The Annexation of Finn Hill, Juanita, and Kingsgate
The State’s Growth Management Act (GMA) calls for the annexation of unincorporated urban areas. An underlying principle of GMA is that urban services should be provided by cities and that rural and regional services should be provided by counties. Providing urban-level services to small pockets of unincorporated areas is inefficient and creates a burden for all County taxpayers. The Finn Hill, North Juanita, and Kingsgate areas have long been assigned to the City of Kirkland as its potential annexation area in the Countywide Planning Policies and in the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
Throughout its Annexation Study, which began in 2006, the City Council endeavored to meet the intent of GMA, evaluate financial impacts of annexation, and provide public participation opportunities for those impacted by the annexation.
The Kirkland City Council placed the question of annexation, zoning and assumption of indebtedness to voters in the annexation area on the November, 2009 General Election ballot. There were three questions on the ballot for registered voters in Finn Hill, North Juanita, and Kingsgate to cast ballots. The first was whether to annex to Kirkland. At the same time, voters were asked to approve the zoning for the area. These two questions required a simple majority approval. A third question asked voters to assume a proportional share of outstanding voter-approved debt. This third question required approval by 60% of the voters and also required at least 40% of the voters who voted in the previous general election (known as “validation”) cast a vote in the Finn Hill, North Juanita, and Kingsgate annexation election.
The results of the election were that 59.94% voted in favor of annexation and zoning. The King County Elections Office confirmed that the 40% validation threshold was met. However, the 60% threshold related to assumption of outstanding voter-approved debt was not met.
Although the threshold for assuming the indebtedness was not reached in the election, the City Council decided to accept the annexation without asking the area residents to assume city debt. The annexation and adopted zoning regulations become effective on June 1, 2011.
Since the election, the City Council has discussed a series of key policy and operational issues associated with annexation. A chronology of City Council meetings can be found on the “Agenda Item” webpage.
Annexation is a complex process. An informational Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) handout (last update March 2010) was developed to explain the process.
As annexation approaches, to ensure a smooth transition, City and County staff have been negotiating the transfer of services, property, and assets that will be guided by the adoption of an Interlocal Agreement which will be approved by the City Council and County Council prior to the effective date of annexation.
Please send your annexation questions to email@example.com or contact the City Manager’s Office at 425-587-3001.
Updated: September 7, 2011