The State of Washington provides that annexation may occur by one of three methods: petition, election, or resolution. The petition method is typically the means by which property owners can request to be annexed to the City.

The typical steps involved in a Petition Annexation process would be as follows:
  1. The initiating parties must present to the City Council a notice of their intention to commence annexation proceedings in writing, signed by the owners of not less than 10% in assessed value of the property sought for annexation. (Upon receipt of a letter, the Community Development Department will prepare a 10% petition with a list of the property owners to be included within the annexation.)
  2. The City Council must set a date within 60 days after having received such notice for a meeting with the initiating parties to determine:
    1. If the City will accept the annexation;
    2. If the City will require simultaneous adoption of proposed zoning regulations;
    3. If the City will require that the area proposed for annexation to assume all or any portion of the existing city indebtedness;
    4. If the City will reject or geographically modify the proposed annexation area.
If the City Council agrees to accept the area for annexation, then the initiating parties must again obtain the signatures on the Petition for Annexation of the owners of the majority of the assessed value of the property sought for annexation. The petition for annexation may also be signed by the majority of the registered voters residing in the area for which annexation is petitioned. The petition for annexation is filed with the City Council. If the signatures are found to be sufficient, the City Council then sets a public hearing and notice thereof is to be given to all interested parties. At the hearing, the City Council may vote to annex the property subject to the approval by the Cowlitz County Boundary Review Board.

At this point, the City submits the annexation proposal to the Cowlitz County Boundary Review Board. The purpose of the Boundary Review Board is to approve, disapprove or modify proposed actions pertaining to the change in the boundary of a city, and the assumption by a city of any part of the assets, facilities or debts of a special purpose district.

The objectives of the Boundary Review Board, pursuant to RCW 36.93.180, are to achieve the following:
  1. Preservation of natural neighborhoods and communities;
  2. Use of physical boundaries, including but not limited to, bodies of water, highways, and land contours;
  3. Creation and preservation of logical service areas;
  4. Prevention of abnormally irregular boundaries;
  5. Discouragement of multiple incorporations of small cities and encouragement of incorporation of cities in excess of 10,000 population in heavily populated urban areas;
  6. Dissolution of inactive special purpose districts;
  7. Adjustment of impractical boundaries;
  8. Incorporation as cities or towns or annexation to cities or towns of unincorporated areas which are urban in character;
  9. Protection of agricultural and rural lands which are designated for long-term productive agricultural and resource use by a comprehensive plan adopted by the county legislative authority.

The Boundary Review Board will render its decision on the petition for annexation within 45 days of receiving it. The Boundary Review Board may require conditions of approval be adopted by the City prior to accepting the annexation petition.

Contact Community Development Department at 360-442-5086 for more information.

Last updated: 4/11/2013 12:17:55 PM