How to Annex:

If your property meets the basic requirements and you want to annex into the City of Columbia, the process is:


This basic process is the same whether you are owner of a single property or you and your neighbors wish to become a part of the City of Columbia.  The Planning Division, with the assistance of other City staff, is responsible for the facilitation and management of the annexation process, which is governed by State Law, City Code, and City policy.

If you are ready to annex, or just want more information, please contact the Annexation Coordinator for assistance!


Basic Requirements

There are some basic requirements in order to have your property annexed into the City of Columbia:

  • Contiguity
    • In order to annex, a property or community must be contiguous (adjacent to) the City of Columbia.  You may check to see if you are contiguous to the City by entering the address into the City Information Viewer.  
    • Not contiguous but close to the city?  Let us know; we may be able to help.
  • Ownership
    • Most annexations (with the exception of the electoral method) require a petition signed by the property owners.  

How to Request Annexation


Whether you are an individual property owner or if your community is interested in annexation, all annexations requests begin with a petition signed by the affected property owner(s) or electors within the area to be annexed.  

  • 1) Contact us 
    • If you are, or represent, the sole owner or 100% of the property owners:
      • A completed Contact Information Sheet for the property will help us make certain we have current information.  If you are proposing development of the property, we will be glad to arrange a pre-application conference with relevant City staff to help the process go smoothly.
  • 2) Sign A Petition
    • We'll work with you to prepare a petition requesting annexation into the City of Columbia:
      • If you are the sole owner or represent 100% of the property owners:
        • To prepare a petition for the owner(s) of record to sign, we will need:
          1. A copy of the current recorded deed, and 
          2. A plat or survey of your property 
        • If you don’t have these on hand, both the deed and the plat may usually be found at the Richland County or Lexington County Register of Deeds Office, though in many cases we are able to assist in obtaining these items.
        • The owner(s) of record will need to sign the petition.  If you have the property under contract, let us know and we can tailor the petition to your situation.

Review


Once we receive your petition, City staff will review the ability of the City to provide services and schedule your petition for review by the Planning Commission and City Council.  After affirmative votes by City Council on two separate occasions (1st and 2nd readings), the annexation is approved.

Annexation


Welcome to the City of Columbia!  The effective date of the annexation is stated within the annexation ordinance approved by City Council and is generally the date of the 2nd reading (the 2nd vote), on the annexation.


The Zoning and Future Land Use maps of the City of Columbia must be amended to include the new property within the City limits pursuant to SC Code §6-29-530 and §17-206 of City Code.  Generally these amendments are reviewed concurrently with the annexation request, though the maps may be amended following annexation if the situation warrants.


Notification of Service Providers


Once your property is annexed, we’ll communicate with your service providers to ensure that they know you are in the City of Columbia.  It may take a billing cycle for any bills to be updated with the new information, but City of Columbia services, such as solid waste and recycling, should begin immediately.  



Also of Note:

Three Methods of Annexation:


Title 5, Chapter 3, of the South Carolina Code of Laws authorizes three main methods of annexation:

  • Petition by 100% of freeholders and ordinance 
  • Petition by 75% of freeholders and ordinance
  • Petition by 25% of electors, special election, and ordinance

Most annexations to the City of Columbia have been by direct petition of the property owner (100% method).  This is usually a single or small number of properties, and is initiated in order to obtain new city services, or in order to satisfy a declaration of covenant that was executed in exchange for the extension of water or sewer service to the property.

If a community or group of adjacent properties wishes to be annexed, a petition from a super-majority of property owners (75% method) or a petition from 25% of the registered voters followed by a special election (Electoral method) may be more appropriate.


Covenants:


Pursuant to City of Columbia policy, if your property is contiguous with the City of Columbia and you desire new water or sewer service, or if it is subject to a declaration of covenant, you will be required to annex the property into the City. 

The City of Columbia Department of Engineering will not review your plans for new water and/or sewer service, or sell a water meter until a signed, stamped petition for annexation or a declaration of covenant (for non-contiguous properties) is received.