City OKs new annexation policy

Nov. 17, 2012 @ 07:14 PM

High Point has taken another step in response to ongoing cross-border disagreements with Davidson County over growth and other issues.

The City Council has adopted a voluntary annexation petition policy that requires Davidson County property owners seeking to be taken in by High Point to first get consent from the Davidson County Board of Commissioners.
The move was in response to a state law adopted this summer that gives commissioners the authority to block annexations – whether voluntary or forced – by municipalities that are located primarily outside the county.
The policy provides guidelines for landowners who want to be annexed by the city to obtain its water and/or sewer service. The policy is designed to prevent property owners and developers from undertaking the expense of getting projects prepared for annexation by the city only to have commissioners reject their plans.
Costs can include the preparation of an annexation map and a traffic impact study, as well as holding a neighborhood meeting. City Council members said the policy also would prevent city staff from wasting time working on projects that might not come to fruition.
All of the annexations that High Point considered and approved in Davidson over the past 20 years were voluntary, but the growth, especially high-density residential development in northeast Davidson, drew the ire of county commissioners, who argue that it has contributed to overcrowding of county schools.
That led Davidson leaders to push for the new law, which they said gives the county leverage in case cities like High Point and Winston-Salem look to annex more territory in the future.
The new policy states that commissioners must adopt a resolution consenting to a voluntary annexation before the city can accept an annexation petition. It also prevents the county from attaching any conditions concerning city zoning or land use regulations to an annexation by High Point.
Annexation is not the only issue over which High Point and Davidson have battled lately.
The city is trying to get final approval from the county for an expansion of the Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is in Davidson. Commissioners have questioned the scale of the proposed expansion, however, which has delayed the project.
pkimbrough@hpe.com | 888-3531