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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 can occur when all the affected property owners agree to be annexed. The property owners initiate the process by applying to the city council. The application must include the date, signatures of all property owners, a legal description of the property, and a map showing the proposed annexed territory in relation to city limits.

Once the council approves the application, the city clerk will file a copy of the resolution, map, and legal description of the land with the Iowa Department of Transportation, County Recorder, and Secretary of State. The annexation process is completed once the Secretary of State has recorded and filed the map and resolution.

The City Development Board must approve the annexation if the property is located within two miles of another city before the city’s boundaries can be enlarged. The City Development Board consists of five members whom are appointed by the Governor. This process requires the city council to mail a notice of the application for annexation to the city councils of each city within two miles of the property, the impacted County Board of Supervisors, and the regional planning authority at least 14 business days before any...

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