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Council receives annexation report

By Staff
Five areas identified as potential targets
By MIKE VOSS
Contributing Editor
Washington’s City Council learned Tuesday night there are five areas outside the city limits that are eligible to be annexed.
The city is studying the feasibility of annexation. The Planning Board is expected to review the five eligible areas and recommend to the City Council which areas should be annexed. The council has the final say when it comes to initiating annexation procedures.
John Rodman, a member of the city’s planning and development staff, gave brief descriptions of the areas that meet the state’s requirements regarding annexation. The areas are Tarheel Drive, two locations on West Fifth Street, part of the commercial corridor along U.S. Highway 17 between the U.S. 17 bridge at Washington and Chocowinity and the Honey Pod Farm-Brick Kiln Road area.
The five areas have a total of 151 parcels of land.
The council is expected to appoint a subcommittee to work with a Planning Board subcommittee to develop a possible annexation strategy. Council members and Mayor Judy Meier Jennette have said that annexation is one way to grow the city and its tax base.
One of the areas on West Fifth Street under annexation consideration is adjacent to or across the road from Brittany Place. The other area is in the Queen Street-Bay Drive area on the north side of West Fifth Street and the area between Cherry Lane Road and Creekside Drive on the south side of West Fifth Street.
The proposed annexation areas on West Fifth Street comprise 60 lots, 12 in the Brittany Place area and 48 in the remaining area.
Before deciding to pursue annexation, the city wants to know if it’s financially feasible for it to do so. Annexed areas must be provided city services within a specific period of time after they have been annexed. The cost of providing those services may be more than the city can afford, thereby either delaying annexation until it’s feasible or killing annexation plans altogether.
The report on annexation is a result of the council’s planning session in February. At that session, Councilman Ed Gibson, when asked what the city hoped to gain by annexation, replied, “We want to grow a bigger tax base.”
Jennette said then that the reasoning behind annexation would be “revenue oriented.”
At that planning session, Councilman Archie Jennings said he understands that many people view annexation as a “land grab.”
During an annexation discussion during a council meeting last fall, Jennings said he considers annexation a way to increase the city’s tax base and enable the city to grow. Forced annexation should happen only if benefits the city would receive from annexation outweigh expenses — such as providing fire and police protection, water and sewer service — associated with annexation, he said then.
The city planners’ presentation Tuesday is the first part of a three-part analysis of the five areas. The three parts of the analysis are:
State law provides that a city with a population of 5,000 residents or more may annex areas contiguous to its boundaries if the areas are urban in character according to standards set out in the law. Four methods of enlarging municipal boundaries are available to North Carolina cities:
For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, see future editions of the Daily News.