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AGLO 1970 No. 53 -
Attorney General Slade Gorton

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                                                                  March 31, 1970
Honorable James P. McNally
Prosecuting Attorney
Pend Oreille County
Newport, Washington 99156
                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1970 No. 53
Dear Sir:
            By letter dated March 26, 1970, you requested our interpretation of the word "inhabitants" as contained in RCW 35A.03.010.
            The statute in question authorizes "Any area of a county containing not less than three hundred inhabitants . . ." to become incorporated as a noncharter code city under the provisions of the optional municipal code.  Notably, this statutory language is identical to that of RCW 35.02.010 ‑ the long-standing statute pertaining to the incorporation of cities and towns, generally.  The term "inhabitants" under this statute, and similar statutes relating to the incorporation of previously unincorporated areas as third, second, or first class cities, simply means the population of the area to be incorporated ‑ determined in the usual manner of ascertaining the population of any geographic area.  See, State ex rel. Stephens v. Odell, 61 Wn.2d 476, 378 P.2d 932 (1963).  Therefore, most certainly, if an area desiring to be incorporated has a population, according to the latest census, of at least three hundred inhabitants, it would qualify for incorporation ‑ either under RCW 35.02.010 or (if it is to be incorporated under the optional municipal code) under RCW 35A.03.010, to which you have referred.
            We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
Philip H. Austin
Assistant Attorney General