Methods of Annexation

Election (Initiated by Residents)
  • Annexation is initiated by a petition signed by 20 percent of the number of voters living in the area to be annexed who voted in the last election.
  • Then, a formal election is held where registered voters in the proposed annexation area vote on the annexation.
     
Election (Initiated by City of Vancouver)
  •  Annexation is initiated by City Council resolution.
  •  Then, a formal election is held where registered voters in the proposed annexation area vote on the annexation.
     
Sixty Percent Petition
  • This is the most frequently used method of annexation in first and second class cities and in towns.
  • This method requires a petition of the owners of at least 60 percent of the property value in the area, which is computed according to the assessed valuation of the property in the proposed annexation area for general taxation purposes.
     
Annexing for Municipal Purposes
  •  A first or second class city may, by a majority vote of the council, annex territory outside its limits for any municipal purpose (and private purpose with 100% support). This may be done regardless of whether the territory is contiguous or noncontiguous.
  •  A condition of this method of annexation is that either the property to be annexed must be owned by the city or town OR all of the owners of the property must give their written consent to the annexation.
  •  The annexation requires enactment of an ordinance by majority vote of the City Council.
  •  This method is appropriate for annexing city or town parks, cemeteries, and for other municipal purposes.
     
Federally-Owned Areas
  • A first class city may annex any contiguous federally-owned area which the federal government has given, granted, or leased to the city or over which the federal government has ceded jurisdiction, giving the city the right to occupy or control it.
  •  The city must by ordinance “accept” the gift, grant, lease, or cessation of jurisdiction.
     
Unincorporated Islands
  • When there is an unincorporated area (1) containing less than 100 acres of which at least 80 percent of the boundaries are contiguous to a code city or, (2) of any size and having at least 80 percent of the boundaries contiguous to a code city if the area existed before June 30, 1994, is within the same county and urban growth area designated under RCW 36.70A.110, and the city was planning under the Growth Management Act as of June 30, 1994, the City Council may initiate annexation proceedings by resolution.
  •  Annexation by this method is potentially subject to a referendum election within the unincorporated territory.
     
Boundary Line Adjustments
  • Existing or proposed city boundary lines can be adjusted to avoid a situation where a common boundary line is or would be located within a right-of-way of a public street, road, or highway (RCW 35.13.300 - .340).
  • The process also applies to a situation where two cities are separated or would be separated only by the right-of-way of a public street, road, or highway, other than where a boundary line runs from one edge to the other edge of the right-of-way.
  • Boundary adjustments can also be made where a portion of a parcel of land is located partially within and partially without city boundaries.
     
Double-Majority
  •  This is Washington State's newest method of annexation (passed into law in May 2003).
  •  This method allows annexation of land on which owners or residents have circulated and submitted a petition for annexation signed by both a) owners of a simple majority of the acreage proposed for annexation AND b) a simple majority of the area’s qualified voters.