Frequently Asked Questions - Annexation
Thank you for visiting the Annexation Frequently Asked Questions page. The aim of the FAQs is to provide clear and timely information to residents, business owners and property owners in the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Urban Growth Area. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please feel free to contact staff directly (see contact information at the end of this page).
How will annexation impact me financially?
The financial impacts of annexation are unique for each property, and depend on several factors, including what services the residents of that property currently use. For information on a specific property, please visit the Annexation Analyzer. The Analyzer allows users to select their service providers and current use levels, and provides a real time estimate of the impacts of annexation. www.cityofvancouver.us/annexationanalyzer
Will my property taxes increase as a result of annexation?
No. Property taxes will decrease following annexation, because the City has a lower millage rate than the County. Property taxes are determined by multiplying the property value by the applicable millage rate. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 that is used to calculate taxes on a property. Please see the Annexation Analyzer to calculate the impact on your specific property- www.cityofvancouver.us/annexationanalyzer
Will my property still qualify for various property tax reduction/exemption programs that I currently rely on?
Yes. The senior and disabled citizen property tax programs are available statewide and will continue to apply following annexation. Other property tax programs such as forestry, open space and agriculture will also continue to apply under the same parameters following annexation.
Will my utility bills increase following annexation?
The impact of annexation on your utility bills depends on what services you already receive and who provides them.
- If the City currently provides your water and sewer service, your utility bill will decrease because base rates for City-provided water and sewer services are lower inside the City than outside of it.
- Rates for customers who receive their water service from Clark Public Utility District or sewer service from Clark Regional Wastewater District will generally stay the same, because the City utility tax does not currently apply to these providers.
- Upon annexation, a utility tax of 6 percent will apply to your electricity, natural gas and telephone bills.
- Upon annexation, residents will be required to pay a monthly fee of $8.79 (2016 rate) for stormwater drainage. Non-residential customers also pay a similar stormwater fee based on the amount of impervious area associated with their property.
- City residents are required to have a subscription to garbage and recycling service. Yard debris recycling is also included as an optional service.
- Please see the Annexation Analyzer to calculate the impact for your specific property- www.cityofvancouver.us/annexationanalyzer
Will I be required to hook up to public water and/or sewer?
No. You can continue to use a septic system and/or well after annexation. Continued use of an existing septic system is allowed unless there is a system failure and a determination is made by the Clark County Public Health District that connection to a public sewer system is required. If you are interested in connecting to the City’s sewer system, you can utilize the City’s Sewer Connection Incentive Program (SCIP) to assist you with doing so. To learn more about SCIP, call (360) 487-7130.
If I already receive public sewer and/or water, will I have to change my service provider?
No, your service provider will not change due to annexation.
If there is a sewer and/or water line in the street in front of my property and I am not currently using these public services, will I have to pay a fee?
No. Your property will not be charged for water or sewer service unless it is connected to the public system.
Will I be required to pay for garbage service?
Yes. A subscription to garbage and recycling service is required for all residents in the City of Vancouver. You may choose from many different service levels to suit your needs and budget. Waste Connections will continue to be your service provider, but your rates will change. Please see the Annexation Analyzer to calculate the impact for your specific property- www.cityofvancouver.us/annexationanalyzer
Is Comcast considered a utility for taxing purpose (for high speed internet and cable TV)?
No, not for taxing purposes. Comcast is a utility, but the City collects a franchise fee from Comcast on a quarterly basis in lieu of a utility tax.
Will my fire and emergency medical service provider change?
It depends on what fire district you are currently located in. If you are located in the Fire District 5 service area, then you are already being served by the City of Vancouver. If you are located in the service area of Fire District 3 or 6, your fire service provider will change to the City of Vancouver.
Will my car and home insurance go up because of annexation?
No. Most carriers base auto insurance rates on zip codes, and homeowner insurance rates are based on factors unrelated to annexation.
Will the sales tax rate increase in areas that are annexed?
No. Businesses in the City and County both currently apply an 8.4% sales tax rate.
