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Published on Friday, March 1, 2013

New version of annexation bill emerges, AWC still concerned

AWC opposed SB 5013 as it passed out of the Senate Committee and as it now sits on the Senate Calendar for possible passage. It hasn't yet been brought to the floor for a vote because prime sponsor Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) has been working on amendments to try to address AWC concerns.

Sen. Benton has prepared a shorter version of the bill and did address several of our earlier concerns – we appreciate that. He has given us a short amount of time to review and get comments from cities. We've sent it to a number of them for review and encourage others to look at it here. We will soon get back to him to share policy and technical drafting concerns. Cities with concerns are asked to share them with AWC and your Senator(s).

The changes in the proposed substitute would still allow cities to annex lands by ordinance using the property-owner petition method ONLY if the area to be annexed includes land covered by a pre-annexation agreement, defined within the bill as an agreement to extend utility services in exchange for agreement for future annexation. (See Sections 2 and 3 of the amendment above.)

If lands without a pre-annexation agreement are included (such as lands between city limits and property with a pre-annexation agreement, or lands adjacent to them), annexation could only occur with voter agreement. If more than 100 voters are in the area, an election is required. If there are fewer than 100 voters, at least half must give “written consent.”

AWC remains concerned that only lands contiguous to city boundaries and with pre-annexation agreements can be annexed without a vote and no consideration is given to "logical boundary" issues often looked at by Boundary Review Boards.

For more information, or to share your concerns please contact Dave Williams or Dave Catterson.