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Future Vision for Redmond: Annexation and Regional Planning

Redmond has accommodated growth through annexation while protecting rural and agricultural areas outside the Urban Growth Area. The City has reached its ultimate size, having annexed all remaining territory in its Potential Annexation Area so that residents may receive a full range of urban services. The new neighborhoods have been seamlessly interwoven with existing neighborhoods. The process of annexation was logical and orderly, allowing the City to provide these new areas with high-quality facilities and services.

Redmond is an integral member of the regional planning community. As was the case in 2004, Redmond continues to work cooperatively in regional planning with neighboring jurisdictions, King County, neighboring counties, State agencies, and other jurisdictions. Redmond is an active member of regional planning organizations where it simultaneously advances the interests of Redmond citizens and works toward regional goals.

Early Redmond (courtesy of Eastside Heritage)

Organization of This Element



A. Regional Planning Policies


B. Annexation Policies


C. Urban Growth Area Policies


The Annexation and Regional Planning Element supports Redmond’s vision of a community that is complete, offering a wide range of services, opportunities, and amenities, by guiding future annexations and identifying ways to coordinate planning with neighboring jurisdictions.

To fulfill the vision, Redmond expects to annex areas adjacent to the City. This element identifies those areas, also known as Potential Annexation Areas (PAA). Among these areas are neighborhoods that are split between the City and King County. This element guides their annexation to the City, resulting in more unified neighborhoods that are better places to live and work. Together with the Utilities Element, this element addresses facilities and service provision, including how to handle facility and service issues within the PAA, as called for in the King County Countywide Planning Policies.

Implementation of the City’s vision affects other jurisdictions just as surely as the planning efforts of other jurisdictions affect Redmond. To that end, policies in this element support Redmond’s vision by calling for cooperation in regional planning efforts and coordination with other jurisdictions and agencies.

The history of Redmond’s past growth provides a background to its future. Table A-1 illustrates Redmond’s population and land area over time. Map A-1 illustrates Redmond’s annexation history.

Table A-1



Land Area (acres)















525 (in 1951)



















A. Regional Planning Policies

The City of Redmond works with other jurisdictions to plan for land uses and infrastructure in areas surrounding the City. Conversely, King County and adjacent cities’ plans, regulations, and development affect Redmond. Redmond has directly participated in regional plans and the regional planning processes such as VISION 2020 and ARCH, A Regional Coalition for Housing. Maintaining a view of this larger context enables Redmond to relate plans within the City limits to broader regional policies and issues.


Work cooperatively at all levels in the region to carry out the Redmond Comprehensive Plan. Accomplish this by supporting the Puget Sound Regional Council, the Growth Management Planning Council, and other regional bodies to ensure that Redmond’s interests in long-term regional planning are represented and


that the City can take into account the interests of other jurisdictions in its own long-term planning.


Develop interlocal agreements where development within the Potential Annexation Area will require Redmond public facilities or services.


Pursue with King County, through interlocal agreements or other means, upgrades to deficient roads and bridges that will become the City’s responsibility upon annexation.


Track development that will result in impacts within Redmond that must be mitigated by City of Redmond improvements and participate with other jurisdictions in developing conditions for approval.


Identify preferred land uses in the Comprehensive Plan for the Potential Annexation Area. Provide opportunities for comment from King County and neighboring jurisdictions when proposing major changes.

Redmond also has worked cooperatively with other jurisdictions on plans and regional issues. For example, Bellevue and Redmond prepared and regularly update the Bellevue-Redmond Overlake Transportation Study (BROTS). King County and Redmond worked cooperatively in the Bear Creek Basin Plan.


Coordinate with nearby jurisdictions in developing capital improvement programs and studies addressing multi-jurisdictional issues.

Projects outside Redmond’s Potential Annexation Area also have the potential to affect Redmond. This area is defined by the issue and its scope rather than a particular geographic boundary. Areas most likely to fall under this sphere include nearby areas of Kirkland, Bellevue, Woodinville, the Bear Creek Basin, and Lake Sammamish.

Bear Creek Valley


Monitor, review, comment, and otherwise proactively attempt to mitigate or participate in major projects or programs of King County, Bellevue, Bothell, Kirkland, Issaquah, Woodinville, Sammamish, Washington State agencies, and other jurisdictions or agencies when the project or program has potential to affect the City of Redmond. Likewise, provide notification to others when Redmond’s plans or programs may affect them to give them the same opportunity.

B. Annexation Policies

The King County Countywide Planning Policies require cities to designate Potential Annexation Areas (PAAs) in collaboration with King County and adjacent cities, and in consultation with the residents and property owners in the affected areas. This has been accomplished and no major revision is expected in the near future. Map A-2 shows the Potential Annexation Area for Redmond.

To annex to a city, State law generally requires that the property within the proposed annexation be contiguous to the city. In addition, cooperation between cities is important to provide for efficient service delivery and to prevent wasteful duplication of services and public facilities. The following policies implement these concepts.


Annex all land within the Potential Annexation Area as soon as residents or property owners support annexation, and concurrently adjust growth targets between the City and the County.


