25, 2003) Charlotte follows a regular cycle of major
annexations every two years. Annexations typically take effect on
June 30 of odd numbered years, but the process starts well before
that. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission already has
identified study areas for Charlotte's 2005 annexations, and
virtually all of Steele Creek is included.
Areas for 2005 Charlotte Annexation Identified in Steele Creek
In 2002, planners surveyed at an area bounded by Steele Creek Road
and the current corporate limits, generally including a corridor
along Shopton Road running east to Beam Road. They determined that
the area did not qualify for annexation in 2003. "Given the relative
lack of development activity in the area (compared to other areas of
the county) since that time, the decision was made to study other
areas for 2005," said Planning Commission staff member Jonathan
Wells who coordinates Charlotte's annexation program.
Noise from the nearby airport tends to make the Shopton Road area a
less than ideal residential choice for many people, and airport
officials, who have dealt with complaints about airport noise for
many years, are discouraging residential development within airport
This year, city planners have turned their attention southward, and
virtually all of the unincorporated area within Steele Creek south
of Dixie River Road is within the 2005 annexation study area.
Charlotte will study this and four other areas over the next year
and will announce the areas that the city plans to target sometime
around September 2004. If accepted by the City Council, the
annexations will take effect on June 30, 2005. (The other four study
areas are labeled Brookshire/Lakefront, Mallard Creek Church East,
Harrisburg Road, and Community House Road. Areas north of Dixie
River Road and the Dixie-Berryhill area are not being considered for
annexation in this round.)
North Carolina law, municipalities may annex areas involuntarily
(meaning without a vote of the residents) if the areas generally
meet certain characteristics of urbanization and if the municipality
can demonstrate that it is prepared to provide municipal services to
the area. This has allowed cities in North Carolina to expand in
area in concordance with their physical growth. In other states that
do not have such progressive annexation laws, many cities have
languished as people and their tax dollars have moved out to
surrounding jurisdictions or have wound up with checkerboard
boundaries resulting from inefficient parcel by parcel annexations.
In order for Charlotte to annex areas involuntarily in 2005, the
following will have to happen:
1. The targeted areas must meet qualification standards as specified
The first requirement is that the area must be adjacent to the
existing city limits, and at least one eighth of the area's external
boundary must coincide with the existing city boundary.
The second requirement is that the area must meet one of several
developmental standards. Areas can qualify if they meet population
density thresholds or if a certain percentage of the properties are
residential-sized lots. Areas also may qualify based on
nonresidential development, including commercial, industrial,
institutional, or governmental. The standards do not require that
the areas be fully developed. They can consist of a mixture of
developed and undeveloped tracts as long as the overall area meets
the standards. Additionally, cities can annex less developed land
that forms a connection between the existing city limits and
Charlotte likely will take advantage of provisions that allow mixing
undeveloped areas in with developed areas as they delineate their
annexation target areas. However, they may pass on some areas where
development is insufficient to qualify adjacent undeveloped areas.
If Charlotte annexes only developed areas and passes on undeveloped
areas, they may not be able to annex the passed over areas for many
years, if at all. They likely will skip some qualifying areas until
they are more developed and can be averaged in with adjacent
undeveloped parcels and qualify those areas. They also may delineate
target areas in a manner that will help future areas meet the
requirement of having one eighth of their boundaries coincide with
the existing city boundary.
The third requirement is that annexed areas must not be within the
boundaries of any other incorporated municipality.
2. The city must demonstrate that it can provide municipal services
to the annexed areas.
This means that it must describe the services and how much they will
cost and must cite the sources of revenues it plans to use to pay
for those services. The city must provide some services, such as
garbage collection, immediately upon annexation. Other services may
require capital improvements, such as construction of water and
sewer lines or fire stations, before residents will be able to
receive them at the same level as existing areas within the city,
but they must be provided within a reasonable time period.
The 2004 study
process will include an analysis of the feasibility of extending water and
sewer lines and providing other services. Areas may be passed
over for annexation if the city believes that it might not be able
to provide services in a timely manner.
3. The city must follow a set procedure leading up to the eventual
This procedure includes passing a resolution of intent
to annex, holding public informational meetings and public hearings,
and passing an annexation ordinance.
Many residents of targeted areas resist annexation and the added
taxes it brings and appeal to the Charlotte City Council not to
annex them. However, if all the things described above happen,
Charlotte will annex its targeted areas in 2005. Annexation is not
inevitable however. The Mallard Creek Church East area was selected
for annexation in 2003, but residents argued that it did not meet
the legal requirement. The City Council decided that qualification
was questionable and chose to pass on it for that cycle. Of
course, it is back on the list for 2005.
2003 property tax rates for Charlotte and unincorporated
Mecklenburg County are as follows:
|Rates per $100 valuation
|Mecklenburg County Rate
|Police District Rate
Owners of annexed property will have to pay city taxes but no
longer will have to pay the supplementary Police District tax. Tax
rates may change by 2005, but the tax on a $120,000 home generally
would increase by about $300 or about 27%.
The general schedule for Charlotte's next round of annexations is as
September 2004 - Announcement of target areas eligible for
annexation and passage of a resolution of intent by the Charlotte
November 2004 - Public Informational Meeting and Public Hearing
January 2005 - Passage of Annexation Ordinance by the Charlotte City
June 30, 2005 - Annexation becomes effective
Charlotte certainly cannot and will not annex all of Steele Creek in
2005, but it likely will annex some significant portions of it.
For more information on Charlotte's annexation plans and procedures,
Annexation Page on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning
Commission web site or contact Jonathan Wells at 704-336-4090.