What is Annexation?

Annexation is the process of transferring land from one jurisdiction to another. This includes accommodating a county’s unincorporated areas into adjacent incorporated areas—commonly known as cities and towns.

What this means in Pierce County is that places like Tacoma, Puyallup, Lakewood, or Gig Harbor would expand their city boundaries to include properties, businesses and residents currently lying outside of those cities.

Of the 876,000 people that live in Pierce County, over 370,000 people reside outside of any city or town—comprising a population greater than the City of Tacoma. As such, the question of annexation is an important issue facing Pierce County.

A priority for our county
Comprehensive Plan and Countywide Policies
  • Encourage the annexation of adjacent unincorporated urban areas by the neighboring city or town, and identify such areas as potential annexation areas or potential incorporation areas. 
  • Highly prioritize the annexation of unincorporated islands.
Learn more about Pierce County's Comprehensive Plan
  Annexation Studies

  1. Why Does the County Pursue Annexation?
  2. How Does Annexation Affect Me?
  3. How Does Annexation Happen?

In Pierce County, annexation of unincorporated urban areas is expected by the State of Washington and encouraged by local and regional governments. Further, the County has placed a high priority on annexing unincorporated areas that are completely or nearly bordered on all sides by cities and towns—called unincorporated “islands.”

  Potential Annexation Areas

Pierce County and its cities have worked collaboratively to identify Potential Annexation Areas, and assign each area to a respective jurisdiction as part of the County’s Comprehensive Plan process. Cities may only annex those assigned areas—shaded pink and purple in the following map. To learn more, click on a location or search for a specific address.