Provide all necessary City of Redmond support to annexation efforts.


Require annexation prior to extending utility service to unincorporated areas except for the following cases:

Where Redmond is required to serve due to pre-existing service agreements; or

Where an individual well or septic failure occurs, immediate annexation is not possible or expedient, and the property owner is willing to sign an agreement to annex the property in a timely manner.


Use easily identified landmarks for boundaries, such as streets, streams, and permanent physical features and strive to retain neighborhood integrity in adjusting Potential Annexation Area boundaries.

Ord. 2441

There is relatively little unincorporated land contiguous to the City of Redmond remaining. The intent of the City is to annex these lands expeditiously. Some areas of the PAA are already served by another utility district reducing the likelihood of and the need for immediate annexation. It is more efficient to concentrate efforts on the unserved areas first. As residents seek greater local control of land use and capital improvements, or as the needs for public facilities arise, Redmond should encourage annexation. Additionally, as annexation occurs, the City is required by the Growth Management Act to ensure that zoning is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Pre-annexation zoning is a method of expediting annexations and ensuring consistency.


Focus annexation efforts south of NE 124th Way/NE 128th Street and promote expeditious annexation of unincorporated land within Redmond’s Potential Annexation Area by:

Waiving annexation application fees;

Encouraging joint applications;

Prohibiting extension of sewer service into unincorporated areas (with exceptions as noted in this element);

Identifying environmentally constrained areas prior to annexation for inclusion in the City’s sensitive area ordinance;

Involving potential future residents in neighborhood plans;

Ensuring consistency with Redmond’s Comprehensive Plan; and

Adopting pre-annexation zoning.

Requests for public facility extensions often immediately follow annexation and can be the main reason property owners annex. Annexations should be designed and timed to result in efficient and cost-effective provision of City services. State law allows cities to decide whether new residents should help pay for bonds currently being paid for by existing residents. Often such bonds fund facilities that already are being used by people outside the City; in other cases, annexation may increase use of these facilities. Requiring the assumption of the City’s bonded indebtedness is a method of ensuring fairness. Annexations can result in either a negative, positive, or revenue-neutral fiscal impact on the City. The City must weigh the fiscal impacts with the other goals it is trying to achieve.


Require developers to construct or fund public facilities to serve that development and require owners to construct or pay for health and safety related improvements related to their property for newly annexed areas. Consider using capital facilities funding as a supplement or instead of owner or developer funding if a Citywide benefit can be shown for public facility improvements for those areas.


Ensure that newly annexed territory accepts its equitable share of the City’s bonded indebtedness.

Because of the nature of Redmond’s Potential Annexation Area, annexation of individual lots or small clusters of lots will continue to occur. The following policies underscore Redmond’s interest in logical and orderly annexations.


Require to the extent practical that individual annexation proposals have logical boundaries that include streets, natural topographical breaks, streams, and other physical features.


Avoid individual annexations that create islands of unincorporated land.


Review the right-of-way issues prior to defining boundaries of individual annexations to determine logical inclusions or exclusions, including review of the following issues:

Whether the right-of-way will be needed for eventual provision of utilities or transportation links.

Whether there are pre-existing utilities from a particular district or jurisdiction are already in a right-of-way.

Whether streets or bridges are in a safe condition.

Whether assumption of a section of a regional arterial will produce an unfair burden for maintenance and expansion on the City.

C. Urban Growth Area Policies

The Growth Management Act requires that counties designate Urban Growth Areas (UGAs). The UGA must include all cities and may include land outside cities “already characterized by urban growth or ... adjacent to territory already characterized by urban growth.” (RCW 36.70A.110.)

UGAs are intended to achieve several important objectives. Designation of UGAs identify lands that will be developed for urban uses, allowing landowners and government agencies to plan and invest in urban uses. Most land within the UGA will be developed for urban uses with the exception of limited constrained or resource land, making the provision of public facilities and services more efficient by providing for contiguous and compact urban lands.

Designation of UGAs also protects rural areas, resource lands such as farms and logging tracts, and large areas of fish and wildlife habitats. These areas are generally excluded from the UGA. Property owners know they can continue rural and natural resource uses without worrying about nearby urban uses.


Support preservation of the existing Urban Growth Area (UGA) near Redmond except for changes supporting the annexation of municipally owned facilities such as parks. Participate and collaborate with King County and the other cities on UGA issues.

Perrigo Park, annexed by City of Redmond


Support permanent protection of designated rural and agricultural lands outside of the Urban Growth Area, including the Bear and Evans Creeks floodplains, wetlands, and salmon habitats.


Protect equestrian uses to the east of the City of Redmond by:

Accommodating growth by encouraging such things as redevelopment and more compact development within the current Urban Growth Area (UGA), thus reducing pressure to expand the UGA and ensuring that lands to the east remain rural.

Encouraging and working with King County, the King County Executive Horse Council, and other interested parties on development and maintenance of an equestrian district for areas to the east where horse-keeping is occurring.

Working with King County on the development and preservation of the trails systems for equestrian use, especially those connecting with existing Redmond trails.

Ord. 2230