The Greensboro City Council unanimously approved three annexation and original zoning requests at the Tuesday, March 21 meeting.

This is pretty much par for the course as far as annexations and zoning requests go.  Two of the annexation and zoning requests were for residential developments. The city has a serious housing shortage, which is projected to get much worse when the Toyota battery plant, at the Greensboro Randolph Megasite, and Boom Supersonic, at the Piedmont Triad International, start hiring thousands of employees.

Residential zoning requests without opposition don’t receive much attention by the City Council and are usually approved with little or no comment.  If the requests do face opposition, they are still usually approved but with a lot of discussion and comment.

The information provided to the City Council for annexation requests includes a report on providing city services to the site.  The report includes how water and sewer service will be provided and what fire station will answer calls from the site.  It also includes reports from the Police Department and Field Operations Department (garbage, recycling, trash collection) on how they will service the site.

If the planning department is recommending approval of the annexation, which it usually does, these reports state that service to the site can be provided without additional facilities or personnel.

At the March 21 meeting, the section of the report on the police for the 5.6 acres being annexed on Kalmandale Road states, “The Police Department can provide comparable response service to the property under consideration as of the date of annexation. Additional resources may be required as development on the subject property and/or additional annexation in the general area occurs.”

That second sentence may appear to be pro forma, but it actually says a lot.

After the meeting Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that the annexations were putting a lot of stress on city departments.

The issue is that each annexation is considered individually and not cumulatively.

In 2022, all of those individual annexations added 1,581 acres to the city and were zoned for 4,733 new dwelling units.

If, instead of these coming in as individual annexation requests made throughout the year, there was one annexation request for 1,581 acres and 4,733 new dwelling units, the report from the various departments would certainly include a request for additional employees and city facilities to provide city services to those areas.

It is also more costly for the city to provide services to outlying areas once they are annexed than it is to provide those same services to the city’s core, but these are not considerations that come before the City Council.

While the City Council has a long established goal of encouraging more density, the current annexation policies are having the opposite effect.