FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash.-- NBC Right Now is tracking the ongoing squabble between the City of Pasco and citizens in the doughnut hole area. This time, they're fighting over a new petition.
The City of Pasco said doughnut hole residents are spreading misleading and false information as they gather signatures for this petition.
The petition is asking for a ballot vote to de-annex a portion of the donut hole. They also want to change Pasco's form of government.
The Citizens for Lifestyle Preservation are collecting signatures, 200 so far, in hopes of getting a vote for de-annexation.
One of their biggest concerns is a possible re-zoning that could change their rural way of life. They worry commercial developments and apartments could start sprouting up.
"The zoning has to be in place to allow for that higher density. In this area there is no zoning that would allow for higher density other than single family zoning," said Stand Strebel, Deputy City Manager.
"We know that they'll be high density development. The city has told us that they plan to put 9,000 new residents in the area of the donut hole. This is their growth area. And that's what their intent is," said Roger Lenk, Citizens for Lifestyle Preservation.
The state growth management act designates urban growth areas where city leaders are supposed to plan for population expansion.
"You need to plan for the eventual urbanization of the property that is in your urban growth area. That makes sense. It's wise use of our resources," Strebel said.
The city said it's more realistic to prepare the doughnut hole area for growth than agricultural land north of the city.
Strebel said all the utility resources are already available in the areas that surround the doughnut hole.
The Citizens for Lifestyle Preservation said they'll be relentless in their fight to stop annexation and will even challenge the city's form of government if needed.
"I haven't given up in two years and I don't plan on giving up in the future. We do not want to be a part of Pasco," Lenk said.
Doughnut hole advocates hope to change the city's form of government to an elected mayor-council format, and eliminate the city manager's role.
Lenk said lots of people are signing the petition and showing support so time will tell where this back and forth will go.