Through annexation, the City of Spokane pursues the long-term financial health of the City by expanding the City's existing tax base, while providing additional land for future residential, commercial and industrial development that will sustain economic growth and maintain reasonable tax rates. Planning for future annexations allows the City of Spokane to focus infrastructure and resources on areas that can be annexed successfully and cooperatively. The City attempts to use logical boundaries that utilize recognizable physical features such as streets, bodies of water and land contours while adjusting for irregular borders. For any proposed annexation, the property must be in an adopted Urban Growth Area (UGA), must be contiguous to the City of Spokane and must be designated in the City's Comprehensive Plan as a potential annexation area.
Cities in the State of Washington are given a number of mechanisms to annex unincorporated areas. Among those methods are the following:
Of the available annexation methods, the City of Spokane has most often used the Direct Petition Method. The direct petition method of annexation requires that a minimum of 10% of the property owners (calculated by assessed value) sign petitions to initiate the annexation process. Upon a successful initiation the requested annexation is forwarded to the City council for an official initiation action. Once successfully initiated by the City Council, a minimum of 60% of the property owners within the annexation area (calculated by assessed value) must sign the petition prior to proceeding to the County Boundary Review Board for approval or modification.
The newest method of annexation, the Interlocal Agreement Annexation of Area Served by Fire District(s), was adopted by the 2009 Washington State Legislature. It may be used where a city is proposing to annex territory within one or more fire protection districts.