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Published on Monday, February 4, 2013

SSB 5013 disrupts annexation methods in place for almost 70 years

Opposed by AWC, SSB 5013 moved out of the Senate Governmental Operations Committee and is in the Rules Committee where it could be moved to the Senate floor for a vote. Concerned cities need to contact your Senator(s) and express opposition.

As originally introduced, it would have required a public vote on any annexation – whether or not owners of the land wanted annexation. It included lands owned for municipal purposes and federal lands.

The most typical annexation is when an owner requests city utility services on small parcels next to or near the city so it can be developed. This is known as the petition method. Cities extend the utilities if the owner agrees to annexation. If owners representing at least 60% of an unincorporated area’s assessed valuation agree and the lands are contiguous, they can be annexed.

With this bill as amended, the petition method, relied upon by cities to foster efficient use of land and extension of utilities since 1945, would be abolished. In its place, petitions and legal pre-annexation agreements would only be valid if agreed to by a majority of voters residing on the land – whether or not they owned it and regardless of pre-existing utility extension agreements that had allowed the lands to develop in the first place.