Annexation

Southeast Interlocal Annexation Effective as of August 10, 2021

On August 10, 2021, the Southeast Interlocal Annexation Area was officially annexed into the City of Lake Stevens. For more information, please see the tab below. Property owners should also receive a Welcome Letter on or around August 14, 2021, with information on city services and the upcoming annexation area census that is required by state law. Welcome to Lake Stevens!

One Community Around the Lake

Annexation is the process by which the city adds unincorporated areas of Snohomish County to the city’s boundaries. Following annexation, properties receive public services such as police services, road maintenance, planning and permitting from the city, as opposed to Snohomish County. Because Lake Stevens is not a full-service city, other services such as fire protection, sewer, and water are unaffected by annexation, as are school district boundaries.

When the city of Lake Stevens was incorporated in 1960, it had a population of approximately 900 residents in and adjacent to historic downtown. By 2002, Lake Stevens had experienced modest growth, with a population of just under 7,000 people living across approximately 1,500 acres in the northeast section of the lake. It was during this time that the city developed the goal of creating “One Community Around the Lake” through annexation.

Over the past 15 years, the city has grown to nearly 6,000 acres and an estimated 34,150 residents through a series of annexations around the lake, as seen in this annexation history map. The city has approximately 2,000 acres remaining in its Urban Growth Area (UGA) to the northeast and southeast of the lake that is eligible to be annexed. The city is currently undertaking two separate annexations (Southeast Interlocal and Machias Industrial), which are further detailed at the bottom of this page.

Why Annex into Lake Stevens?

There are a number of benefits to annexing into Lake Stevens, which the city has summarized in this fact sheet. These include:

  • Local police services with faster response times
  • More frequent and higher level of service for street and stormwater system maintenance, including street sweeping
  • Opportunity to elect City Council members and participate in a number of local appointed boards and commissions
  • Local building, planning, and zoning services that result in faster permitting times
  1. SouthEast Interlocal
  2. Machias Industrial

The Southeast Interlocal Annexation area involves two areas within the city’s southeast UGA west of 123rd Ave SE and north of 20th St SE, as well as the entirety of the lake. Totaling approximately 500 acres of land plus the 1,000 acre lake, the area is primarily residential in nature and was assigned zoning pre-designations in 2019, with some minor amendments along 20th St SE in December 2020. The annexation is being pursued through a new interlocal agreement method approved by the state that became effective in June 2020. The City Council adopted a resolution on July 14, 2020 authorizing city staff to begin negotiations with Snohomish County on an interlocal agreement. The Lake Stevens Sewer District has also opted to join as a party to the agreement, and will be expanding their service boundaries via a separate annexation process.

RCW 35A.14.296 requires a public hearing before the Lake Stevens City Council, Snohomish County Council, and Lake Stevens Sewer District Board of Commissioners, which occurred on March 9, 2021 (see additional info below). As required by state law and the city’s municipal code, the city hosted an informational meeting on September 21, 2020 via the Zoom online platform to discuss the proposed annexation. Approximately 50 people logged into the meeting, which included representatives from the city, sewer district, and fire district. The city has developed the following Question and Answer document to summarize the topics that were discussed (which has been updated to account for questions from the second meeting on December 9), and has also made available a copy of the Powerpoint presentation and the Annexation Financial Analysis discussed at the meeting. 

On December 9, the City hosted a second public meeting to provide an update on the proposed annexation. Representatives from Snohomish County and the Lake Stevens Sewer District were in attendance, and a video of the meeting is available for those unable to attend. The Question and Answer document above has also been updated to cover additional questions asked at the December 9 public meeting. 

Joint Public Hearing and Annexation Completion (Effective as of August 10, 2021)

On March 9, 2021, the Lake Stevens City Council held a joint public hearing with the Snohomish County Council and the Lake Stevens Sewer District Board of Commissioners to consider approval of the interlocal agreement for the Southeast Interlocal Annexation. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the City Council approved a motion to work with the Snohomish County Council to explore an advisory vote on the proposed annexation. A recording of the meeting is available on the city's YouTube channel (starting at 13:45 mark of video). 

Following additional reflection and legal counsel, the City Council adopted Ordinance 1112 at their March 23 regular meeting, which authorizes the mayor to sign the ILA for the city to annex the areas within the Southeast Interlocal Annexation area. The staff report, ordinance, ILA, and recent public comments can be found starting on page 120 of the meeting packet, and a video of the meeting is available on the city's Youtube channel (public comments begin at the 6:00 mark, and Council discussion begins at the 1:16:25 mark of video). 

On March 25, the Lake Stevens Sewer District Board of Commissioners approved Resolution 996, formalizing support of the annexation and authorizing the board president to sign the ILA. The Snohomish County Council held a public hearing on Wednesday, April 28 and voted to adopt Ordinance 21-005, which authorized the county executive to sign the ILA. The City Council subsequently adopted a revised Ordinance 1112, and both the City Council and County Council passed motions in July 2021 to correct the legal descriptions and maps as a result of comments received during the Boundary Review Board review process (see below for more information). 

On May 19, 2021, the city submitted Notices of Intention (NOI) for the north and south annexation areas to the Snohomish County Boundary Review Board (BRB) for the required 45-day review period. The North Area and South Area NOI's were deemed effective (complete) on June 24, 2021, and the 45-day period ended on August 9, 2021. With the completion of the 45-day review period and the BRB choosing not to invoke jurisdiction, the annexation is now complete and effective, subject to the signed ILA.

Property owners should receive a Welcome Letter on or around August 14, 2021 that includes information on services provided by the city and its partner agencies as well as opportunities for community involvement. The city's consultant, Calm River, will also be completing a door-to-door census of the area during the second half of August 2021, as required by state law. This census helps to ensure the city has an accurate population count so that it can receive its fair share of state revenue for municipal services such as police protection. Area residents will have the option to complete the survey at their front door, online, or by calling a toll-free number (800-579-6830). Additional information on the census is provided in the Welcome Letter.

For more information on the annexation, contact David Levitan, Planning Manager at dlevitan@lakestevenswa.gov or 425-622-9425.

Southeast Interlocal Area