On Saturday, Seaview, Washington, residents met with the Long Beach city administrator to discuss a controversial idea. Joanne Rideout reports. Listen below [4:14].
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About 200 Seaview residents attended the packed community meeting at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, Saturday morning in Ilwaco. They were talking about an idea that was making the rounds in city government – annex Seaview to Washington and make the two communities one city.
Dave Glasson, Long Beach city administrator, said the idea of annexation comes up about every 5-10 years. The informal meeting was organized to gauge interest in the idea. He was there. along with other city officials and county commissioners.
“Well I think the reason we had the meting today was to gauge interest in the idea, because I had people asking me about – would Long Beach consider annexing Seaview. It’s always been a ‘no,’ we didn’t want anything to do with that. And I don’t think they wanted anything to do with Long Beach either. But I thought about it over and over again, and I weighed the pros and cons. And I thought it would be worth having the discussion. If we don’t talk about it, we really don’t know.”
Officials quickly got their answer: a straw poll of those present (about half of Seaview’s less than 500 citizens), showed all but a handful were flat out opposed to joining up with Long Beach.
Glasson said the issue is dead, at least for now.
“I don’t see any point in moving forward, again you’d have to have a majority, 10 percent or better, petition the city to even consider it. And on top of that the city would have to change their UGA, The county would have to approve that change in UGA. Yeah, this is dead for the foreseeable future.”
A UGA is an Urban Growth Area. Urban growth areas are regional boundaries, set up to control urban sprawl.
Seaview resident Nansen Malin [Ma-LEEN] is president of the Seaview Historical Preservation Society, called SHIPS. The group organized the meeting.
“The city of Long Beach, Dave Glasson, the administrator, came to me because I am known for being very active in the community. And he came to me to say, ‘hey, we have this idea.’ Now in the past they’ve come to me and said, ‘we’re interested in annexation.” And for a number of years I’ve said, ‘let me check on that,’ and I would do due diligence for 4-6 months and I would return and say, ‘there is no interest.’ This time there seemed to be a few people interested, or at least I was told there were. And so it was time bring in more than just me doing the work to answer that question. So that Long Beach could hear directly from the citizens how they felt.”
She wasn’t surprised at the large turnout for the meeting.
“People in Seaview have always been very passionate about Seaview issues. Seaview shows up.”
Seaview resident Bruce Peterson explained more about why Seaview residents want to maintain their community identity.
“The residents of Seaview are very protective of the character and integrity, and look and tranquil nature of the town, and aren’t willing to do much that would put that at risk. Most of us have been around long enough to recognize that this is something that’s hard to find. And I think everybody has embraced that and it’s the reason people buy in Seaview. Is to have that character, is to have that feel that you get walking down the streets. Annexing, becoming part of a larger municipality, I think people feel like that puts that character at risk.”
Peterson affirmed it’s not the first time the idea of annexation has come up:
“This has come up at least four times since I’ve been here, we bought in 1988. And this comes around, and maybe at some point it may be time to do it. But as you can see from this meeting, the public sentiment is not such that people really want to embrace this. As far as the services and things they talked about, in all the time I’ve been here I’ve never needed more police coverage, fore coverage or anything of those things. So in fact, quite frankly I don’t think there is an issue. I think it’s one of these solutions looking for a problem.”
A few people at the meeting expressed a desire to use their homes in Seaview as vacation rentals, something currently illegal there, but their views were in the minority.
Officials think the idea may gain traction in coming years as the demographics of the two communities change. But from the looks of it, Seaview will keep its private character, and won’t become part of Long Beach, Washington, anytime soon. I’m Joanne Rideout reporting. [Crowd sounds under narration]