Town leaders are working with Raleigh to come up with alternate ways to extend utilities out to a future growth area the town designated at its planning retreat.
Developers have shown interest in the undeveloped land around New Bethel Church Road and South Garner High in recent months. But that area of land is outside the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
One such developer is Douglas Ball, who the town says has interest in a project similar to the Glen Creek subdivision project, the town tried unsuccessfully to annex in May.
Glen Creek, a 90-lot subdivision in the town’s future growth area, slipped under the town’s radar until it was too late.
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The town wanted to annex the property and extend its utilities to the subdivision because of the potential tax base it could provide. The homes are supposed to be higher-end homes, expected to sell for about $340,000.
Developers were not required to notify the town because it was outside the town’s ETJ.
By the time the town found out about the subdivision, the developers were two months from being ready to break ground, putting thetown at a disadvantage.
Cordial conversations ensued between the two sides but the town and the developers of the subdivision could not reach an agreement. The property will instead be in the county.
The town doesn’t want that to happen again.
“We’re looking for ways we can get utilities extended to serve (Ball’s) project and the rest of that drainage basin should this or any other project arise,” Assistant Town Manager John Hodges said. “It’s an area we know we want to one day service so we’re just starting early in the process to see if there are any solutions to extend services to that area.”
Hodges said the most difficult part of extending the town’s ETJ to its targeted area is finding the money to do so. The City of Raleigh manages the water system Garner and a few other municipalities use. So whenever Garner wants to annex a property they must confer with Raleigh first.
“They have a very methodical process of when they choose to extend their system,” Hodges said.
Raleigh is currently conducting a system-wide study for 2017. The study determines whether the City of Raleigh needs to make any additional infrastructure investments. Hodges said the town is collecting and preparing all the data Raleigh needs for its study so the town can be ready.
“In the meantime we don’t want to miss opportunities that would be beneficial for the development and the community,” Hodges said.
Actually extending the ETJ is another process the county requires municipalities to go through. Planning Director Brad Bass said that process could take six to eight months.
Much about Ball’s proposal is uncertain. Town leaders say the discussions are preliminary.
Ball declined to comment because of how early the discussions are.