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Greensboro prepares for annexing many


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It seems like to me that Greensboro and Winston-Salem are playing a cat and mouse game. It was only months ago when Winston-Salem said they will annex mammoth chunks of land, adding potentially 30,000 people to the city's population. That does close the gap between Greensboro and Winston-Salem quite a bit but even after the annexations take place, Greensboro still has a pretty good lead. I think Winston-Salem is trying very hard to become the Triad's largest city to futher boost its image as a place to do business. Now Greensboro is planning to do a series of annexations. The total area of Greensboro's current annexation plan is 80 square miles, about 2/3rd the geographical size of the city. However, Greensboro isn't going to annex all that land at once because all of the land doesn't qaulify for annexation yet. The pockets that Greensboro does annex should still bump up Greensboro's population quite a bit. It doesn't really take much land to do that because The Greensboro area has a higher populational density than the Winston-Salem area. Winston-Salem is geographically larger than Greensboro but Greensboro has more than 40,000 more people than Winston-Salem. But I think Greensboro is really trying to prevent Winston-Salem from closing that gap too much. This sounds alot like the confirmed annexation race between Greensboro and High Point in the early 20th century. Both Greensboro and Winston-Salem are trying to be the individual city in the Triad that stands out. If you'll notice that in many city area promotional literature, Greensboro omits Winston-Salem and Winston-Salem omits Greensboro as if the cities don't even exist. That is contrast to what goes on in the Triangle area where Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill market themselves as one unit.

City lays plans for annexing


By Mark Binker Staff Writer

News & Record

GREENSBORO -- The city is letting landowners bordering the fringes of the city know that Greensboro could annex them into its corporate limits sooner rather than later.

However, the resolution that the City Council is expected to approve Tuesday night does not include a specific time frame or mandate that any or all of the territory identified come into the city.

"There's no way all of that land qualifies," City Planning Director Tom Martin said, referring to the growth-study map that shows the 70 square miles of territory surrounding the existing city limit and identified as potential annexation areas. That land mass is about two-thirds the size of the city

Greensboro regularly annexes areas in exchange for water andz sewer service. Most frequently, those so-called petition-annexations are done when a developer builds a new neighborhood and, as a condition of using Greensboro's water and sewer service, asks the city to be admitted to the corporate limits.

The type of annexations covered by this resolution would be city-initiated, meaning the city is defining an area it wants. But before the city can initiate an annexation on a particular area, it must meet criteria such as having clusters of houses grouped closely together or a lot of traffic on local roads. Also, landowners in the area must have been notified for at least a year that they could be brought into the city. That is one of the main functions of the map council members will consider.

The law that allows cities to carry out such annexations "is based on the premise that if you're urban, you need and desire urban services," Martin said.

For example, Guilford County does not maintain roads, run a library system, provide trash collection or water and sewer service. Urban areas often require more police and fire protection than the county sheriff's office and local volunteer fire departments can regularly provide. And North Carolina counties do not build or maintain roads as the state government and cities do.

The map that council members will review Tuesday looks much the same as the one adopted two years ago, with only a few additions recommended by the city's comprehensive plan, a guide to where and how the city should expand over the next 25 years. Greensboro has adopted and updated growth-study maps since 1991.

"What we generally look at is filling in holes," Martin said. Areas most likely to be annexed are close to the city's existing limit and bordered by areas that are legally part of the city but do not touch the main city limit.

City-initiated annexations can be unpopular. County residents often do not like being forced inside the city limit where they will have to pay city taxes in addition to their county property tax. Those were some of the objections raised this year when Winston-Salem's City Council voted to do a mammoth annexation, bringing about 20 square miles and 17,500 people into the city.

Greensboro, Martin said, would be more likely to bring in smaller areas . Bringing in larger areas can be expensive as well as controversial.

"You don't want to bite off too much," Martin said.

For now, the City Council does not seem to be contemplating any large annexations.

"We haven't had any talk about us going out and annexing a lot of areas," said Councilman Tom Phillips.

In other business Tuesday, the council is scheduled to consider:

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