Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQs below are some of the most commonly asked questions about annexation.  If you would like more information, or your question is not answered here, please contact us.

What is Annexation?

Annexation is how the City of Columbia, or any city or town, extends and increases its corporate limits. Individual property owners or communities may petition for annexation if they are contiguous, or adjacent to, the boundaries of the City of Columbia.

How Do I Annex Into the City of Columbia?

First, you or your community need to be contiguous to the boundary of the City of Columbia.  You can find out if you are contiguous by searching on our interactive City Information Viewer or by contacting us.  To request annexation, contact us, and we will guide you through the process.  Helpful materials are also available on our How To Annex page.

Isn't it More Expensive if I Come Into the City?

Homeowners- Most homeowners who annex save money, in part because solid waste services to one-and two-family dwellings are included in your city property taxes, and due to lower water and sewer rates for in-city properties.  Visit the Why Annex? page or use our Annexation Calculator to learn more about how being in the City of Columbia can save you money each year, or contact us.

Residential rental properties (6 units or less)Many, but not all rental properties will also save money when annexed.  This depends on the taxable value of your property, the number of units, and whether or not the landlord pays utilities.  The rental property fact sheet has some helpful information, or you may wish to try our Annexation Calculator.  Feel free to contact us with any questions!

Commercial  properties and large multifamily- Each commercial property and business has unique characteristics, and it is difficult to make any accurate generalized statement about the financial impact for these types of properties.  Some helpful information is on our Why Annex? page; please contact us at [email protected] or 803-545-3217 for additional assistance.

Will I Have to Pay Two Tax Bills if I Annex?

No, you pay County and City taxes, but you will only receive one tax bill.  Furthermore, City of Columbia residents pay no annual solid waste or hydrant fees.

Will I Lose Any Services by Annexing?

No, the City of Columbia is a full-service city government.  In fact, as a resident, you will see an increase in available services.  A City Services Guide is available on our Why Annex? page, or you can always contact us if you have a question about how annexation affects a particular service.

Will My School District or Attendance Zones Change?

No, school district boundaries are independent of the City boundary.

Will My Zoning District Change?

In most cases, the zoning district of newly annexed land will be similar to the zoning district prior to annexation.  However, the City of Columbia, Richland County, and Lexington County all have different Zoning Ordinances, so in this sense all annexations result in a rezoning, also known as a zoning map amendment.  If you have development plans for your property, please contact us for a consultation regarding the zoning and land use classification of your property.  The Zoning Division may be reached directly at 803-545-3333.

Will I Lose My County Council Representation if My Property is Annexed?

No, all City of Columbia residents are also County residents and in addition to your new representation on City Council, you will still be represented by your member of County Council.  In fact, 10 of the 11 Richland County Council Districts extend within the City limits.  Currently, the portions of the City of Columbia within Lexington County are in Lexington County Council District 7.

What City of Columbia Representation Will I Have if I am Annexed?

All City of Columbia residents have 4 representatives on City Council.  On the seven-member City Council, there are four Council District Councilperson, two at-large Councilpersons, and the Mayor.  For more information, visit 

What is a Covenant and How Does it Affect My Property?

In relation to real property, a covenant is an agreement or promise to do or not do some action.  As a condition of providing City water or sewer service to a property, the City requires that adjacent properties are annexed.  If the property is not adjacent to the City of Columbia, a declaration of covenant is signed and recorded wherein the property owner agrees to annex the property into the City after it becomes adjacent, and to bind all future owners of the property to this agreement.  If a water service covenant applies to your property and you are adjacent to the City of Columbia, you must petition for annexation into the City upon request.  The City of Columbia Engineering and Utilities Department will not review your plans for new water and/or sewer service, or sell you a water meter until a signed, stamped petition for annexation or a declaration of covenant (for non-contiguous properties) is received.