What is an annexation?

Annexation is the process to add unincorporated areas into the City limits. Areas for annexation must be adjacent to existing City limits and meet criteria established by State law. Only territory within the urban growth area may be annexed by a City. Rural areas cannot be annexed.

Click here to see a map of the City's annexation history.

Annexations can be done by petition of property owners, a vote by registered voters, or a petition of voters and property owners. If the City Council accepts the annexation, the proposal can proceed under either the petition method or the election process. The petition method is the most common, and can be initiated by any property owner within the area in question.

Generally the level of service increases with annexation into a City. Snohomish is a full-service city government, providing police, water and sewer utilities, parks, land use planning, and building permit services.

What is the petition process?

Essentially, property owners sign a petition asking to be annexed. It starts with a petition to the City Council with signatures of property owners representing 10% of the assessed value of the area in question. The Council meets with the petitioners in a public meeting and decides whether or not to move forward.

The petitioners must then gather signatures representing 60% of the assessed value of the area. Once this is submitted the City Council holds a public hearing, listens to both proponents and opponents of the annexation, assesses the merits (costs, benefits, the ability to provide services, etc.), and, if they wish to continue, passes a resolution expressing their intent to annex the area.

This resolution then goes to the Snohomish County Boundary Review Board (BRB) for review. The BRB advertises the annexation and waits 45 days for anyone with standing to request a public hearing. If a hearing is requested, the BRB holds one and then decides whether the annexation meets their criteria for approval. If so, they approve the annexation; if not, annexation is denied.

If it is approved the City Council then passes an ordinance to effect the annexation (though up until this point they can still decide not to annex). The annexation becomes effective five days after publication of the ordinance or as otherwise set.

How do I initiate an annexation to the City?

Annexation applications must include a Land Use Application, a petition signed by property owners representing 10% of the value of the area, a map and legal description of the area, and a list of property owners. Contact Planning & Development Services at 360-568-3115 with questions about the forms, and for additional information.

Relevant links:
Snohomish County Boundary Review Board
RCW 35A.14