Will the Port of Vancouver District be impacted by annexation?
No. Similar to school and library districts, the Port District is a separate taxing district that currently includes land located in both the City and County. Annexation will not change taxes paid to the Port District.
Will my child have to change schools?
No. School district boundaries are independent of city boundaries and will not change as a result of annexation.
How do I become part of a neighborhood association after annexation?
Upon annexation, the City will work with all newly annexed residents to establish city neighborhood associations. Neighborhood associations are private organizations, established and maintained by the residents of the neighborhood, and recognized by City Council. In neighborhood associations, residents work together to develop solutions for shared challenges. The City provides support to its recognized neighborhood associations in order to create a strong sense of community in Vancouver. For additional questions about neighborhood associations, please contact Judi Bailey, Neighborhoods Coordinator, at (360) 487-8608 or email@example.com.
Will my voice in local government change?
Yes. You will be able to vote in City elections, including elections for City Councilmembers. The Vancouver City Council has seven members, including a mayor. They are elected from the city at-large and serve four-year terms. Vancouver citizens are eligible to serve on City Council or sit on one of its 22 boards and commissions. You will continue to vote for County Councilors based on the district in which you live, and voting in state and federal elections will not change based on annexation. For more information about the Vancouver City Council, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/citycouncil.
Will my zoning change?
Following annexation, the City will assign the same or most similar zoning designation to what currently exists in Clark County. For example, a single-family residential zone with a 6,000 s.f. minimum lot size (R1-6 zone) in the County will be converted to a single-family residential zone with a minimum lot size of 5,000 s.f. and a maximum lot size of 7,400 s.f. (R-9) in the City. A General Commercial (CG) zone in the County will be converted to a General Commercial (CG) zone in the City.
Will I have to get rid of my farm animals or livestock?
No. Current legal uses will be allowed to continue in the manner that it exists at the time of annexation. See Vancouver Municipal Code, Non-Conforming Use, Section 20.930.030-C.
Will I have to go through the City’s permit process if I’ve already requested a permit from the County?
No. The City and County work together to ensure that land use applications that are currently being reviewed by the County will transition smoothly to the City. Projects currently vested to the County’s standards will not have to conform to the City’s standards, unless there is a change to the original proposal.
How do I address a code enforcement issue after annexation?
Uses that are legally established in the County can continue in the City after annexation. If and when an established use changes, it will be required to conform to City standards. In addition, existing uses that are not legally permitted in the County will be required to conform to City standards after annexation. City code enforcement, like the County, is complaint-driven. After annexation, please direct code enforcement questions or complaints to the City’s Code Enforcement Department: (360) 487-7810 or visit http://www.cityofvancouver.us/ced/webform/file-code-compliance-complaint.
Will my street be improved after annexation?
With more than 1,810 lanes miles of paved streets, the City of Vancouver utilizes an extensive process to identify and prioritize safety, capacity and pavement preservation needs. In late 2015, the City adopted a long-term strategy to help provide the resources needed to take care of our City’s streets system. These additional funds will ramp up over time to provide increased maintenance and improvements citywide. Upon completion of an annexation, the City will evaluate each of the public streets within the annexation area to determine pavement condition and consider whether major capital reconstruction will be needed. Each street will be prioritized and incorporated into the City’s maintenance and pavement preservation program. Future capital street improvements will be identified and incorporated into the City’s transportation improvement program. You can obtain more information about the City’s transportation improvement program by visiting http://www.cityofvancouver.us/publicworks/page/transportation-improvement-program .
Will I get sidewalks or have existing sidewalks improved after annexation?
The City values the role sidewalks play in providing safe and enhanced walkability throughout the neighborhoods and business districts. The City is currently in the process of reviewing sidewalk and mobility needs throughout the City, and identifying potential resources to address them. Following annexation, the City will evaluate each of the public streets within the annexation area to determine the need for sidewalk and other pedestrian mobility improvements. The needs for each street will be prioritized and incorporated into the City’s pedestrian improvement programs.
