Chapter 57.24 RCW

ANNEXATION OF TERRITORY

Sections

57.24.001Actions subject to review by boundary review board.
57.24.010Annexation authorizedPetitionNotice of hearing.
57.24.020Hearing procedureBoundariesElection, notice, judges.
57.24.040ElectionQualification of voters.
57.24.050Expense of election.
57.24.060Petition method is alternative to election method.
57.24.070Petition methodPetitionSignersContentCertain public properties excluded from local improvement districts.
57.24.080Petition methodHearingNotice.
57.24.090Petition methodResolution providing for annexation.
57.24.100Petition methodEffective date of annexationPrior indebtedness.
57.24.170Annexation of certain unincorporated territoryAuthorizedHearing.
57.24.180Annexation of certain unincorporated territoryOpportunity to be heardEffective date of annexation resolutionNoticeReferendum.
57.24.190Annexation of certain unincorporated territoryReferendum authorizedPetitionElectionEffective date of annexation.
57.24.200Expenditure of funds to provide certain information authorizedLimits.
57.24.210Annexation of certain unincorporated territory with boundaries contiguous to two municipal corporations providing water or sewer serviceProcedure.
57.24.220Assumption of substandard water systemLimited immunity from liability.
57.24.230Annexation of territory within citiesAuthorizedProcess.
57.24.240Annexation of territory within citiesHearing procedureElection notice.
57.24.250Annexation of territory within citiesElection.
57.24.260Annexation of territory within citiesAlternative method.


Actions subject to review by boundary review board.

Actions taken under this chapter may be subject to potential review by a boundary review board under chapter 36.93 RCW.

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Annexation authorizedPetitionNotice of hearing.

Territory within the county or counties in which a district is located, or territory adjoining or in close proximity to a district but which is located in another county, may be annexed to and become a part of the district. All annexations shall be accomplished in the following manner: Ten percent of the number of registered voters residing in the territory proposed to be annexed who voted in the last municipal general election may file a petition with the district commissioners and cause the question to be submitted to the voters of the territory whether such territory will be annexed and become a part of the district. If the commissioners concur in the petition, they shall file it with the county auditor of the county in which all or the largest geographic portion of the real property proposed to be annexed is located, who shall, within ten days, examine the signatures thereon and certify to the sufficiency or insufficiency thereof. If the area proposed to be annexed is located in more than one county, the auditor of the county in which the largest geographic portion of the area proposed to be annexed is located shall be the lead auditor and shall immediately transfer a copy of the petitions to the auditor of each other county in which the area proposed to be annexed is located. Within ten days after the lead auditor received the petition, the auditors of these other counties shall certify to the lead auditor: (1) The number of voters of that county residing in the area proposed to be annexed who voted at the last municipal general election; and (2) the number of valid signatures on the petition of voters of that county residing in the area proposed to be annexed. The lead auditor shall certify the sufficiency of the petition after receiving this information. If the petition contains a sufficient number of valid signatures, the lead county auditor shall transmit it, together with a certificate of sufficiency attached thereto, to the commissioners of the district.
If there are no registered voters residing in the territory to be annexed, the petition may be signed by such a number as appear of record to own at least a majority of the acreage in the territory, and the petition shall disclose the total number of acres of land in the territory and the names of all record owners of land therein. If the commissioners are satisfied as to the sufficiency of the petition and concur therein, they shall send it, together with their certificate of concurrence attached thereto to the county legislative authority of each county in which the territory proposed to be annexed is located.
The county legislative authority, upon receipt of a petition certified to contain a sufficient number of signatures of registered voters, or upon receipt of a petition signed by such a number as own at least a majority of the acreage, together with a certificate of concurrence signed by the commissioners, at a regular or special meeting shall cause to be published once a week for at least two weeks in a newspaper in general circulation throughout the territory proposed to be annexed a notice that the petition has been filed, stating the time of the meeting at which it shall be presented, and setting forth the boundaries of the territory proposed to be annexed.
[ 1996 c 230 § 902; 1990 c 259 § 31; 1989 c 308 § 4; 1988 c 162 § 14; 1982 1st ex.s. c 17 § 21; 1959 c 18 § 15. Prior: 1951 2nd ex.s. c 25 § 5; 1931 c 72 § 5, part; 1929 c 114 § 15, part; RRS § 11593, part. Cf. 1913 c 161 § 15, part.]

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Hearing procedureBoundariesElection, notice, judges.

