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Published on Monday, February 12, 2018

Bills to simplify annexation of "islands" move forward, with some changes

Companion bills SB 6312, Sen. Sam Hunt (D-Olympia), and HB 2665, Rep. Nicole Macri (D-Seattle), would simplify the annexations of county "islands” within city limits. These bills have both passed out of their respective committees with some changes. Both bills would still remove the public referendum requirement for annexing islands. However, substitute versions of the bills have diverged on boundary review board authority. The Senate version would exempt island annexations from boundary review board review, while the House version would maintain boundary review board approval authority. The bills now also differ on who can provide testimony at annexation hearings (currently, only residents and property owners of the island may provide input at these hearings). The Senate version expands who can testify to any member of the public, while the House version would add only those jurisdictions providing services to the island.

AWC is supportive of removing obstacles to the efficient annexation of islands. Members are encouraged to contact their legislators to express support for the version of the bill they prefer. A recent article in The Olympian highlighted the types of issues faced by residents, businesses and service providers in communities where islands create confusing boundaries.