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Annexation Overview

Annexation is the legal process for expanding city boundaries. A territory may be added to a city through a voluntary application by the owners of land adjoining a city, an 80/20 “voluntary” annexation, or involuntarily through a city petition.

Voluntary Annexation

 A voluntary annexation occurs when all the affected property owners agree to annexation. The property owners initiate the process by applying to the city council. The application must include the date, all property owner signatures, the property’s legal description, and a map showing the proposed annexed territory in relation to the city limits.  

Once the council approves the application, the city clerk files a copy of the resolution, map, and land’s legal description with the Iowa Department of Transportation, county recorder, and Secretary of State. The annexation process is complete once the Secretary of State records and files the map as well as resolution.  

If the property is located within two miles of another city, then the City Development Board must approve the annexation. The City Development Board consists of five governor-appointed members. This process requires the city council to mail a notice of the application for annexation at least 14 business days before any action by the city council. The application must be mailed to the city councils of each city within two miles of the property, the impacted County Board of Supervisors, and the regional planning authority.