When such petition is presented for hearing, the legislative authority of each county in which the territory proposed to be annexed is located shall hear the petition or may adjourn the hearing from time to time not exceeding one month in all, and any person, firm, or corporation may appear before the county legislative authority and make objections to the proposed boundary lines or to annexation of the territory described in the petition. Upon a final hearing each county legislative authority shall make such changes in the proposed boundary lines within the county as it deems to be proper and shall establish and define such boundaries and shall find whether the proposed annexation as established by the county legislative authority to the district will be conducive to the public health, welfare and convenience and will be of special benefit to the land included within the boundaries of the territory proposed to be annexed to the district. No lands which will not, in the judgment of the county legislative authority, be benefited by inclusion therein, shall be included within the boundaries of the territory as so established and defined. No change shall be made by the county legislative authority in the boundary lines, including any territory outside of the boundary lines described in the petition. No person having signed such petition shall be allowed to withdraw such person's name therefrom after the filing of the petition with the board of commissioners.
Upon the entry of the findings of the final hearing each county legislative authority, if it finds the proposed annexation to be conducive to the public health, welfare, and convenience and to be of special benefit to the land proposed to be annexed and included within the boundaries of the district, shall give notice of a special election to be held within the boundaries of the territory proposed to be annexed to the district for the purpose of determining whether the same shall be annexed to the district. The notice shall particularly describe the boundaries established by the county legislative authority, and shall state the name of the district to which the territory is proposed to be annexed, and the notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the territory proposed to be annexed at least once a week for a minimum of two successive weeks prior to the election and shall be posted for the same period in at least four public places within the boundaries of the territory proposed to be annexed, which notice shall designate the places within the territory proposed to be annexed where the election shall be held, and the proposition to the voters shall be expressed on ballots which contain the words:
For Annexation to District
or
Against Annexation to District
The county legislative authority shall name the persons to act as judges at that election.

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



ElectionQualification of voters.

(1) The annexation election shall be held on the date designated in the notice and shall be conducted in accordance with the general election laws of the state. If the original petition for annexation is signed by qualified voters, then only qualified voters at the date of election residing in the territory proposed to be annexed, shall be permitted to vote at the election.
(2) If the original petition for annexation is signed by property owners as provided for in this chapter, then no person shall be entitled to vote at that election unless at the time of the filing of the original petition he or she owned land in the district of record and in addition thereto at the date of election shall be a qualified voter of the county in which such district is located. It shall be the duty of the county auditor, upon request of the county legislative authority, to certify the names of all persons owning land in the district at the date of the filing of the original petition as shown by the records of the auditor's office; and at any such election the county auditor may require any such property owner offering to vote to take an oath that the property owner is a qualified voter of the county before the property owner shall be allowed to vote. However, at any election held under the provisions of this chapter an officer or agent of any corporation having its principal place of business in the county and owning land at the date of filing the original petition in the district duly authorized in writing may cast a vote on behalf of such corporation. When so voting the person shall file with the county auditor such a written instrument of that person's authority.
(3) If the majority of the votes cast upon the question of such election shall be for annexation, then the territory concerned shall immediately be and become annexed to such district and the same shall then forthwith be a part of the district, the same as though originally included in that district.

NOTES:

Part headings not law1999 c 153: See note following RCW 57.04.050.
Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Expense of election.

All elections held pursuant to this chapter, whether general or special, shall be conducted by the county auditor of the county in which the district is located. The expense of all such elections shall be paid for out of the funds of such district.

NOTES:

Part headings not law1999 c 153: See note following RCW 57.04.050.
Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Petition method is alternative to election method.

The method of annexation provided for in RCW 57.24.070 through 57.24.100 shall be an alternative method to that specified in RCW 57.24.010 through 57.24.050.



Petition methodPetitionSignersContentCertain public properties excluded from local improvement districts.

As an alternative method of annexation, a petition for annexation of an area contiguous to a district may be made in writing, addressed to and filed with the board of commissioners of the district to which annexation is desired. It must be signed by the owners, according to the records of the county auditor, of not less than sixty percent of the area of land for which annexation is petitioned, excluding county and state rights-of-way, parks, tidelands, lakes, retention ponds, and stream and water courses. Additionally, the petition shall set forth a description of the property according to government legal subdivisions or legal plats, and shall be accompanied by a plat which outlines the boundaries of the property sought to be annexed. Those county and state properties shall be excluded from local improvement districts or utility local improvement districts in the annexed area and from special assessments, rates, or charges of the district except where service has been regulated and provided to such properties. The owners of such property shall be invited to be included within local improvement districts or utility local improvement districts at the time they are proposed for formation.

