Frequently Asked Annexation Questions

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The information provided below should be used as a guideline only; there may be exceptions to these answers. For more information, call 336-373-CITY (2489) or click on the relevant links below.

What is annexation?
Annexation is the process by which a city adds land to its jurisdiction. The City then extends its services, laws, and voting privileges to meet the needs of residents living in the annexed area.

Typically, annexation takes place in areas that are adjacent to a municipality, where the population has expanded to densities found in urban areas. People living in an urban setting generally need services and facilities beyond those provided by state and county governments. In addition, annexation encourages orderly growth and provides standardized services to those who live in the annexed area. It also promotes fairness by requiring that those who reap the benefits of living near a city and who use the services provided by a city share in the costs of operating the city.

Cities cannot remain strong or provide essential services unless their boundaries are periodically extended to include areas that are becoming urban.

Are there different types of annexations?
Yes. State law provides for two types of annexations: those initiated by a city government and those initiated by a petition from those who wish to be annexed. 

  • The process to establish Greensboro original zoning is the same for both types of annexations.
  • The date for providing basic City services is the effective date of annexation.

What is the procedure for a City-initiated annexation?
The US Supreme Court has upheld the rights of states to determine political subdivisions, such as city limits, within their borders. The North Carolina General Assembly has given cities the right to annex areas that are contiguous to the city and urban in character, saying that these areas should be subject to the regulations and services necessary for the “health, welfare, safety, convenience, and general prosperity of the entire urban area.” However, the General Statutes provide for the right to challenge a city’s annexation. Challenges must be filed within 60 days of the approval of the annexation ordinance. State law has two variations on the basic method for City-initiated annexations.

One variation requires the City to adopt a “Resolution Identifying the Areas Under Consideration for Annexation by the City of Greensboro” at least a year in advance of an annexation vote. The Resolution of Consideration contains a map that depicts areas the City is considering annexing in the future and is often used for long range planning. If the municipal governing board then passes the annexation ordinance, it becomes effective from 70-400 days later.

The other variation requires the City to adopt a Resolution of Intent, and if the municipal governing board then decides to pass the annexation ordinance, it becomes effective at least one year later.

In both cases the City prepares a special report showing plans for extending and financing municipal services to the area, conducts a public informational meeting, and then holds a public hearing on the proposed annexation. 

Properties annexed by city initiative are entitled to the same privileges and services as petitioned annexation properties.

How do City-initiated annexations differ from petitioned annexations?

  • Property owners annexed by city initiative can submit special water and sewer petitions provided for in the NC city-initiated annexation law.
  • Any property that is taxed as farmland can receive an exemption from city tax provided for in the NC city-initiated annexation law.

When the City makes water and sewer available, do I have to connect to them, or can I stay on my well and septic system?
When the City of Greensboro makes both water and sewer available to your property, you have 10 years to connect to city water and sewer -- unless the Guilford County Health Department determines that your well or septic system is unacceptable and requires earlier connection. If only a water line or a sewer line (not both) is available to your property, the City does not require you to connect.

Will fire hydrants be installed?
If water and sewer lines are installed to your area, fire hydrants will also be installed.

What is the procedure for a Petitioned Annexation?
A property owner may submit an annexation petition to a city. It may cover property next to the city limits (contiguous) or at some distance (satellite).

Since 1997, property owners outside the Greensboro city limits wanting to connect to Greensboro water and / or sewer have been required to sign an annexation petition. The City may process such a petition either immediately or at a later date, in accordance with its policy for Water and Sanitary Sewer Service "Outside the Corporate Limits."

Petitioned annexation properties are entitled to the same privileges and services as properties annexed by city initiative, with a few exceptions.

  • Petitioners for annexation cannot submit special water and sewer petitions provided for in the NC law for city-initiated annexations.
  • No public information meeting is required for petitioned annexations.
  • Any property that is taxed as farmland but is covered by a petitioned annexation cannot receive the exemption from City tax provided for in the NC city-initiated annexation law.

What is the difference between the satellite and regular annexation petitions (which are linked above)? 
A regular petition for annexation involves property that is contiguous to (it touches) the existing corporate limits of the City of Greensboro. A satellite petition for annexation involves property that is within three miles of the City limits and is not closer to the corporate limits of any city other than Greensboro. 

On the annexation petition forms, what does item #3 refer to?
According to North Carolina General Statute 160A-385.1, residents have the right to undertake and complete the development and use of property under terms and conditions of an approved "Site Specific Development Plan." Vested rights require approval by the Guilford County Planning Board by way of a public hearing. If your property has not been given zoning vested rights, check the "have not" blank on the form.

What are Utility, Annexation and Development Agreement? 
The Water Resources Department administers the Utility, Annexation and Development Agreement, which is required to be signed by persons who want City water and/or sewer, but who have not yet been annexed into the Greensboro City limits. For more information about the Utility, Annexation and Development Agreement, contact the Water Resources Department.

What are the financial impacts of annexation?
Annexation-related costs and savings will vary among property owners, but the following information should apply to most people.

  • All annexed property owners will pay City property taxes and will continue to pay general County property taxes. The current City tax rate is 63.25 cents per $100 of property valuation.
  • Annexed property owners will no longer pay the fire district portion of County property tax.
  • City property taxes are deductible on federal and state tax forms for those homeowners who itemize deductions.
  • If you are already receiving City water and sewer services, the rate will be reduced by one-half after you are annexed.
  • Residents in single-family homes receive trash, recycling, yard waste, bulk trash and appliance pick-up from the City. The cost of these services is included in residential property tax bills.
  • If applicable, City vehicle taxes also will be due.
  • Many businesses will be required to pay local business privilege license taxes.
  • If you are 65 or older, or if you are totally disabled and your income is $18,800 or less, you may apply through the federal Homestead Act to have your property tax reduced.

I’ve heard that City residents pay a stormwater fee. What is that?
The City charges a quarterly stormwater management fee based on the amount of impervious (built-upon) area on your property. Higher levels of impervious area create greater amounts of stormwater runoff that the City is required to manage. This fee is used to improve water quality, manage public drainage infrastructure, minimize flood hazards, and educate the public about the importance of managing stormwater.

Will I get City garbage collection right away?
Yes, residential properties will receive automated trash and recycling collection service. Trash and recycling containers will be delivered along with a letter and brochure explaining when service will begin, which day of the week it will take place, and the cost. This information will be delivered automatically – you do not need to request this service. Garbage is collected weekly, recyclables every other week.

What is the Household Hazardous Waste fee?
There is a monthly Household Hazardous Waste fee that is based on the size of your water meter and is included in your water bill. For most single family homes, the fee is 40 cents per month. The HHW Center is located at 2750 Patterson St. Greensboro and Guilford County residents may drop off any materials that are corrosive, reactive, ignitable or toxic, as well as electronic waste items, such as computers, TVs and cell phones.

Will annexation change my children’s school district?
No, the Guilford County School Board determines attendance zones. Annexation will not change the school district in which you are located.