-5 to Highway 26. The bill has only received lukewarm support, especially from members of the Washington County Commission.

Meanwhile, Randall said the issue of increased traffic in the Brookman Road area might be addressed by revisiting the city's unwritten policy of not allowing speed cushions or speed humps in the city. The ban, she said, is due in part to the fact such devices imped emergency vehicles. Randall said the city could consider revisiting those policies at a future work session.