'Donut Hole' neighbors win latest court battle

PASCO, Wash. -- Neighbors in the Franklin County "Donut Hole" have been working for months to stop their property from being annexed. And a ruling from Superior Court will now allow their case to be heard.

Most recently, "Donut Hole" residents filed a court motion seeking an injunction to stop Pasco from annexing Area 2. In response, Pasco had filed a motion to dismiss. On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Carrie Runge denied the city's request.

It means neighbors will now have the opportunity to have their entire case heard by the court.

Roger Lenk, who heads the Citizens for Lifestyle Preservation, says he is thrilled with the decision.

"This is a big win for us and those of us in Riverview. Our case is still alive, and we look forward to finally being able to present our full case."

The next step is to have the court review the controversial utility agreements the city is using as its basis for taking over Area 2. Many neighbors complained those agreements shouldn't be used, because they weren't voluntary. In order to get water to their homes, residents had to sign them, ultimately giving legal approval for annexation in the future.

Pasco says such utility agreements are common practice across the state.

It will now be up to a judge to hear both sides of the argument. Area 2 is set to be assumed into Pasco city limits on January 1st.