Annexation Guidelines

   General Information

Annexation Guidelines

As a Home Rule Community, Springfield has jurisdiction over matters pertaining to its own affairs, including authority to annex geographic areas into the City and enter into annexation agreements to bring new geographic areas under the City's jurisdiction in the future.

Annexation Policy

The City's annexation policy is noted in section 156.01 of the City Code. It notes that: In order to provide for territorial growth of the city that is in accord with recognized planning principles, all proposed annexations to the city shall undergo review in accordance with the annexation review process set forth in section 156.02.

The City's annexation policy is driven by the ability of the City to reasonably provide needed and necessary services to any area proposed for annexation. This includes provisions related to public safety (police, fire and emergency services), infrastructure (electric, water, sewer, drainage and roads), quality of life, and compatibility with long-range development plans as identified in the Springfield Comprehensive Plan.

Annexation Process

According to section 156.02 of the City Code, before any vote is taken by the City Council on a proposed annexation, an "annexation review process" must be completed. The section goes on to say that the validity of an annexation ordinance passed by the City Council shall not be affected by a failure to follow, or any deviation from, the provisions provided for this process.

The City's established annexation review process is a multi-stage effort that begins with the filing of an Annexation Petition with the Office of Public Works (OPW). With the filing of the Annexation Petition, OPW begins its work by preparing or obtaining a legal description and plat of property to be annexed. OPW sends Annexation Review Sheets to the appropriate City departments covering streets, fire protection, police protection, electric service, water service, and the sanitary district, as well as the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission and the City Planner.

Review Examples

Reviewer Examples
Police Accessibility
Police Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Plan
Water City Water Standards
Electric Distance of Extension
Streets Access Roads (Capacity, Drainage & Right-of-Way Availability)
Streets Street Type
Streets Sanitary Sewers
Streets Storm Sewers
Fire Fire Hydrant Flow
Fire Accessibility for Fire Apparatus
Fire Distance From Fire Station
Sanitary Sewer Availability
Regional Planning Leapfrog Other Areas
Regional Planning Comprehensive Land Use Plan
Regional Planning Subdivision Jurisdiction

These various entities review the area proposed for annexation related to the City's ability to provide an adequate level of service and its relationship to the City's comprehensive plan.

Once the reviews are completed, the OPW notifies the City Clerk, who sends out 10 day notices to the City Council as required. Following the review, OPW notifies the City's Corporation Counsel that it can prepare the Agreements.

Annexation Agreements

The City, through powers granted to municipalities by Illinois State Statutes, may also require property owner(s) to sign annexation agreements. While there are many circumstances in which an annexation agreement may be developed, these agreements usually require that property come under the jurisdiction of the City at some future time by virtue of the City providing certain services to the property, or allow an area petitioning to be annexed to do so only following certain actions by the property owner(s).

Annexation Agreement Policy

Illinois state law [65 ILCS 5/11-15.1-1, et seq.] allows the corporate authorities of any municipality to enter into an annexation agreement which shall be valid and binding for a period not to exceed 20 years from the date of its execution with one or more of the owners of record of land in unincorporated territory. This land may be annexed to the municipality at the time the land is or becomes contiguous to the municipality. Lack of contiguity to the municipality of the property subject to the agreement does not affect the validity of the agreement.

This process allows both the City and the owner of the land desiring to be annexed to determine the relationship between themselves and provides for the future development of the land before it is annexed. The annexation agreement provides a means for the advanced planning and negotiation that is intended to result in a more logical development of the property without burdening existing citizens with undue costs.

Property that is covered under an annexation agreement is not subject to the ordinances, control and jurisdiction of the annexing municipality until it is finally annexed. There are two common situations in which the City will enter into an annexation agreement:

  • The property to be annexed is not contiguous to the City, but the owner of the property wishes for the City to provide certain services. In this case the City may require an annexation agreement to ensure that the property is annexed when all or part of the property becomes contiguous. For example, the City requires that applicants for water service outside the corporate limits of the city agree in writing that they will be annexed when the applicant's property is contiguous to the corporate limits of the city.
  • The property to be annexed is contiguous, and the property owner wants to be annexed, however the City wishes to place certain conditions on the annexation. For example, the area may be served by septic tanks and the City desires that the installation of sewers be a condition of annexation. It is important, however, to draw a distinction between the annexation of one lot and the annexation of an entire development. Since developments have a greater effect on the nature of the City and the future provision of City services in the annexed areas than would one lot, the City may require action by the developer through an annexation agreement while not requiring a similar agreement with the owner of the one lot.

Annexation Agreement Process

As part of its consideration of an area for an annexation, the various City departments will review it applying the same criteria mentioned as part of the Annexation Process. Through this review the City may also identify other aspects of the area which might affect logical development of the property without burdening existing citizens with undue costs. These items become part of the discussion between the City and the property owner(s) when the annexation agreement is negotiated.

The procedure for entering into an annexation agreement [65 ILCS 5/11-15.1-3] requires that the City hold a public hearing on any proposed annexation agreement and give notice of the proposed agreement not more than 30 or less than 15 days before the hearing. The annexation agreement can be executed by the Mayor, and attested to by the City Clerk, only after the hearing and upon the adoption of an ordinance directing such execution. The ordinance must be passed by a two-thirds vote of the City Council.

For more information on whether or not an Annexation Agreement is needed, please contact the Office of Planning and Economic Development, at 217.789.2377