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Petition methodHearingNotice.

If the petition for annexation filed with the board of commissioners complies with the requirements of law, as proved to the satisfaction of the board of commissioners, it may entertain the petition, fix the date for public hearing thereon, and cause notice of the hearing to be published in one issue of a newspaper of general circulation in the area proposed to be annexed and also posted in three public places within the area proposed for annexation. The notice shall specify the time and place of hearing and invite interested persons to appear and voice approval or disapproval of the annexation. The expense of publication and posting of the notice shall be borne by the signers of the petition.



Petition methodResolution providing for annexation.

Following the hearing the board of commissioners shall determine by resolution whether annexation shall be made. It may annex all or any portion of the proposed area but may not include in the annexation any property not described in the petition. Upon passage of the resolution a certified copy shall be filed with the legislative authority of the county in which the annexed property is located.

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Petition methodEffective date of annexationPrior indebtedness.

Upon the date fixed in the resolution the area annexed shall become a part of the district.
No property within the limits of the territory so annexed shall ever be taxed or assessed to pay any portion of the indebtedness of the district to which it is annexed contracted prior to or existing at the date of annexation; nor shall any such property be released from any taxes or assessments levied against it or from liability for payment of outstanding bonds or warrants issued prior to such annexation.



Annexation of certain unincorporated territoryAuthorizedHearing.

When there is, within a district, unincorporated territory containing less than one hundred acres and having at least eighty percent of the boundaries of such area contiguous to the district, the board of commissioners may resolve to annex that territory to the district. The resolution shall describe the boundaries of the area to be annexed, state the number of voters residing therein as nearly as may be, and set a date for a public hearing on such resolution for annexation. Notice of the hearing shall be given by publication of the resolution at least once a week for two weeks prior to the date of the hearing, in one or more newspapers of general circulation within the district and one or more newspapers of general circulation within the area to be annexed.

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Annexation of certain unincorporated territoryOpportunity to be heardEffective date of annexation resolutionNoticeReferendum.

On the date set for hearing under RCW 57.24.170, residents or property owners of the area included in the resolution for annexation shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard. The board of commissioners may provide by resolution for annexation of the territory described in the resolution, but the effective date of the resolution shall be not less than forty-five days after the passage thereof. The board of commissioners shall cause notice of the proposed effective date of the annexation, together with a description of the property to be annexed, to be published at least once each week for two weeks subsequent to passage of the resolution, in one or more newspapers of general circulation within the district and in one or more newspapers of general circulation within the area to be annexed. Upon the filing of a timely and sufficient referendum petition under RCW 57.24.190, a referendum election shall be held under RCW 57.24.190, and the annexation shall be deemed approved by the voters unless a majority of the votes cast on the proposition are in opposition thereto. After the expiration of the forty-fifth day from but excluding the date of passage of the annexation resolution, if no timely and sufficient referendum petition has been filed, under RCW 57.24.190, the area annexed shall become a part of the district upon the date fixed in the resolution of annexation.

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Annexation of certain unincorporated territoryReferendum authorizedPetitionElectionEffective date of annexation.

The annexation resolution under RCW 57.24.180 shall be subject to referendum for forty-five days after the passage thereof. Upon the filing of a timely and sufficient referendum petition with the board of commissioners, signed by registered voters in number equal to not less than ten percent of the registered voters in the area to be annexed who voted in the last municipal general election, the question of annexation shall be submitted to the voters of such area in a general election if one is to be held within ninety days or at a special election called for that purpose by the board of commissioners in accordance with RCW 29A.04.321 and 29A.04.330. Notice of that election shall be given under RCW 57.24.020 and the election shall be conducted under RCW 57.24.040. The annexation shall be deemed approved by the voters unless a majority of the votes cast on the proposition are in opposition thereto.
After the expiration of the forty-fifth day from but excluding the date of passage of the annexation resolution, if no timely and sufficient referendum petition has been filed, the area annexed shall become a part of the district upon the date fixed in the resolution of annexation upon transmitting the resolution to the county legislative authority.

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Expenditure of funds to provide certain information authorizedLimits.

A district may expend funds to inform residents in areas proposed for annexation into the district of the following:
(1) Technical information and data;
(2) The fiscal impact of the proposed improvement; and
(3) The types of improvements planned.
Expenditures under this section shall be limited to research, preparation, printing, and mailing of the information.

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Annexation of certain unincorporated territory with boundaries contiguous to two municipal corporations providing water or sewer serviceProcedure.

