Annexations and ETJ - Voluntary Citizen Petition
North Carolina State law establishes the basic framework for a municipality to expand through annexation of additional properties into its corporate limits. The various methods and procedures by which annexation may be accomplished as well as the qualification criteria an area must meet in order to be considered for annexation are set forth in the State annexation statutes. The laws recognize cities as the basic provider of essential governmental services needed to support urbanized areas. In return for the ability to annex, municipalities must extend local urban services such as police and fire protection, water and sewer lines, recreational services, solid waste collection and support for the local public street system. Each municipality may develop its own annexation program within the guidelines and procedures set by State legislation. The City of Raleigh regularly uses two methods of annexation: 1) Voluntary or citizen petition annexation and 2) Involuntary or city-initiated annexation. For Raleigh, the largest number of annexations is now accomplished by petition request of property owners which generally include vacant tracts of land proposed for urban development utilizing City utilities. When unusual circumstances exist and municipal boundaries cannot be expanded under any other method, the North Carolina General Assembly may approve annexation areas through legislative action.
City policy requires that annexation petitions be submitted by property owners that are seeking to connect property outside of the Raleigh City limits to City utilities. Petitions are required for all property approved or seeking approval for a development project utilizing City water and sewer. Existing developed property seeking to connect to City water and/or sewer must also petition for annexation consideration. The petitioners and successive property owners are responsible for any utilities that must be extended to and within the annexed area. If annexing property outside Raleigh's ETJ (extraterritorial jurisdiction), the Rezoning Process requires a Rezoning Application (doc) (pdf) to be filed simultaneously and a copy submitted with the petition.
A policy (see Resolution 1993-208) adopted by the City of Raleigh in the mid 1990's required that annexation petitions be submitted for development projects connecting to City utilities has shifted Raleigh's annexation program emphasis from city-initiated type annexations to petition type annexations. Consequently, potential city-initiated annexations have shifted to previously developed areas that often demand upfront capital expenditures by the City to retrofit them with water and sewer lines.
Raleigh also has a policy (see Resolution 2008-460 and subsequently amended Resolution 2009-22) not to accept annexation petitions for sites outside of the Raleigh Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) except in limited circumstances. This is intended to avoid piecemeal annexation of scattered sites surrounded by County jurisdiction and remote from other city service areas.
Annexation petitions are accepted by the Department of City Planning at any time during the year. However, the City sets two submittal deadlines for projects to meet the two effective dates established for annexation. Upon submittal, staff will review application for completeness and notify applicant of any deficiencies. Sufficient petitions will be submitted to City Council with staff recommendations for proceeding with annexation consideration. City Council will review staff recommendations and set a public hearing date on the petition request or defer the petition request from annexation processing. After council action, City Clerk will notify property owners and contact persons listed on the petition about Council's decision to forward the petition for public hearing or defer the petition.
If petition is deferred from annexation processing, you will receive a letter from the City Clerk notifying you of the deferral. If petition is sent forward for public hearing, you will receive a letter from the City Clerk with the date and time of the public hearing. At the public hearing, Council will approve or deny the petition. You are allowed to speak at the public hearings. If approved by Council, you will receive a letter from the City Clerk notifying you that your petition was approved by Council along with a copy of the ordinance with the effective date of the annexation and a resolution showing which Council District(s) the property has been assigned to.
See the City of Raleigh Development Services Glossary for any unfamiliar terms.
Submittal Deadlines and Effective Dates:
Petitions for annexation are accepted by the Raleigh Planning Department at any time. There are no fees required for submittal of an annexation petition. The annexation will become effective immediately upon adoption of the annexation ordinance at the scheduled public hearing unless notified otherwise.
What are the benefits of annexation?
Annexation ensures the orderly and efficient delivery of services to areas which are developed to urban densities. The city benefits in the form of additional revenues generated by an increased tax base, while the property owners experience additional municipal services. The property owner may experience an offset of increased taxes in the form of reductions in water and sewer rates, solid waste collection costs, and elimination of the Wake county tax levy for fire protection services. Local property taxes are tax deductible from federal income taxes, whereas fees for private services may not be. See bottom of this article for a comprehensive list of available services and links to more information for each.
Are there any prerequisites to this process?
