Rapid development and population growth often occurs just beyond the Vancouver city limits because of the limited amount of available land for development within the City. The growth of these areas affects water quality and demand, sewage flows, traffic congestion, and the need for adequate police and fire protection. These issues cross jurisdictional lines (city, county, and special districts), where different standards and levels of service are often required, and can produce a complex system of government by multiple jurisdictions that can lead to administrative confusion, inefficiency, duplication, and excessive costs. Annexation provides a consistent level of standards and urban services and can help preserve a growing urban area as a unified whole.
Annexation ensures that each resident or business pays its fair share of the cost of providing services and that no one group subsidizes another. Currently, property owners in the UGA pay more for some services than those located within the City. Annexation also gives the citizens who use the services a voice in how they are developed and funded. That can only happen when they can vote for the City Council that sets the standards, fees and budgets.
Several benefits of annexation can't be given a dollar value. Quite a few benefits are designed to improve the 'quality of life'.
NOTE: The City of Vancouver provides sewer and water services outside the City limits with the understanding that property owners receiving these services will support annexation when the City of Vancouver is prepared to provide the additional urban services to their area. This understanding is confirmed in the Utility Service Covenants, which are required to be signed and recorded by the property owner before sewer and/or water service is provided to property located outside the City limits.
To learn more about the City of Vancouver's Annexation policies, read the Comprehensive Plan (2003-2023) Annexation Chapter.