When there is unincorporated territory containing less than one hundred acres and having at least eighty percent of the boundaries of such area contiguous to two municipal corporations providing either water or sewer service, one of which is a water-sewer district, the legislative authority of either of the contiguous municipal corporations may resolve to annex such territory to that municipal corporation, provided a majority of the legislative authority of the other contiguous municipal corporation concurs. In such event, the municipal corporation resolving to annex such territory may proceed to effect the annexation by complying with RCW 57.24.170 through 57.24.190. For purposes of this section, "municipal corporation" means a water-sewer district, city, or town.

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.



Assumption of substandard water systemLimited immunity from liability.

A district assuming responsibility for a water system that is not in compliance with state or federal requirements for public drinking water systems, and its agents and employees, are immune from lawsuits or causes of action, based on noncompliance with state or federal requirements for public drinking water systems, which predate the date of assuming responsibility and continue after the date of assuming responsibility, provided that the district has submitted and is complying with a plan and schedule of improvements approved by the department of health. This immunity shall expire on the earlier of the date the plan of improvements is completed or four years from the date of assuming responsibility. This immunity does not apply to intentional injuries, fraud, or bad faith.

NOTES:

Part headings not lawEffective date1996 c 230: See notes following RCW 57.02.001.
FindingsIntent1994 c 292: See note following RCW 57.04.050.



Annexation of territory within citiesAuthorizedProcess.

(1) If a district acquires either water facilities or sewer facilities, or both from a city, and the district and the city within which the facilities are located enter into an agreement stating that the district will seek annexation of territory within that city, the district commissioners may initiate a process for the annexation of such territory.
(2) The annexation process shall commence upon the adoption of a resolution by the commissioners calling for the question of annexation to be submitted to the voters of the territory proposed for annexation and setting forth the boundaries thereof. The resolution must be filed with the county legislative authority of each county in which the territory proposed for annexation is located.
(3) Upon receipt of the resolution, the county legislative authority shall cause a hearing to be held as provided in RCW 57.24.240.



Annexation of territory within citiesHearing procedureElection notice.

(1) If a resolution calling for an annexation election as provided in RCW 57.24.230 is presented for hearing, the legislative authority of each county in which the territory proposed for annexation is located shall hear the resolution or may adjourn and reconvene the hearing as deemed necessary for its purposes. The hearing, however, may not exceed four weeks in duration. Any person, firm, or corporation may appear before the legislative authority or authorities and make objections to the proposed boundary lines or to annexation of the territory described in the resolution.
(2) Upon a final hearing, each county legislative authority may make changes to the proposed boundary lines within the county as it deems proper and shall formally establish and define the boundaries. Each legislative authority also shall find whether the proposed annexation will be conducive to the public health, welfare, and convenience and whether it will be of special benefit to the land included within the boundaries of the proposed annexation. No lands that will not, in the judgment of the legislative authority, benefit by inclusion therein, may be included within the boundaries of the territory as established and defined. The legislative authority may not include within the territory proposed for annexation any territory outside of the boundary lines described in the resolution adopted by the district under RCW 57.24.230(2).
(3) Upon the entry of the findings of the final hearing, each county legislative authority, if it finds the proposed annexation satisfies the requirements of subsection (2) of this section, shall give notice of a special election to be held within the boundaries of the territory proposed for annexation for the purpose of determining whether the same shall be annexed to the district. The notice shall:
(a) Describe the boundaries established by the legislative authority;
(b) State the name of the district to which the territory is proposed to be annexed;
(c) Be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the territory proposed for annexation at least once a week for a minimum of two successive weeks prior to the election;
(d) Be posted for the same period in at least four public places within the boundaries of the territory proposed for annexation; and
(e) Designate the places within the territory proposed for annexation where the election shall be held.
(4) The proposition to the voters shall be expressed on ballots containing the words:
For Annexation to District
or
Against Annexation to District
The county legislative authority shall name the persons to act as judges at that election.



Annexation of territory within citiesElection.

(1) The annexation election shall be held on the date designated in the notice and shall be conducted in accordance with the general election laws of the state. Qualified voters residing within the territory proposed for annexation shall be permitted to vote at the election.
(2) If the majority of the votes cast upon the question of such election are for annexation, the territory concerned shall immediately be deemed annexed to the district and the same shall then forthwith be a part of the district, the same as though originally included in that district.



Annexation of territory within citiesAlternative method.

The method of annexation provided for in RCW 57.24.230 through 57.24.250 is an alternative method and is additional to other methods provided for in this chapter.