King County potential annexation areas
For the City of Bothell, the privilege of extending local governmental services to the City’s nine designated potential annexation areas (PAAs) in King County is nearing reality.
The Bothell City Council, the King County Council, the Fire District 16 (Northshore Fire Department) Board of Commissioners and the Fire District 36 (Woodinville Fire & Rescue) Board of Commissioners have all approved an annexation interlocal agreement (ILA) that provides for the comprehensive transition of services from the County and the fire districts to the City.
The City Council and the Northshore Fire Department and Woodinville Fire & Rescue boards of commissioners approved the ILA in May: the King County Council was the final partner to adopt the agreement, unanimously approving the ILA on September 3.
The agreement is the result of three years of thoughtful negotiations between the City and the County and fire districts to ensure that the transfer of services best meets the needs and desires of the 6,000 residents of the PAAs when those areas annex to Bothell.
The full annexation interlocal agreement will be posted on this website shortly. Following are highlights of the key elements of the ILA:
Part 3 – Comprises the Bothell – King County agreement. Key sections include the following:
3.1.4 States that the City plan designations and zoning classifications adopted for the PAA in 2010 via Ordinance 2053 (2010) will apply upon annexation.
3.2.2 Provides for transfer of records, development services, incarceration responsibilities for misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor crimes, police services, court and prosecution services, and road and fire levy taxes.
3.2.3 Provides for transfer of surface water management, park and greenbelt properties. The County will deed to the City East Norway Hill Park, which is south of Northshore Junior High School and Woodmoor Elementary School.
Part 4 – Comprises the Bothell – Fire District 16 agreement. Key sections include the following:
4.1.1 Provides for transfer of fire district taxes and EMS levy revenues from District 16 to the City as of the effective date of annexation. Acknowledges that no District 16 assets are required under state law to transfer to the City, due to the small size and valuation of the annexations relative to the entire District. Acknowledges the City’s statutory responsibility to maintain or better the fire protection and emergency services response times existing prior to annexation, based on the latest District annual report.
4.2.1 Replicates language from state law concerning layoff and transfer of firefighters. While District 16 has determined that no firefighters would be laid off as a direct consequence of annexation, this language is included to acknowledge the District’s and the City’s statutory obligations were this the case.
4.2.2 Provides that the City would at a minimum interview any laid-off non-firefighter employee of District 16 for any open City position for which the employee is found to be qualified.
Part 5 – Comprises the Bothell – Fire District 36 agreement. Key sections include the following:
5.1.1 Provides for transfer of fire district taxes and EMS levy revenues from District 36 to the City as of the effective date of annexation. Acknowledges that no District 36 assets are required under state law to transfer to the City, due to the small size and valuation of the annexations relative to the entire District. Acknowledges the City’s statutory responsibility to maintain or better the fire protection and emergency services response times existing prior to annexation, based on the latest District annual report.
5.2.1 Replicates language from state law concerning layoff and transfer of firefighters.
5.2.2 Provides that Bothell will hire at least two District 36 firefighters if laid off by the district as a direct consequence of annexation.
5.2.3 Provides that the City would at a minimum interview any laid-off non-firefighter employee of District 36 for any open City position for which the employee is found to be qualified.
5.2.4 The City and District 36 agree to collaborate to determine the feasibility of re-opening District 36’s Station 34. Station 34 is located east of 124th Avenue NE on NE 144th Street, within territory recently annexed by Kirkland, and is currently closed. District 36 agrees to direct the proceeds from any future sale of Station 34 towards the siting, design and construction of a new fire station beneficially situated to serve both Bothell and District 36. District 36’s obligation would be capped at the fair market value of Station 34 on the effective date of the agreement, and would expire in five years if the City has not secured funding for the station by that time.
5.2.5 Relates that the City is evaluating alternative fire and EMS models that might involve consolidation of services, and provides that, if the City determines to further explore any such models, the City and District 36 will engage in a joint study. (Subsequent to approval of the interlocal agreement, the City did determine to further explore the regional fire authority model, and the City, Fire District 36 and Fire District 16 agreed to engage in a joint study, which is currently in progress.)
The City Council initiated the ILA negotiations in 2010 in response to long-standing PAA citizen interest in annexation to Bothell. This interest was confirmed through citizen input received over a series of 12 open houses in 2010, and continues to be voiced via frequent telephone calls, e-mails and paper mail to the City from throughout the PAAs.
The ILA is the vehicle by which the annexations would be approved, under a method authorized by state law. This method, which does not involve an election, is intended to be utilized for potential annexation areas that have long been designated and which could not logically be provided municipal services by any other city. Bothell’s potential annexation areas in unincorporated King County have been designated in City and County comprehensive plans and King County Countywide Planning Policies since the mid-1990’s, and are recognized by the surrounding cities of Woodinville, Kirkland and Kenmore as appropriately being served by Bothell.
Annexation of the PAAs would implement the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA), which recognizes cities as the most fitting providers of local urban governmental services. The King County Comprehensive Plan echoes the GMA, stating in Policy U-201, “In order to meet the Growth Management Act and the regionally adopted Countywide Planning Policies goal of becoming a regional service provider for all county residents and a local service provider in the Rural Area, King County shall encourage annexation of the remaining urban unincorporated area.”
With approval of the ILA by the City, King County and the two fire districts, the proposed PAA annexations may now proceed to formal approval. The next steps include the following:
- Submittal by the City of Annexation Notices of Intention to the King County Boundary Review Board, in late September (under the annexation method employed, the Board’s jurisdiction cannot be invoked, which means that the Board would not hold a hearing on the annexations);
- Two open houses to bring the public up to date on the annexations – on October 17, at Northshore Junior High School, and on October 24, at Westhill Elementary School (both from 6 to 8 p.m.); and
- A Bothell City Council public hearing on the annexations, tentatively scheduled for November 19, at the conclusion of which the Council may adopt an ordinance formally approving the annexations.
If the Council adopts the ordinance, the nine annexations would go into effect on February 28, 2014.
For detailed information on the proposed King County annexations, please click on the various topics above and to the left. However, here are short answers to the two most frequently asked questions about the proposed annexations, concerning taxes and addresses:
- Your property taxes would be lower in Bothell than in unincorporated King County, because the Bothell municipal tax rate of $1.54 per $1,000 of assessed valuation (AV) replaces the combined County road tax and fire district tax rates of $3.25 per $1,000 AV. Even after factoring in the City’s utility taxes (which the County doesn’t yet have the authority to collect), the owner of a typical house assessed at $300,000 would save between $245 and $262 per year if annexed to Bothell.
- Your address would stay the same. The vast majority of properties in the annexation areas have Bothell addresses, but a small number have Kirkland or Woodinville addresses. These would not change with annexation. If, following annexation, citizens in those areas were to ask to change to a Bothell address, the City would conduct public outreach to determine support for the idea, but it is not automatic.
The latest annexation to Bothell in Snohomish County was the 12-acre Bloomberg Hill Island Annexation, which was approved by the Bothell City Council in October, 2011, and went into effect December 31, 2012.
The remaining designated potential annexation area in Snohomish County (called a Municipal Urban Growth Area, or MUGA, under the Snohomish County Countywide Planning Policies) is 3,608 acres and wraps around the current Bothell city limits on the west, north and east.
This area was the subject of unsuccessful elections in November, 2011, and again in April, 2012. No further pursuit of this entire potential annexation area is currently planned, although the City might consider annexation requests by individual neighborhoods or groups of neighborhoods within this area.
Please click on the various topics above and to the left for more information on the potential annexation of unincorporated Snohomish County territory to the City of Bothell.