City Annexation Information

Annexation is the process by which cities extend their municipal services, regulations, voting privileges, and taxing authority to new territory. It is the City of Enumclaw's goal to build strong, positive relationships with the community and urban service providers to facilitate a smooth transition of land from the unincorporated urban growth area into the city.

Why Annex?

Rural development is different than urban development. Development densities in the county are usually lower than in the city, making it more difficult and costly to provide the same level of service. Consequently, counties typically do not provide the same level of service as cities. Some of the basic differences are that cities are able to effectively provide:

  • Full-time professional emergency services
  • Municipal water and sewer service
  • Sidewalks
  • Street lights
  • Other amenities such as:
    • Libraries and associated programs
    • Parks

In 1990, the state Legislature passed the Growth Management Act (GMA) in an effort to reduce urban sprawl, preserve agricultural lands, and improve governmental efficiencies in the provision of urban services. A basic premise of the Act is that development at urban densities should be provided at urban level services such as water, sewer, parks, libraries, etc., and consequently located in cities to ensure the most efficient provision of service.

Growth, Development & Services

In order for the city to provide services as efficiently as possible, the city has identified logical areas for future city growth, development, and the provision of services. Those areas are included within a larger area referred to as the city’s Urban Growth Area (UGA). In order to manage the city’s provision of services in the most cost effective manner possible, the city is working towards developing a long term plan for the provision of services within the entire UGA.

UGA Benefits & Shortfalls

In many instances, residents within the city’s UGA often consider themselves part of the City of Enumclaw and enjoy the benefits of:

  • City parks
  • City water and/or sewer service
  • Public Library

Unless they are residents of the city, they are not able to vote for elected officials, vote on bond issues, serve on city boards or commissions, or generally influence city policy or decisions in a manner they consider appropriate. By annexing to the city, you will contribute to and have a voice in:

  • Shaping the city’s future growth and development
  • Maintaining the quality of life that makes Enumclaw a wonderful place to live, work and play
  • Help ensure an appropriate and better coordinated level of service

 More Information

For more information about annexation go the the MSRC Annexation Handbook where it addresses the general topic of municipal annexation and provides assistance with the statutory procedures for annexation as well as some recurring legal questions. This version is current - MRSC, June 2020.

 Project Understanding

The City of Enumclaw has sought assistance in preparing an Annexation Impact Study (PDF), which evaluates the potential costs and revenues associated with annexation. The city has ended all development moratoriums, which will increase the pace of development over what the city has seen in recent years.

Potential Annexation Areas

Much of this development pressure is expected to be seen in the city’s potential annexation areas (PAAs), which include significant areas of developable land. Given these conditions, the city wants to understand both the short- and the long-term implications of annexation. The future development of Enumclaw’s annexation areas will be a key driver of Enumclaw’s long-term fiscal sustainability.

The timing of annexation and the timing and nature of development, will influence:

  • The city’s revenue streams
  • The city’s decisions about the configuration of service delivery
  • The city’s overall ability to deliver services

Flexible Fiscal Model

Berk has developed a flexible fiscal model that reflects the city’s existing service structure and captures the interaction between land use, development, and a city’s costs and revenues. With the help of this flexible model, decision makers at Enumclaw will have the ability to:

  • View the fiscal implications of annexation and long-term development
  • Explicitly examine the implications of different assumptions about:
    • Different policy choices
    • Different scenarios regarding the pace and nature of future development
    • Service provision

Berk & Associates has already developed the model framework through their work on annexations with other cities, and the tasks outlined in the following discussion reflect the level of effort required to change the model to fit with the City of Enumclaw’s operational and budgetary structure and to reflect other unique characteristics of Enumclaw and its annexation areas.