Bills would give property owners more say in how cities annex land

first_imgState Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, wants to end annexation without representation.In response to the city of Vancouver reviving its plans to annex nearby areas, Kraft has introduced a pair of bills intended to reform the way cities bring adjacent land into their boundaries by giving property owners a greater say in the process. However, the bills are opposed by the cities of Vancouver and Battle Ground, as well as others who say the bills will create new problems.In August of last year, the city of Vancouver completed its annexation of the Van Mall North area, placing about 1,270 acres and 5,528 people within its borders. Speaking Wednesday at a hearing of the House Local Government Committee, Kraft said some of those people had purchased their property expecting a home in unincorporated Clark County and aren’t happy about becoming residents of Vancouver.“They had no voice,” said Kraft. “They had no vote in the process, and they essentially moved in and they got annexed in against many of their wills and their desires.”In Washington, cities that operate sewer or water systems can enter into agreements with nearby property owners or developers to provide services. Cities can require property owners to sign a covenant stating they agree to be annexed in exchange for services. Under the direct petition method for annexations, a city can annex an area if property owners representing 60 percent of its total assessed value agree.That was the basis for Vancouver’s annexation of Van Mall North. Kraft said some of these covenants were signed by developers and passed on to homeowners who had no say. She said other homeowners in the area were left with no choice but to sign the covenants. Kraft’s bill, HB 2788, would prohibit cities from requiring an owner of a property to enter these covenants as a condition of receiving utility services.last_img read more

Read More →