Four annexations and original zoning requests are on the agenda for the Tuesday, Jan. 19 Greensboro City Council meeting.
Requests for annexation and original zoning are almost always approved by the City Council, although it did take the City Council a couple of extra months to approve a request for a charter school.
And it is almost always the case that these requests are made because Greensboro currently requires a property to be annexed before it will provide city water and sewer service. By state law it is currently extremely difficult for a city to annex property if the property owner opposes it.
Four requests for annexation and original zoning is an unusual number for a City Council meeting, and it raises an interesting issue.
Each request is considered individually and for each request there is a statement from the city staff stating that city services can be provided. The number one priority is providing water and sewer service, but that is not the only service that the city is required to provide.
In 2019, all of the annexation requests amounted to 319 acres added to Greensboro and, unlike in the past when the city would annex large parcels of land, these were individual annexation requests meaning that they are spread out all over the place and some are not contiguous to the city.
Police Chief Brian James was asked at a council work session if these spread out annexations presented a problem for the Police Department and he said that it could. If an officer had to answer a call at one end of the district and had to travel all the way across the district for another call, it took more that officer more time.
The real problem seems to be that the annexations are individual requests and the reports on them are done on an individual basis, not considering the cumulative effect of the annexation requests.
James also has also noted when speaking to the City Council that the last time the City Council authorized more officers for the Police Department was 2011.
City Councilmember Justin Outling said that a police staffing study such as the one that was supposed to be done last March, should take into account the amount of land that has been annexed and if additional police officers are needed simply to cover the territory that has been added to the city in addition to the other needs of the city.
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said, “I’m always concerned, can we provide fire, can we provide police and can we provide bus transportation.
She said, “It’s problem when people will be paying for those services and we can’t provide those services in a timely manner. It adds up.”
She added, “You’ve heard me harp about it. We need more police officers.”