Annexation is the process by which incorporated cities in Kentucky physically expand their boundaries. It primarily is done through one of two methods: consensual or nonconsensual annexation. In consensual annexation, landowners agree in writing to be annexed by the city. In nonconsensual annexation, the city attempts to expand its boundaries without the explicit, signed agreement of landowners.
A city can only annex property that is contiguous to the existing city limits. If not already developed, the annexed property must have some potential for urban development. Kentucky cities can only annex unincorporated property (with one exception) that is not within an agricultural district. Cities may only annex land within the same county.
Any annexed property becomes the responsibility of the city. Any debt or existing infrastructure is adopted by the city and is added to all other existing debts and capital assets. Several authorities must be notified once a city has annexed property, including the county clerk, the Kentucky Secretary of State, the Kentucky Department of Revenue and the Kentucky Department for Local Government.
Annexation procedures are the most variable aspect of this process. The correct steps necessary to successfully expand a city’s boundaries depend on a number of factors including the class of the city, the consent of the residents and property owners being annexed, and the type of property being annexed. It is important for cities to carefully consider all the involved requirements; otherwise the annexation could be nullified.
Note: Excludes reductions of territory, resolutions restating annexations and intents to annex
- Kentucky Incorporated Cities Map (link)
- Kentucky Land Office City Database (link)
- Kentucky Land Office FAQs (link)
- Kentucky Land Office city filings by year (link)
- KLC Legal FAQ: What is the procedure for annexation? (link)
- Chapter 2 of the City Officials Legal Handbook (link)
- KRS Chapter 81A (link)