If your client dreams of living on a county island, they don’t have to look very far. County islands exist all over Arizona (You can search for or exclude county islands in Monsoon). And while there are some attractive perks to island life, there are also very real drawbacks. So before your client embarks, make sure they know exactly what they can expect.

What’s a County Island? 

A county island is an unincorporated area of land completely surrounded by a city or town. This usually happens when a town grows and acquires land from the county but, for whatever reason, the town chooses to omit a particular area during the annexation process. Some well known county islands in the Valley include New River, Sun City, Sun City West, Rio Verde and Tonopah.

What are the Drawbacks?

County island citizens are responsible for their own utilities (like trash collection, septic, water and fire protection). Managing these subscriptions can be somewhat costly and time consuming. Also, island dwellers are not allowed to vote in city elections. And should an emergency arrive, the local police station will direct you to contact the sheriff’s department.

What are the Benefits? 

Living on a county island often means lower taxes, since you’re not paying for for city services. County islanders usually benefit from lower real estate taxes too. In addition to fewer taxes, they’re subject to less governmental oversight, such as city ordinances and code compliance.

If you’d like to see more county islands, this interactive map will show you all the cities and unincorporated areas of land within Maricopa County (hint: county islands are all white).