Annexation is a procedure for bringing unincorporated areas into a city or additional service areas into a special purpose district. An annexation area is usually adjacent to an incorporated city or a special purpose district. Washington State law governs the procedures for annexation. The Annexation Handbook for Cities and Towns in Washington State, Report No. 19, is on file with the Municipal Research and Services Center and provides information on the annexation process.
Five Methods of Annexation
Annexations may be accomplished through a variety of ways, including the five common methods: election, direct petition (60%), 50/50 direct petition, annexation of small unincorporated islands, and annexation by interlocal agreement. Once an area is annexed to a city, the city replaces the county as the primary provider of local government and urban services (e.g., police, animal control, zoning and land use, etc.). Once an area is annexed to a district, the district replaces the current provider with a specific service (e.g., sewer, water, fire, etc.).
Annexation-Related Interlocal Agreements (ILAs)
An interlocal agreement is a common method for neighboring jurisdictions to cooperate with one another. For the purposes of annexation, an interlocal agreement can be used to draft the procedure of an annexation and to draft an agreement for transition of services or governmental activities such as road maintenance, fire protection services, law enforcement services, court services, or emergency dispatch services. Snohomish County has several existing annexation-related interlocal agreements with individual cities.