- Preliminary Site Plan, final site plan or Preliminary Subdivision approval
- Infrastructure Construction Plans submitted
- A Rezoning Application submitted simultaneously, if outside of Raleigh's ETJ
- For sites not involving subdivision or site plan approvals, please contact Public Utilities at 919-857-4540 for utility availability or approvals needed to extend utilities to site
How do I start the process?
Complete and submit an Annexation Petition. A checklist is attached to the petition as a guide for what is required.
What do I need to submit to the City?
|ANNEXATIONS SUBMITTAL PACKAGE|
|Required for Submittal||
What additional documents may be needed?
- A copy of deed showing ownership of property, if not yet updated on Wake County Property records or the Wake County Register of Deeds
- Proof of vested rights established according to G.S. 160A-385.1 or 153A-344.1, if applicable. Such documentation should include minutes of public hearing and subsequent approval documentation from the governing board granting such vested rights
- If property is outside Raleigh's ETJ, a Rezoning Application is required to be filed simultaneously and a copy submitted with the petition
Where do I submit my application?
Office: City of Raleigh
Department: City Planning
Location: Front Desk
Address: One Exchange Plaza, Suite 304, Raleigh, NC 27601
Adjacent to: 219 Fayetteville Street
Phone #: 919-996-2626
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
What are the keys to success?
- Petition must be signed by all property owners having an interest in the property. Signatures should replicate those on the property deed and should include spouse signature when the property is jointly owned. If property owner is a corporation, include corporate seal on the petition signature page
- Make sure date of petition signature(s) is included
- Make sure "contiguous" or "non-contiguous" status of the petitioned area has been marked
- Make sure you have submitted written metes and bounds
- Make sure you have submitted a survey or plat showing property boundary calls and distances that correspond to written metes and bounds of the property to be annexed
- Include copy of approved Preliminary Site Plan or final site plan -or- include copy of Preliminary Subdivision approval plans or subdivision plat submitted for lot recording authorization
- City Code
What fees are involved and when do I pay them?
- No fees are associated with the annexation petition submittal process
- Property owners will be subject to City property taxes upon annexation. If necessary, make arrangements with mortgage company to establish proper escrow accounts for meeting local tax liabilities
- If applicable, annual motor vehicle license fees (collected by the county), annual dog/cat tag fees, and local business license tax
- If applicable, monthly solid waste fees and stormwater fees
- Property is taxed on a fiscal year basis on July 1 and ends the following June 30. City tax rates are reset annually based upon the adopted budget
- Developers or property owners are responsible for additional utility extensions or installations
- Any applicable fee-in-lieu assessments for streets and sidewalks for street or sidewalk construction projects previously undertaken by the City for public right of way improvements, becomes due upon annexation into the city limits
How long will this process take?
It takes approximately 30 - 40 business days between annexation petition submittal and annexation ordinance approval for routine requests. Requests requiring notification of adjacent municipalities or coordination with rezoning process will generally take longer to process.
Services received upon annexation:
- Raleigh Police Department (emergency assistance, crime prevention, traffic enforcement, investigations, animal control, etc.)
- Fire Department (first emergency responder, medical and rescue assistance, fire code inspections, fire prevention education, etc.)
- Public Works (Street Maintenance - street resurfacing, sidewalk repair, pot hole repair, street cleaning, curb and gutter repair, storm drainage maintenance, etc.); (Transportation services - street names and signs, traffic signs and signals, pavement markings, CAT public transportation, etc.); (Street lighting - install and maintain street lighting)
- Solid Waste Services (collects: garbage, yard waste, recycling, bulky items, special loads, seasonal leaves, etc.)
- Stormwater Drainage (maintains storm drains, water quality monitoring, soil/erosion/illicit discharge investigation, etc.)
- Parks and Recreation (maintains - art centers, parks, lakes, greenways, community centers, etc.); (provides - leisure activities, summer camps, corporate event planning, aquatics, adult and senior activities, etc.)
- Public Utilities (provides water and sewer service to city residents as well as Garner, Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, Wake Forest and Rolesville areas); (manages re-use water system as a non-potable water source); (maintains water and wastewater treatment plants); (supports operation centers that provide meter reading, maintenance, construction and warehouse functions)
- Other (services available from these departments - Planning, Community Services, Community Development, Public Affairs, etc.)