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 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 are 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
The Machias Industrial Annexation Area is an approximately 67-acre area made up of 18 parcels and the Machias Road right-of-way to the northeast of current city boundaries. The annexation is being processed through the state’s 60% Petition Method, which allows for property owners representing at least 60% of the assessed value to petition the city to be annexed. Properties within this area would receive the city’s General Industrial zoning designation.
On November 24, 2020, the City Council approved a revised resolution (2020-019) to accept the 60% annexation petition; provide a Notice of Intent to Annex to the Snohomish County Boundary Review Board (BRB); and assign proposed zoning and Comprehensive Plan designations upon annexation. Following the required 45-day BRB review period for File 15-2020, on February 23, 2021 the City Council adopted Ordinance 1094, annexing the Machias Industrial Area. For more information, contact Russ Wright, Community Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-622-9424.
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 Subsequent Actions
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 subsequently 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.
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 NOI's were deemed effective (complete) on June 24, 2021, and the 45-day period ends on August 9, 2021, with the annexation now scheduled to become effective on August 24. Upon completion of the annexation, property owners will receive a welcome letter and census materials (required by state law).
For more information on the annexation, contact David Levitan, Planning Manager at email@example.com or 425-622-9425.