Annexations

In Washington State, the Growth Management Act (GMA), requires counties and cities to help reduce urban sprawl by encouraging development in urban areas where adequate public facilities already exist and can be more efficiently provided. To help reduce sprawl, the GMA requires that counties, such as Snohomish County, designate urban growth areas (UGAs) or unincorporated areas that are identified for urban levels of development.

In the City of Monroe, homeowners living just outside the City, but inside its UGA, are served by Snohomish County rather than the City. In 2008, Snohomish county and the City of Monroe entered into a joint agreement to plan for annexation of the communities within Monroe’s UGA, with the goal of better supporting growing communities adjacent to the City.

What exactly is "annexation?"

Annexation is simply the process of expanding the City limits to include properties currently situated outside of the City. 

Why is the City looking into annexation?

Annexation allows long-term planning for essential public services and infrastructure.  The City of Monroe is expected to continue growing. As we grow, the City wants to be smart about long-term investments to maintain essential public services and service levels that benefit the entire community. Annexation of unincorporated areas broadens our revenue and allows us to make investments that benefit everyone. Annexation also allows us to address future service needs while providing flexibility in how we fund projects that are of high importance to the community, including police, roads, streets and parks. 

Why would someone want their property to be annexed to the City of Monroe?

  1. Better access to elected officials. 
  2. A smaller and more responsive local government. 
  3. More police officers per resident as compared to the County. 
  4. Efficient, consistent local service delivery. 
  5. Minimized development impacts to agricultural lands and open space. 
  6. Reduces urban sprawl. 

The Urban Growth Area (UGA) has been discussed a lot over the years, what exactly is it?

The UGA is the area is the area surrounding the City where urban development is to occur. This is to contain growth and prevent development from sprawling into the rural areas of the County. Part of a county’s long-range planning process involves designating, expanding, and reducing UGA boundaries, in consultation with the cities affected. UGAs should be able to accommodate the urban growth that will occur over the next 20 years. 

How is an annexation done?

The most common method used is the Petition Method of Annexation. It starts with the property owner and is based on the tax assessed value of property. Any area that is to be annexed must have property owners representing at least 60% of the tax assessed value of the area requesting annexation. A rough analogy would be that a property owner “votes” with their tax assessed value. A super majority (60%) in favor of annexation is required for the annexation to be successful. For annexation laws see RCW 35A.14.120. For information on tax assessed values, contact the Snohomish County Assessor’s Office by phone at (425) 388-3433 or online at https://snohomishcountywa.gov/5167/Assessor.

What about zoning?

Washington State law allows cities to “pre-zone” properties that are in their UGA. The zoning goes into effect when the properties are annexed into the City. On October 22, 2019, the City Council adopted zoning for all of the properties in the City’s UGA. Future zones for properties in the UGA were assigned according to the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map (PDF)

Zoning Determination after Annexation
Existing Snohomish County ZoningMonroe Zoning after Annexation
R-9,600 Residential - 9,600 sq. ft. per lotSingle Family Residential - 4 units per acre (R4)
R-7,200 Residential – 7,200 sq. ft. per lotSingle Family Residential – 7 Units per Acre (R7)
Low Density Multiple ResidentialMixed Use – General (MG)
Low Density Multiple ResidentialGeneral Commercial (GC)


What about taxes?

Instead of paying County taxes for surface water management, the library system, and the Snohomish County surface water fee, new residents would pay locally for utilities, street maintenance, stormwater management, and the Monroe library capital bond. After annexation, property taxes, which fund City schools and the hospital, would remain about the same for new residents, as shown in the table below.

Estimated Taxes by Property Value
Property 
Value
2020 Snohomish County Residents2020 City of Monroe ResidentsDifference in Taxes after Annexation 
(per year)
$300,000$3,034$2,912Decrease of $122
$400,000$3,996$3,880Decrease of $116
$500,000$4,958$4,848Decrease of $110
$600,000$5,920$5,816Decrease of $104
$700,000$6,882$6,784Decrease of $98
$800,000$7,844$7,752Decrease of $92
$900,000$8,806$8,720Decrease of $86
$1,000,000$9,768$9,688Decrease of $80


What’s next?

The City is listening, and and we need your feedback before we continue the annexation process. In March, a survey will be mailed to you with more information about annexation and what it means for you as a resident of the City of Monroe’s UGA. Please fill out our survey in March, so we can know how you feel about annexation and how to move forward.

Need more information about annexation?

Please contact the Monroe Community Development Department at (360) 360-794-7400.

Disclaimer: 

The information contained on this webpage was obtained and compiled through staff research. The information is accurate to the best of our knowledge, however, circumstances and situations can vary between individuals which can affect the impacts of annexation discussed within this brochure. We encourage citizens to get involved and research the facts for themselves. Therefore the City of Monroe does not warrant, guarantee, or accept any liability for the accuracy, precision, or completeness of any information show herein or for any inferences made here from.