If I want to develop my property after annexation, will my traffic impact fees change?
Areas annexed into the City will be incorporated into the City’s existing Traffic Impact Fee (TIF) program. Depending on the location of the annexation, the annexed area will be added to one of three different TIF areas, each with its own established fee. You can obtain more information about the City’s TIF program by visiting http://www.cityofvancouver.us/publicworks/page/traffic-impact-fees.
If I have a security alarm system in my home or place of business, do I need to register with the City of Vancouver?
Yes. All security alarm owners must register the alarm and obtain a permit through the Vancouver Police Alarm Unit. Alarm users are asked to register within 30-days of annexation to avoid administrative sanctions. Alarm permits are $20 annually unless you qualify for age (62+) or economic exemption. If you currently have an alarm permit through the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, you are encouraged to cancel the permit at the time of annexation by calling (360) 397-2127. Please direct any security alarm ordinance and registration questions to the Vancouver Police Alarm Unit at 360-487-7403 or visit http://www.cityofvancouver.us/police/page/false-alarm-reduction-program for more information.
Will I be required to get a City of Vancouver Business License?
Yes. The City of Vancouver requires all firms that conduct business in the City to hold a valid City business license or claim an exemption, if qualified. Exemptions are available to qualified businesses that earn less than $12,000 in annual gross receipts. The State of Washington also has a business license requirement, and partners with the City to create a website where you can both apply for and renew the City and State license, at the same time. For more information about City business license requirements, including exemption criteria and links to the State website, please visit http://www.cityofvancouver.us/fms/page/business-and-special-licenses .
Will I be required to get a Home-Occupation Permit for my home-based business?
Any business that is using a residence within the City limits as its physical address is required to follow Home Occupation requirements. Depending on the type of business, you may need a Home Occupation Permit. For more information, contact City of Vancouver Planning staff at (360) 487-7803 or visit www.cityofvancouver.us/ced/page/home-occupation-permit.
Will the City complete a census of newly annexed areas?
Yes. Under State Law, the City is required to complete a census for each annexed area, typically within 30 days of the date of annexation.
Do the residents of the proposed annexation area get to vote on the annexation?
There are several annexation methods authorized by state law. If Council directs staff to move forward with the proposed Van Mall North Annexation, the City will utilize the Sixty Percent Petition method. This requires a petition of the owners of at least 60 percent of the property value in the proposed annexation area. This method does not require a vote.
The City has already obtained signatures from 60 percent of the proposed Van Mall North area, via utility covenants that people sign when they purchase their homes and connect to City services. Regardless of the method of annexation used, State Law requires the annexing jurisdiction to hold public hearings on any proposed annexation. Hearings are an opportunity for community members to give testimony to Council on the proposal.
The Blueprint Plan indicates that my area will be annexed next year. What is the City’s plan to move forward with future annexations?
The Annexation Blueprint Plan (2007) was an effort by the City and County to outline a sequence and timeline for annexation, in order for both jurisdictions make decisions about future budgets and service levels. After adoption, the City proceeded with the Blueprint timeline, annexing Columbia River and Section 30, and began the process of annexing Van Mall North just prior to the start of the economic recession. At that time, the City and County decided that annexation was not an essential service and stopped active annexations. The annexation timeline in the Blueprint Plan in intended to be flexible and responsive to current conditions. Further, the Interlocal Agreement on Annexation between the County and City is clear that deviations in timing and sequencing from the Blueprint schedule shall not constitute violations to the agreement. In January 2016, the Vancouver City Council directed staff to update the analysis of the proposed Van Mall North annexation area, which was underway when annexation work was halted due to the recession. They have not indicated if and when they will proceed with other annexations.
Please contact us if you have more questions or want to set up a public meeting or presentation for your neighborhood.
Staff Contact: Rebecca Kennedy, Economic Development Planner
firstname.lastname@example.org, (360) 487-7896
This page was last updated on October 17, 2016.