Nearing the deadline for proposals to be approved in the Legislature, the Washington State Senate today approved a measure that would amend state Growth Management Act requirements for a local municipality to annex land within its boundaries. The change would allow the City of Maple Valley to annex a "doughnut hole" property – a parcel completely surrounded by city boundaries.

"This is a common-sense improvement to our state’s land-use policies that will serve Maple Valley residents and city staff well," said Sen. Joe Fain, who serves the 47th Legislative District and co-sponsored the measure. "By updating the rules concerning the land area that can be absorbed by the city, we are providing long-term planning stability and local control of its use to the surrounding community."

Cities may annex areas completely within their boundaries up to 100 acres; the bill would increase that to 175 acres, enough to cover the 156-acre parcel in question in Maple Valley’s south end.

"Having clarity on the issue will allow Maple Valley to make better plans for future growth in the area," said Sen. Mark Mullet, who sponsored the measure and represents the 5th District that includes Maple Valley. "The city and Tahoma School District have had extensive discussions on a joint vision for the land and I’m pleased we were able to help move forward with making that a reality."

The bill has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.